Depression Mental Health

10 Ways To Reduce Anxiety

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” – Soren Kierkegaard

Ever been anxious? Sweaty hands, many thoughts, heart pumping against the chest, can’t breathe properly, can’t sleep, can’t concentrate, feeling dizzy, feeling overwhelmed, hot flushes? Feel familiar?

For some this only lasts a short period of time and is situation or environment-sensitive. For others, anxiety is more than a “sometime” occurrence; it’s woven into their daily life and has them trapped, unable to escape.

As someone who’s suffered, and at times still suffers, with anxiety, I know these feelings all too well. In fact, I’d often say that depression and insomnia are the roommates of anxiety, complimenting and feeding into one another.

People often assume and think that anxiety is something you can simply “get over”. While you can get over it, it’s sometimes not at easy as that. See, anxiety slowly creeps in. It begins with one thought and eventually becomes the dominant characteristic in your mind, affecting your entire world.

If you have a bad habit or addiction, in order to ‘kick it’ you must develop new habits. Anxiety is exactly the same; it’s been around for an extended period of time a ‘bad habit’ that you must focus on breaking. And that’s why an anxious person cannot simply “get over it”. They have to purposefully retrain thoughts that took weeks, months, and years to form.

And you can always begin doing that by starting right now.

Here are 10 Ways To Reduce Anxiety:

Note: I am not a professional in this area, these are simply tips from a girl who has been plagued by anxiety and depression and chose to get real and better from it.

1 | Talk to someone about it

Tell your trusted friends and family how you’re feeling and stay accountable to someone. More often than not, you’ll be surprised to hear that at least one of them will be able to relate because they’ve gone through it too. You’re not alone.

If you’re noticing this is happening regularly and effecting your everyday living, seek help from a professional – a doctor, psychologist, counselor. They’ll be able to equip you with tools to overcome it and get to the root of your anxiety.

2 | Cut back on coffee

Coffee can be our best friend, but it can also be what’s elevating our anxiety. Everyone reacts to coffee differently and has various levels of what they can handle. If you find yourself continually reaching for and needing it to ‘pick you up’, maybe it’s time to rethink what you really need. Recently I had to cut back on my caffeine intake because it was triggering migraines, making me sleepless, and in turn, anxiety.

3 | Eat well

When you’re stressed and anxious, we do one of two things – under or over-eat. In these situations, it’s important to try and eat well; foods that nourish us. Sure, go ahead and have that slice of cake… but make sure it’s a treat or not the substance of your diet.

4 | Take a break and do something ridiculous

If you find yourself getting anxious, stop doing what you’re doing. Take 5 minutes and go do something else. Whether it’s baking, cleaning, calling a friend, going for a quick walk, or dancing around the house to Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it Off’ (don’t say you’ve never done it or it doesn’t make you feel better)… whatever it is, physically take yourself out of the environment you’re in and do something different. Then, go back to it.

5 |Go for a walk or run outside 

Exercising at the gym is great, but being outside in amongst nature and the fresh air is even better. Moving around gives purpose to you as you’re moving toward a destination, and more often than not you’ll return back home with a renewed peace of mind.

6 | Thought diary

Anxiety is developed because of a particular thought pattern we create, followed by an action or response. By recognising these thoughts, we are able to discover a whole lot about ourselves – cue, the thought diary:

Write down where you are, the thought you had, how it made you feel, how you reacted, and the consequence (because with anxiety, there is always a consequence).

On a personal note, doing this exercise regularly allowed me to discover that I actually had social anxiety. Once realised, I became purposeful in trying to combat and overcome it. At times it still creeps up on me,  however I’m learning to recognise the feelings faster and step out in spite of it.

7 | Create a worry list

Write down every single worry you can think of, from the big things to the little things. Then go through the list and work out with one is effecting you right now, and what ones you personally have control over. If it doesn’t affect you right now or you don’t have control over it, don’t worry about it. Instead, use your energy to focus on the things you do have control over and can change.

8 | Listen to {soothing} music

Lie down. Put your headphones in. Close your eyes. And listen to the tunes that take you back to a good place.

9 | Be kind to yourself

When we’re in a place where anxious thoughts are running rapid, it can be easy to turn the negative talk onto ourselves and see our self-esteem plummet. Instead, be kind to yourself, always. Speak kind words and do kind deeds unto yourself. You always deserve it.

10 | Face it

beyondblue say that the sooner anxious people get help, the more likely they are to recover. They also estimate that there are 2 million Australians with an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety arises because something has triggered it. Discover what it is and face the situation. No matter how scary it may seem, you’re brave. You’re not a failure or insignificant because you have anxiety… you’re full of strength, grace, and have the sheer courage inside of you to keep going.

People think that anxiety robs us of what’s ahead. And it totally can.

But I’ve come to believe that anxiety is actually a tool. It’s a sign letting us know we’re heading down the wrong path, need to rearrange our life, or deal with something in our past or current circumstances so that we can fully embrace the life we were meant to lead and be the person we were created to be.

Now to you! How do you reduce your anxiety? Let us know below!

– image credits: 1 / 2

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  • Abbie W.

    Thanks for sharing, Bethany!! I’d like to add something…I’ve been struggling with anxiety for lotsa years, and last year I saw a family doctor at the university I was attending- and he said the best thing I can do when in the middle of a panic attack is to run really fast. If you are physically able to, getting your heart rate up FROM EXERCISE combats when your heart rate is up from anxiety. Don’t know if I explained that as well as I’d have liked to, but that’s what he told me…and it does actually help!! When you’re out of breath from an anxiety attack, the best thing you can do is make yourself out of breath from exercise. Gets those natural wonderful anxiety-helping hormones and juices flowing too :) xoxo thanks for sharing, love you!!

    • Abbie, yes – GREAT addition!! Totally makes sense too. Thanks so much for sharing it! X

  • Seriously great list, having a journal and ambiant music in hand always pulls me back when I find anxiety tugging at me.

    • Love this. Sometimes it’s the ‘simpler things’ x

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