This is Anxiety Relief: The Ultimate Guide. A list of the top 51 tools and techniques gathered for best anxiety relief practices.
Some are temporary quick fixes while others take a little more time to master but can have the benefit of longer-lasting effects.
Take the time to peruse all 51 tips so you can find what works best for you.
Anxiety Relief: The Ultimate Guide
1. Take A Time Out
You’ve worked yourself up.
Whatever the reason may be, your anxiety is sky high and you’re beginning to lose control. It’s time to stop and step back.
Remove yourself from the situation by either going out, making a cup of tea or having a nap.
Whatever it is, allow yourself time to stop worrying about what you are currently fixating on and take a time out.
2. Eat A Well Balanced Meal
As always, the health of your mind and body are intrinsically linked. Take care of one and you naturally boost the other.
With this in mind, it may seem overly simplistic however, this might be a great moment to fill your body with nutrients and goodness to boost your immune system and digest some anti-inflammatory foods.
Our food affects our mood people.
When our stomachs are inflamed we can feel discomfort and nausea. A feeling that mimics nervous energy.
This does not help your anxiety.
A calm and healthy stomach reinforces a calm and healthy mind.
3. Limit Alcohol And Caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine provide almost instant highs but they come with some pretty heavy lows.
With alcohol, it will mostly be dealing with that nasty hangover. Your body is in a weakened state with less energy, less clarity, and less focus. Easily agitated and quick to worry.
Where coffee is concerned a little bit can actually have some positive health benefits but if you develop an unhealthy reliance on this caffeinated beverage then the body’s reaction to either TOO MUCH or A LACK OF caffeine can simulate that of a panic attack.
Not to mention that both are stimulants which are bad news for an anxiety sufferer.
All of the below symptoms as a result of too much caffeine will greatly increase the likelihood of experiencing anxiety.
The increase in heart rate can cause those caffeine jitters that feel the same as your body’s response in times of danger.
It can falsely trigger our fight or flight response and that is not what we need.
Much like sugary foods, the initial boost that you will get from these two beverages does not warrant the effects that will ensue that could greatly increase your chances of experiencing anxiety symptoms or even an attack.
4. Get Enough Sleep
I can never reiterate this point enough.
We need good quality sleep every night for our bodies to recuperate from the day and build strength for the day ahead.
It allows our body and our mind to rest from the stresses and strains of life and provides the necessary ‘downtime’ that we don’t have during the day.
When we don’t manage to have a good night’s sleep we are weak, lethargic, unfocused, and agitated.
All of these by-products will easily lead to an increased base level of anxiety before you have even begun your day! It becomes a vicious cycle…
Your body and mind are not running at an optimum level which allows you to manage stress and panic in an effective way.
Therefore this state that you find yourself in is simply opening you up for an anxious day.
Getting great sleep is one of THE BEST ways to relieve anxiety.
5. Exercise Daily
Exercise is a dirty word for a lot of people.
Using this word over movement or phrases like ‘increase mobility’ can be enough to have people running for the hills.
Not everyone was born an adrenaline junkie or fitness freak. For a lot of us the word ‘exercise’ conjures up terrible imagery of long gruelling gym sessions with overly competitive muscle men.
Exercise needs to be re-framed in your mind to fit whatever form of movement suits you.
Yoga is exercise.
Walking is exercise.
Swimming, Tai chi, pole dancing, or Zumba are all forms of exercise. It can be as intense as you need it to be.
But what you need to do each day is MOVE YOUR BODY.
Keeping active and mobile encourages good blood flow, lean muscle, fat reduction, and a decrease in blood pressure.
Moving your body relieves you of nervous energy and in turn, slows you down.
Once your heart rate has gone UP it is quick to come DOWN at a nice and healthy reduced rate for optimum calm and grounding.
So, if you need to relabel how you vocalize and associate exercise in your mind then please do! Once you find something that works for you then you must action it daily.
6. Practice Deep Breathing
You can read in-depth about deep breathing, or more importantly NASAL breathing, in my latest blog post Manage Your Breathing, Manage Your Anxiety.
To summarize, deep breathing encourages us to slow down and calm down.
Short, sharp inhalations (particularly through the mouth) are proven to trigger your fight or flight response in a part of your brain called the amygdala which results in oncoming anxiety.
This way of breathing directly mimics how an individual might breathe if they were having a panic attack so your mind and body are constantly on edge.
Deep breathing however has numerous health benefits and is a great form of anxiety relief.
Deep breathing allows you to get more, quality oxygen into the bloodstream.
Approximately 20% more than shallow breathing! It dramatically decreases blood pressure when practiced regularly and this, in turn, is a huge stress reliever.
Breathing full, deep breathes also instantly SLOWS YOU DOWN.
It slows your heart rate and provides weightiness to your body which infuses a feeling of calm and stillness.
This is why it is perfect to practice deep breathing just before bed..
Watch this interview of James Nestor on the Joe Rogan Experience of this has piqued your interest.
James Nestor is a journalist who has made it his mission over the past few years to learn everything there is to know about breathing and how to do it CORRECTLY.
His book Breathing: The New Science Of A Lost Art is perfect for explaining the benefits of nasal breathing on our health and the negative health effects of doing otherwise.
7. Accept That You Are Anxious
In order to effectively deal with your anxiety you must accept that you are anxious.
By now you hopefully know how your anxiety affects you. You are aware of the feeling in the body, how it sits, and how you respond.
You are no stranger to the feeling of worry and panic that ensues in the midst of an anxious episode.
You know this.
You must accept that you are anxious in this present moment in time as soon as you are able.
Until you do this then you will not be able to effectively manage your anxiety and take the necessary positive steps toward relieving it.
To acknowledge it takes courage and is a powerful tool in effective anxiety relief.
8. You Must Not Worry About Things That Are Out Of Your CONTROL
There are plenty of times in life where it is perfectly valid to express worry.
It is understandable to want to have as much control over our lives as possible so that we can give ourselves the best chance of living a fulfilling life rich with happiness and joy.
Unfortunately, we must all quickly accept that there are many MANY aspects of life over which we have no control.
Now, a lot of us try to find ways around this.
We need to believe that we can manage this or that situation or person.
We need to find a way to GUARANTEE that things play out the way we need them to.
The truth is, the sooner you ACCEPT that there are forces in this world beyond your control and CHOOSE to not worry about these for that very reason – the sooner you can relieve yourself of some ever exhausting stress and worry.
Look at the situation you have in front of you from every angle and with every possible outcome.
Ask yourself, do I have any control over this? Can I affect this outcome in my favor? Or, is it simply out of my hands?
If you take the time to think calmly and logically, assessing the issue you have in front of you but find yourself arriving at the same conclusion that yes, it is out of your hands; do not allow it any more of your time or energy.
It will play out how it plays out.
Focus on the things you HAVE control over.
Save your time and energy for these and forget about the rest – ruminating over them will not do anything for you and it certainly won’t change the outcome.
9. Welcome Humour
Wherever possible, find a way to laugh.
Laughter triggers the same positive response as eating chocolate, drinking red wine, or exercise. It releases endorphins that instantly make us feel GOOD.
It might seem obvious and you might be sitting there thinking, ‘Well if it were that easy to laugh then I would but I’m having a bit of a moment here and I’m feeling a bit too LOW to laugh right now!’
I understand completely.
However, it’s important to realize that we all have the ability to affect our state. Yes, you feel low and what we know is that you would like to get out of this negative space as quickly as possible.
One way to do this is to find the humour and laugh.
In every single situation in life, there is an opportunity to find the funny.
To be clear, laughing in the most difficult moments does not mean that you do not care. It does not mean that you are not taking it seriously. And it does not make you heartless.
It is a coping mechanism. And a good one at that.
Even I can remember attending a funeral and bumping into some larger than life characters at the wake. They had me howling with laughter! And I can even look back on this tragic time and occasionally smile having this lovely memory accompanying the grief.
Having this moment and indulging in the joy during that wake did not detract from my grief.
It did not disrespect the friend that passed or the family that was left behind and it certainly did not mean that I did not care.
Quite the opposite.
In a difficult time someone was able to provide joy and laughter.
If you are gifted this opportunity you must take it, it would be a disservice to yourself not to.
Alternatively, and perhaps a little easier, would be to watch your favorite comedy. Watch a funny video on Youtube or listen to a funny podcast.
In moments where the humour is not so easy to find, find some for yourself.
Laughter truly is the best medicine (I am not ashamed to use this cheesy cliché. After all, they are clichés for a reason)
10. Get Involved With Your Community
This might be difficult for some that suffer specifically with social anxiety.
Meeting new people is hard and panic invoking however the benefits of this anxiety reliever can be huge.
Being part of a community can be a great way to build strong connections and bonds. You can very quickly increase the people you have available to you in your support system by getting yourself involved with a community.
Find charitable organizations seeking volunteers in an area that interests you.
Search for ways to help your local area or join an allotment and start planting your own vegetables.
Perhaps you are a creator? Find groups on social media which have regular meet ups to network and share work and ideas.
Whatever you may choose, being active in a community is a surefire way to create those all-important human bonds that we all crave, and what’s great about it is that it works both ways.
You can give and take.
Others are there to support and share the experience with you just as much as you are there for them.
11. Identify Your Triggers
This one is so very important to the long term success of relieving your anxiety.
It might seem odd but a lot of us can experience anxiety or stress and not be entirely sure what has caused it.
You must increase your self awareness so that you can do the following:
Question what happened just before your anxiety struck
Question if this is something that has triggered you before
Question why this might be a trigger for you
Take steps toward working through route cause of this trigger and hopefully erasing it entirely
By learning what your triggers are you can find the reasons behind why they affect you and begin to work on understanding them better so that they do not cause you pain.
12. Talk To Someone
No matter who that may be, talking is our best resource when it comes to anxiety management.
You can share your burden and unload some of the weight you have been carrying around with you by picking up the phone and calling a member of your support system.
By talking your fears through with someone you are subsequently working through your problems; as you discuss the worry you are facing with your person of choice you are actually talking YOURSELF through the problem.
Talking is therapeutic much in the same way writing is.
You need to get these worries out of your head in order to process and address them; by talking to someone you allow yourself this grace.
It is not beneficial to suffer in silence.
Keeping it to ourselves often leads to fixating and exacerbating the problem.
So, get rid of this idea that ‘no-one will want to listen to my problems’.
This is categorically incorrect.
The people who care about you would be distraught to know that you are suffering in silence and not utilising them.
They are there to help you. They want to help you. Use them.
13. Set Small Daily Goals
The emphasis here is on the word SMALL.
It has been proven that a sense of achievement has a momentous positive impact on the state of our mental health, particularly our self-esteem.
Anxiety often comes hand in hand with this inferiority complex and a complete lack of faith and belief in our abilities to do anything successfully.
However, this is simply not true.
You are a capable human being. All we need to do is build upon your self-esteem by maximizing your sense of achievement.
And here’s the thing; achievement can be reached by even the smallest of tasks.
If you’re at a point where you feel a host of negative feelings with a dialogue running through your head that goes something like this;
‘I am useless’
‘I can’t do anything right’
‘I’ll never achieve anything’
Well in this circumstance it’s best to start small and these small ACHIEVEMENTS must be acknowledged and not dismissed.
Keep it simple when setting yourself small daily goals. Household chores are a great place to start.
Perhaps you might decide you will spend 1 hour writing, painting or sewing. Write out a food plan for the week. Wash the car.
These tasks may appear seemingly easy or ‘irrelevent’ but even small goals such as these build upon yourself esteem because you have set yourself a task and you have completed it.
Proving that you are not what your negative voices are telling you.
Revel in these small victories and give yourself recognition for completing them.
Again, keep them small and simple. They must be achievable.
14. Stay In The PRESENT, Keep Out Of The FUTURE
Us humans love to predict the future.
Unfortunately, those of us with anxiety or similar have a tendency to use this superpower to catastrophize and create more problems for ourselves.
When you find yourself in the throes of worry or paranoia surrounding an event or situation you MUST stay grounded in the PRESENT.
Look, listen and concentrate on everything that you have in front of you and react to that.
Work with this information.
If you do not manage this then ultimately what is quick to happen is a hop, skip, and a jump forward in time where you create a whole host of new problems for yourself by simply imagining the various roads this situation could go down.
Unfortunately for you, they will favour negative outcomes.
You don’t want to burden yourself with the weight of worry and panic brought on by the PREDICTION of a future that is likely not based on any solid evidence.
Stay in the moment, stay present and be aware of what is happening around you.
Don’t leap forward and exacerbate the problem when you have no idea how it’s going to play out.
This will help you manage your anxiety – you have a degree of control over what is happening here and now.
You have ZERO control over the future concerning this moment.
15. Relabel What’s Happening
If you find yourself in the midst of a panic or anxiety attack then a great tool to help you reassess the situation is to relabel what is happening.
I say this because it can be easy to get flustered and alarmed as your breathing becomes restricted and your heartbeat quickens before you start feeling faint and in full panic mode.
During times like this it is completely understandable to hear things like, ‘I can’t breathe, I’m dying, I’m going to die’.
That’s because that’s exactly how it feels.
So currently you have a label for what is happening – I am dying.
But if you try relabeling it for what it really is you have a better chance of remaining in control – I am having a panic attack.
You are telling yourself that you know exactly what is happening.
You know that you are not dying so you are also not catastrophizing either.
In effect, you are informing your brain that you know exactly what is going on so please, don’t panic any MORE than you already have.
16. Change Your Perceptions
I suppose this runs along the same vein as ‘think positive’ however sometimes the problem with ‘think positive’ is that it is very difficult to force positivity.
I prefer ‘change your perceptions’.
There are always multiple different ways of viewing and interpreting a situation.
So, in a circumstance that has caused you to feel anxious, the chances are that something has had a negative impact on you.
You have perceived something in a way that had induced panic.
This is not wrong, this is your gut reaction.
However you must know this; you have the ability to alter how you feel about any given situation.
Take a step back and look at it from all possible angles. Can you find answers or reasons for people’s actions or words?
Can you justify rationally why a conversation took the route that it did?
Can you identify anything that suggests that there is another factor influencing this moment?
You can ALWAYS choose to look at things differently. The Necker Cube is a fine psychological example of this…
The problem is that we are quite stubborn in our ways and have a tendency to stick to our guns. This does not help you.
Look at the FACTS.
Look at the EVIDENCE you have in front of you and look at it from every possible angle. Chances are, your biased outlook is causing anxiety but a change of perspective can alter this.
If you change your perceptions by thinking logically not emotionally then you can gift yourself the relief of anxiety as you shift your viewpoint.
17. 3-3-3 Rule
See. Touch. Hear.
The 3-3-3 is an excellent grounding technique that is great for focus and clarity.
In a moment of panic mentally note 3 things you see, 3 things you hear, and then move 3 parts of your body.
It gives you something to concentrate on that is detached from whatever is causing you to panic and also ties in with point 14 of keeping you in the PRESENT.
18. Stand Up Straight
Believe it or not, this is an important rule for life.
Posture can do everything for you physically but also mentally. So this point can work for you two-fold.
First, if you are hunched over and curled in on yourself as you battle with an anxious episode then you are restricting your ability to fill your lungs.
Breathing is one of the best ways to calm yourself down and slow yourself down so you need to give yourself the best opportunity to do this by uncurling and standing tall.
Secondly, you can affect your emotional state from the outside in if you so wish.
Stand up straight is the very first rule in Jordan Petersons’ 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote for Chaos. It explains this in great detail and the book as a whole fully changed my life. So I highly recommend you read it!
But in a nutshell; enclosed body language, slumped shoulder, head down, and hunched back will in turn have you feeling low in confidence and self-esteem.
It is a defeatist posture, a negative posture.
By standing up tall with your shoulders back even if you do not feel confident on the inside will help place you in a better emotional state.
The physical act of walking and moving in this way will directly impact your mental well-being.
You will be willing yourself confident without even realizing it.
19. Stay Away From Sugar
With a sugar high comes a sugar LOW and it takes your mood along with it.
The intake of sugar usually acts as a feel-good as we digest the sweet foods that we love the most giving us an instant high and counteracting the feelings of anxiety.
However, once your blood sugar levels crash your mood crashes with it and your anxiety levels spike.
The down that follows the up does not warrant or justify that first initial feel-good hit as it will ultimately leave you feeling less able to manage your anxiety.
20. Ask For A Second Opinion
Receiving confirmation that your thoughts are valid is a really powerful tool in reducing stress.
You’re in the middle of an anxious episode and trying your best to stay grounded in the present, looking at the facts you have in front of you, but you still can’t shake this feeling that something isn’t right.
In this instance getting a second opinion can help you in one of two way:
Either your confidante will confirm that how you feel is justified and that what you believe to be true they also agree with…
Or they might inform you that actually, you are not necessarily looking at the situation clearly before beginning to explain why they think that this is the case
Whichever response you receive, having a second opinion provides an outside perspective to the situation.
It can help guide you through your feelings and provide you with an angle which you perhaps didn’t see before.
(Or perhaps they agree with you whole-heartedly and you can take comfort in this).
Meditation is about learning to bring awareness to your thoughts and feelings and experience them without judgment.
By practicing breathing exercises, focusing on the breath, you can gain a greater sense of awareness and the ability to shift your perspective.
The more you work on this mindful practice the more you train your brain to think in this way.
Where anxiety is concerned it takes you out of a place of stress and into a place of focus and self-reflection.
This isn’t as scary as it sounds. Again, the purpose is to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment.
It is a skill that can be learned by anyone.
Headspace is one of the top go-to app for guidance in meditation. It explains to you with clarity what meditation is and how it can be used to transform your life.
Headspace offers a wide range of mediation practices that are specific to your needs. Meditation practices offered by Headspace:
- 5 minute meditation
- 10 minute meditation
- Meditation for relaxation
- Meditation for anxiety
- Meditation for anger
This is the tip of the ice burg.
I have used this app and I swear by it. It takes the pressure off you to know what it is your supposed to be doing!
It can seem daunting and alien to meditate but with programs like Headspace it is made simple and ultimately it can be transformative.
There are a multitude of MUST DO’s on this list and meditation is at the very top.
Try these 6 scents to help soothe and calm:
- Clary Sage
- Ylang Ylang
All of these can be easily purchased online and are a great quick fix for when your need of some sensory distraction.
Medical News Today discusses in greater detail ‘Which Essential Oils Can Relieve Anxiety‘ and discuss each one in greater depth.
Filling the nostrils with the above scents have been proven to reduce stress, calm the nervous system and instill a sense of comfort.
We often do not value our senses as highly as we should. We can and must use them to manage our state, after all, they are there for our benefit.
Aromatherapy for the nose is akin to music for the ears, find the one that is perfect for that moment for instant light relief.
Eventually you will find that not only do you benefit from the physical effects of inhaling these scents but you will begin to associate that scent with a feeling of calm, comfort and familiarity; reinforcing it’s influence to reduce your anxiety.
23. Spend Time With Your Pet
Stroking, hugging, petting, or playing with an animal can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety quickly.
They love you unconditionally and without judgement.
Another living soul there for physical comfort offers great support in times of loneliness and the battle with mental health.
I don’t think I need to go in too much detail with this one.
If you have a pet I’m sure you know what I mean.
If you don’t then you may have friends that do, so I’m still sure that you know what I mean!
24. Get Yourself A Great Big Cuddle
Pet’s are great but there is nothing like having a great big hug from another human being.
This isn’t the easiest to always come by but it’s worth putting in here so that the next time an opportunity arises, you take it.
Human contact and human connection are inbuilt into our genetic code. We live together in our tribes, we rely on one another and we support one another.
This is in reference to both emotional and physical support.
Sometimes words are not what’s needed, just some human contact.
25. Listen To Some Calming Music
Sound therapy has been used to manage anxiety and stress levels for a long time and much like other practices such as art therapy, listening to music can be a great way of just giving your mind a break.
I have always found that music is of the greatest benefit when I actually choose a genre that fits my mood.
Ballards when I’m sad, metal/rock when I’m angry, or simple French jazz when I’m ruminating.
The music which best matches my mood gives me another outlet to process my feelings as I sing or hum along through sadness, anger or celebration.
Music very much lives in the body. It can sit with you and your feelings and heighten them if what you’re wanting is to access and live through them.
With that said, anxiety is a different kettle of fish. I never want to sit with my anxiety.
I never want to remain stressed or panicked so it’s beneficial for this emotion to find that perfact blend of tones which induce calm and serenity.
The article, ‘Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65 Percent’ by inc.com explains an experiment where they tried to create a top 10 playlist for ultimate anxiety relief.
You can find all 10 songs on their website but ranking number one was a song called ‘Weightless’ which has been proven to reduce anxiety by 65%.
See what you think.
26. Use ‘I MUST’ Instead Of ‘I Should’
This is a neat trick from the master that is TONY ROBBINS. If you haven’t read his book Awaken The Giant Within then I suggest you get it now.
Every possible thing you could need to know in order to build your self-esteem, confidence, belief in yourself, and work toward living a meaningful life in the bid to find happiness can be found in this book.
It takes dedication on your part, he provides a lot of the answers and techniques but it’s down to you to action them.
One of them is using transformative vocabulary which effectively means choosing specific words that can help alter your state.
For example, use ‘I MUST’ instead of ‘I SHOULD’.
By saying I MUST you create a sense of urgency surrounding what it is that you must do.
It suggests high importance and a consequence if you did not achieve this task.
When we choose to say I SHOULD instead of I MUST it already suggests that we are not going to follow through on our actions and that is not what we want.
That way guilt and anxiety lie.
Avoid the risk of procrastinating and avoidance by replacing your shoulds with musts.
In this article from the Tony Robbins team, ‘How To Raise Your Standards’ this topic is discussed in greater depth.
27. Keep A Thought Journal
Write it down.
A proven method of daily anxiety relief is to write down you thoughts.
There are so many benefits to putting your thoughts on paper.
Although there are specific practices, such as morning pages, that you can follow there really doesn’t have to be any rhyme or reason to this.
In a moment of uplift open your thought journal and write down how you feel, why you feel this way and how you can maintain it.
In a moment of sadness write down the situation surrounding it.
What has caused you to feel sad? What worries do you have? Do you recognize any triggers and is there anything you could do about this?
The same applies to moments of anger, hurt, upset, joy, excitement.
By keeping a record you are not only freeing your mind of all of these wandering thoughts but you can effectively monitor your thought processes.
You can use it to find patterns or triggers or even remind yourself of what you can do to make you feel good.
If you’re struggling to get started then here is a list of journal writing prompts to help you get started.
28. Notice And Shift Negative Thoughts
Unfortunately, this is not an easy task however this is a technique that will help you in the long run.
It may take time to master but you will be much better equipped to manage your anxiety and negative thought loops later down the line.
First you MUST notice when you are dwelling on a negative thought.
Deep down each of us knows what we have a tendancy to fixate on and they often repeat themselves.
Perhaps you find ways to tell yourself that you are stupid or worthless.
Perhaps you try to find little moments throughout the day that you can blow out of proportion to justify your feelings.
Whatever it may be you need to bring awareness to your thoughts and notice when you are finding yourself in a negative thought pattern.
This takes practice but it is achievable because you know yourself and you know your thought style.
Once you have raised that flag that says you have caught yourself thinking in this way you must stop the negative thought loop.
One way of doing this is to say STOP out loud.
Whatever it is, this action that you choose is so far removed from your thought process that it takes you out of that brain-space and interrupts the thought pattern.
A little story for you. I used to do this before I even realized that this is a genuine CBT technique.
Without realizing, for months I would suddenly become aware that I was thinking badly of myself and before I knew it I was humming the first four bars of the Harry Potter theme tune!
Once you’ve given yourself this room to breathe you can actively choose to think about things a little differently.
Psychology Today explains it as the process of turning what they call ‘BLUE‘ thoughts into ‘TRUE‘ thoughts.
29. Replace Negative Thoughts With Helpful Thoughts
The next step is to replace these negative thoughts with helpful thoughts.
Ask yourself, ‘what would I say to a friend who was thinking about herself in this way?’
Talk to yourself as you would this friend, be kind to yourself.
Perhaps you fixate on the idea that you are ‘useless’ but you can re-frame this to say ‘I realize that I did not do this very well today so this is something I will work on and get better at.’
If you have this constant voice telling you that you are stupid then change the dialogue – ‘It is OK that I didn’t know the answer to that question. No-one knows everything but now I will research into it a bit more so I have a greater understanding of it.’
Stop your negative thoughts and replace them with a string of thoughts that are helpful to you. This in turn will relieve your anxiety.
30. Supplements To Help Reduce Stress
A list of great supplements which can help relieve anxiety:
31. Light A Candle
Light, warmth and soothing aromas. Simple but effective.
This technique would sit in the same box as having a hot bath or lighting incense.
You can sit and watch the flame flicker while it’s light fills the room with a warm glow.
Find your favourite scented candle and always have it ready. Associate it with good things; calm, positivity, soothing and peace.
32. Chew Gum
According to Melanie Curtin from inc.com:
Added bonus of lovely fresh breathe to boot. That’s a confidence builder in itself!
33. Learn To Say NO – For Your Own Sake
We are not very good at this are we?
I’m going to keep this short and sweet.
The burst of anxiety you will feel mustering up the courage to say no to something that you don’t want to do pales in comparison to the anxiety induced by having to live through the situation that you weren’t able to say no to.
Mitigate your chances of having to grin and bear it through times like these.
You do not require a reason.
You do not owe anyone an apology.
You just owe yourself the relief of doing what you want to do and NOT doing what you don’t.
Stop worrying about what ‘they’ will think of you if you reject their offer and think about yourself.
However much you overthink the situation in your head I promise you, they don’t care half as much as you do.
34. Don’t Procrastinate, Take Action!
What happens when we procrastinate?
Generally, in a bid to avoid doing something that we might find difficult or time-consuming (or something that we afraid of failing at) we reach a point where we either accept that it will not be done or find ourselves working under extreme time restraints having left it to the last minute.
This feeling brings with it a mass of anxieties.
Fearing the future; fearing what our boss might say, fearing what a friend or family might say upon knowing that we didn’t do that thing we said we would do, again.
By taking action you are mitigating the chances of having to deal with all of these anxieties.
Not only that but taking action can only lead to GOOD THINGS. Even if that happens to be having to learn how to fail with grace, that is certainly worth it.
This is a brilliant TED Talk to watch if you are also a master procrastinator.
35. Practice Scattered Counting
Often you will hear that a great way to manage your nerves and worries is to count to ten slowly.
While you should continue to do so if this method works for you I have come across something called scattered counting.
With scattered counting rather than counting numbers in chronological order you actually count numbers out of order.
For example; 31, 87, 12, 99, 58…etc
This takes a higher level of concentration and focus so not only does it temporarily distract you from your negative fixations but it also provides peace as your brain has a simple task to focus on.
36. Understand That Anxiety Is NORMAL
Anxiety is as normal an emotion for us to experience as anger, fear, happiness, and all of the rest.
It is part of our genetic make-up that allowed us to react to danger back in the hunter-gatherer days.
It was used to keep us SAFE.
As soon as our levels of anxiety rise we trigger our fight or flight response ready to move quickly should we be under attack.
That is no different to how anxiety helps us now. It warns us that something isn’t right, that we feel uncomfortable and to keep an eye out.
However, now we don’t live in hunter-gatherer times and our ‘danger triggers’ are now set off by other things that we may not consider an actual life or death danger if we were to stop and think about it.
The important thing to know and realize is that anxiety is a NORMAL emotion.
It is experienced by every human on the planet to some degree.
You are not alone.
37. Drink Chamomile Tea
Studies have shown that chamomile tea is one of the number ones go-to natural remedies for reducing anxiety.
It is a short-term fix and doesn’t seem to have a great deal of scientific evidence to explain WHY chamomile tea holds relaxation properties however, there are articles upon articles upon articles of anxiety relief remedies and chamomile tea almost always features.
Lisa Ryan from The Cut wrote a great article ‘Will Chamomile Help Ease My Anxiety?’ which is well worth the read if you’d like some more in-depth information surrounding Chamomile.
38. Plan Instead Of Worry
In this instance you can fight stress before it’s even begun.
Planning is such a huge contributor to mitigating anxiety. By planning your day, month or year you give yourself to focus and structure.
You give yourself a clear path to follow.
You take an element of control over the time ahead of you.
You give yourself goals to reach.
By having these in place you avoid ‘going with the flow’ which can be unpredictable and stressful.
The more you plan the more productive you’re likely to be. The more you plan the more stable you are likely to feel.
The more you plan the greater you chance of minimizing anxiety.
39. Work SMARTER, Not Harder
It does exactly what it says on the tin. Do not try and pack every single possible thing into your day!
It’s a rookie mistake and a sure fire root to burnout and disappointment which in turn will provoke your anxiety.
You may feel like you need to work 12 hour days and pack it all in, constantly moving and working but guess what? You’re no good if you’re exhausted.
PRIORITIZE the actions that will make the biggest difference to your life.
PRIORITIZE the items on the to-do list that will take you leaps and bounds closer to your goals and forget the rest until that one can be ticked off.
It is the QUALITY of your productivity that matters, not the QUANTITY.
40. Relieve Financial Stress
Money, money, money. It makes the world go around and ties my stomach in knots (me along with most of the population!)
Financial strain is too common and even those of us who are in a good financial position can have anxiety surrounding money.
The same rule applies here to all other aspects of your life – manage the things that you actually have control over.
If a LACK of financial support is causing you stress then look at what you can adapt to help manage your finances.
Contact various suppliers and see what help they can offer, you’d be surprised to know that they might be more helpful than you think.
Plan your weekly food shop. Batch cooking saves money AND TIME.
Assess what purchases are necessities and which are indulgences.
These situations are temporary and you have the ability to change it but for now cut back on the luxuries until there is more disposable income available to you.
Cancel any paid subscriptions that you don’t need or use.
It’s something that most of us will avoid like the plague but in order to relieve yourself of any money-related anxiety then you must sit down and look at the figures.
Once you have done this you can begin to implement the changes and feel more comfortable with your situation.
41. Go To Bed Early
Getting a good night’s sleep is integral to managing anxiety and relieving its symptoms.
One thing that can help with this is going to bed early and having a solid nighttime routine in place to help you wind down and calm your overthinking brain before bed.
With a rise in cases of insomnia and sleeping conditions, a lot of us are sleeping more in the day time hours than the night time hours, you must work toward re-adjusting.
Have your dinner and give yourself an hour to rest for your food to go down.
Now, put away all devices, turn the TV off, and have a nice hot bath or shower. Get yourself into your pj’s before hopping into bed.
Again, stay off the technology.
Technology will awaken your brain when you are trying to wind down.
Read a few chapters of your favorite book (fiction is apparently best before bed) and when you are ready to try drifting off, lie with the lights off and your eyes shut and practice deep breathing.
Allow the weight of sleep to take you and focus on the breath.
Whenever you feel your mind begin to drift, acknowledge it and return to the breath as soon as you are able.
Getting a solid nighttime routine in place is the best chance you have of regularly going to bed and going to sleep at the time you planned.
Our bodies need time to rest and recuperate and this needs to be done in the NIGHT TIME hours if possible.
Which leads me on to my next point…
42. Wake Up Early
Rise with the morning sun.
The reason for waking up early is two-fold;
Firstly, we are not nocturnal.
We need light and we need sunshine to help with functionality.
We work best in the day time and especially in the morning when we are at our best after a night of rest. This makes it the perfect time to get things done and be at our most productive as our productivity levels decrease the more the day goes on.
Secondly, getting up early gives you more chance of being able to go to bed early.
Even if you had a terrible night’s sleep and didn’t drop off until 3 am then by getting yourself up with the rising of the sun you encourage your body to sleep better the following night.
This is because it NEEDS to sleep and rather than allowing it to get that sleep in the day time you are re-calibrating your body to sleep in the night time.
Have you heard the phrase, ‘Messy bed, messy head’?
A cluttered home can be the cause of added anxiety for the following reasons according to Psychology Today’s article ‘Why Mess Causes Stress’:
- Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important.
- Clutter distracts us by drawing our attention away from what our focus should be on.
- Clutter makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally.
- Clutter constantly signals to our brains that our work is never done.
- Clutter makes us anxious because we’re never sure what it’s going to take to get through to the bottom of the pile.
- Clutter creates feelings of guilt (“I should be more organized”) and embarrassment, especially when others unexpectedly drop by our homes or work spaces.
- Clutter inhibits creativity and productivity by invading the open spaces that allow most people to think, brainstorm, and problem solve.
- Clutter frustrates us by preventing us from locating what we need quickly (e.g. files and paperwork lost in the “pile” or keys swallowed up by the clutter).
Read the full article for great tips and advice regarding this.
The main take away here?
That first initial step to sorting out your personal space will be HARD.
However, the benefits, once it’s done, will be a decrease in stress levels and an increase in calm and comfort.
It will aid you in thinking clearly and not only that but it’s a double whammy with point 13 whereby you will be filled with a sense of achievement once it’s done!
44. Plan A Trip
Some things are as obvious as they appear.
At certain points in life, we just need something to look forward to. Giving us hope for the future and something to work toward.
We don’t reward ourselves as often as we should. We don’t allow ourselves to indulge without having a REASON.
Give yourself something to look forward to.
Plan that special trip that you know will give you the uplift and you-time that you NEED.
You do not need to justify this expenditure! You can never place a value on your mental health.
Go on, you deserve it.
45. Feelings Are Not Facts
The truth is, how we FEEL in any given moment is not a reliable representation of the situation.
We can be quick to mistake our feelings for reality.
‘I feel bad therefore I am a bad person’
‘I feel fat therefore I am fat’
‘I feel guilty therefore I must be guilty’
You must distinguish between what is an emotional response to a situation and what is the reality of the situation.
Consistent ‘emotional reasoning’ (the professional term for confusing facts and emotions) can be extremely detrimental to your mental health.
It makes it difficult to place yourself in a positive headspace as you continuously tell yourself that how you FEEL must be TRUE.
A way to get around this is to fact check the situation.
What evidence do you have in front of you?
What have people said?
What do you see?
Does all of this information line up and support your feelings or does it suggest something different?
If you realize that your thoughts toward the situation are biased then so are the feelings that appear as the result of them.
46. Practice Gratitude
The art of practicing gratitude is one that you should begin to implement in your everyday life.
Unlike anxiety which feels heavy and dark, gratitude feels light and warm.
Simply put, to relieve stress and angst in moments of anxiety and difficulty – stop, breathe and ask yourself what you are grateful for?
It might be as simple as, ‘I am grateful that I am alive and breathing’
You might practice gratitude toward all the wonderful people in your life. Gratitude for a skill or talent that you have.
Gratitude is like the ying to the anxiety yang.
Studies suggest that the act of acknowledging what you are grateful for can increase dopamine levels in the brain – a chemical that makes us feel good.
Not only that but if you work on this then over time it can become a habitual way of thinking, literally shifting your mindset to a more positive way of thinking.
In this Gratitude To Relieve Anxiety article by the Anxiety Relief Project they discuss gratitude in greater depth and show you various different ways that you can practise gratitude including:
- Keeping a gratitude journal
- Writing a gratitude letter
- Gratitude Meditation
47. Take Ownership And Be Accountable For Your Actions
You MUST read this article from Forbes Magazine and ‘Extreme Ownership’ by Jocko Willink.
Both express very clearly the importance of taking ownership of your choices and actions and how accountability will not only relieve anxiety but will set you on a path to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
The points discussed in the Forbes article are as follows:
- Take Ownership of your own success
- Embrace Reality
- Invite yourself to tap into your resourcefulness
- Recognise you are more than a mistake you’ve made
- Own your choices
- Create space for learning
- When you know better, do better
- Use performance reviews to demonstrate personal accountability
Taking accountability is not easy. It conjures up fears of having to admit that you may have made mistakes. That perhaps you are wrong.
As soon as you can take charge of these errors in judgment the sooner you can rectify them and suddenly you are back in control.
Once you are in control your stress levels dramatically decrease.
A well-rounded person accepts and acknowledges their victories and good deeds but also takes responsibility for their mistakes and wrongdoing.
It doesn’t sound fun, I know. But once you’ve mastered it the benefits are invaluable and can be applied to all areas of your life.
48. Take Small Steps Not Giant Leaps
Similar to point 13 this neat tip is all about setting yourself achievable goals.
In point 13 we mentioned setting yourself small DAILY goals which is a must so that you can regularly get into the habit of setting yourself a task and meeting it.
For this technique, however, I am specifically talking about having a large end goal and ‘chunking’ it into manageable steps so that the process is easier and less daunting.
Therefore the likelihood of reaching your goal is much higher.
For example, imagine you wanted to begin a t-shirt business.
Rather than saying, ‘Tomorrow I will create the entire website’ (which anyone with a website will tell you that this is no small task!) instead you say, ‘Tomorrow I will get my domain, hosting and choose the theme’.
This is a small step toward your end goal.
By setting yourself this task and finishing it because it is an achievable amount of work to do in a day – you feel good, you feel productive and you feel ready for the next step.
You slowly make your way toward the end goal.
If you had tried to do the entire website not only would you not have managed it but you end the day frustrated, overwhelmed and unable to appreciate the work you have done.
This in turn makes the next step harder as your confidence and self esteem has diminished and your anxiety surrounding the end goal soars.
Provide effective anxiety relief by avoiding overwhelm and disappointment.
Take small steps not giant leaps.
49. Organize Your Technology
We live in the technological age. Everything is online and we are glued to our screens more so than ever.
Last year the average American was said to spend anywhere between 3.5 and 5 hours a day on their phones!
And in some scary predictions according to Vox.com online publications, this number is expected to increase to 11 hours per day.
A lot of our social interaction has now moved online and coupled with this there are now multiple industries that have moved into the world of e-commerce, abandoning the classic brick and mortar shops that are slowly fading away.
All of this is understandable.
But despite how much we seem to gift our time to our little pocket screens, it appears as though the technology is actually the source of a lot of global anxiety.
Here are some things that I would suggest you do TODAY:
- Clear your mobile phone of apps. Keep only the ones that are necessary and group those into 2 or 3 must have folders. Your screen will be clear and de-cluttered and the urge to tap those app icons should decrease.
- Do the exact same for your desktop. I only have 2 folders (plus the recycle bin) on my desktop. Within that folder there are 5 folders and 5 folders within each of them. Take the time to properly organize your computer. Delete what you don’t need. Back up important things that you don’t need to access regularly onto a hard drive and delete them from your PC. Clear your desktop just like your phone, leave only 1 or 2 folders.
- SORT YOUR EMAIL and keep it maintained. Believe it or not email anxiety is a real thing. Everyday most of us wake up and one of the first things we do is check our inbox. It is stress inducing to have a high inbox number. It is stress inducing to see a bunch of unopened emails (that might never be opened) and it is overwhelming to see all of those nudges which are telling you that you STILL haven’t responded to this that or the other. My advice? Do a mass cull. Bulk emails that you can delete quickly without hesitation. Make sure to unsubscribe to all email lists that you know you’re not actually reading. Create folders (as many as you need) and all of the important stuff that you need to keep should stay in there. Get that inbox down to zero and keep it that way.
50. Use A Mantra
This may seem like a short term fix and you would be partially right however, if used regularly and integrated with deep breathing exercises the use of a mantra can completely change the way you think and feel for the better.
A mantra is a little saying or phrase of significance to you which you repeat in times of anxiety to help you manage the attack and build upon your sense of being.
For example, I have always used the following:
‘I am Emma Loveday and I am good enough’
I sit cross legged on the floor, close my arms and breathe while repeating this over and over in my mind until I feel a change in my emotional state and a relaxation in my body.
It is important to find a mantra that is significant to you. There is no right or wrong way to choose your mantra.
Likewise, you do not have to position yourself cross-legged on the floor to practice it.
Your mantra is there to use as and when you see fit.
Perhaps you speak it to yourself as your walk toward a job interview to calm your nerves and build your self-esteem.
Perhaps you repeat it in your head as you stand in a long queue at a busy supermarket.
However you choose to use this mantra, it should be specific to you and your needs. You do not need to share this with anyone if you don’t want to.
51. Step Back From Social Media
In a world where we are more connected than ever, we are becoming increasingly disconnected.
Human interaction has fallen as we see the rise in social media and various connecting platforms which make it easier to keep in contact with one another but also easier to remain physically distant.
Along with this, we have societal influences coming at us from all angles telling us how we should look, behave and what we should desire.
Making us feel that if we are anything less than, then we simply aren’t good enough.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have addictive powers as we waste hours of our days scrolling and liking however it has been reported that social media platforms such as these are a huge cause of anxiety for a lot of people. Even for those of us who specifically use it to follow social media support communities can feel surprisingly deflated.
Understand this, across social media you are only shown the best of people’s lives and so you compare yourself to others when you only have half of the story.
Along with this, by being an active user you open yourself up to the judgment of others.
(What’s worse is that a lot of the time our content doesn’t actually receive any criticism but you will worry about it anyway.)
Don’t allow social media to contribute to your anxiety.
There are ways to mitigate the anxiety that comes with social media and of course the best is to decrease your social media time and increase your human connection time.
Begin by doing what I suggested in point 50 and declutter your devices. Group your social media into a folder so they are not so quick to access.
I would limit yourself to only having 1 social media platform on your phone. For example, perhaps Instagram might be your browsing platform of choice.
(Delete them all if you feel brave!)
You can still keep Facebook but it will only be available to you on your laptop or PC.
Add Newsfeed Eradicator to your Facebook Feed. Type Newsfeed Eradicator into chrome and it will pop right up.
This has been a game changer.
Hours upon hours have been spent scrolling through the feed barely acknowledging what I’m looking at and filling myself with anxiety as I compare my life to those that appear on my screen.
Let’s be honest, you don’t need your feed.
Being active in Facebook groups is the best way to connect to people with similar interests and you still have access to messanger to contact those important people in your life.
The feed is not your friend. Install the Newsfeed Eradicator and it replaces your feed with an inspirational quote for the day and that is all.
No scrolling, no pictures, no posts. Nothing.
Just a great little quote.
I will constantly be adding to this list to try and accumulate the best anxiety relief practices.
The more information we have available the better chance we have of finding what works for us individually.