In What is Anxiety, I explained the process of creating anxiety. Today, I want to start describing how to calm anxiety with simple, everyday tips anybody can do.
It is important to remember that Anxiety is a thinking process that we do in the present of imagining a negative future. Anxiety is the modern evolution of the “fight or flight” response. We are not certain about the future and we predict a horrible one. Most of us are very bad fortunetellers, but still most people try fortunetelling in hope that the future will somehow change from being scary to being great, if only in our mind.
It won’t, unless we change the way we go through that process, and actively, with intention, change it!
In this post and the next, I will share with you 59 tips on how to calm anxiety. Each of those tips can do the trick for short time and if you continue doing them, they will become a habit. All you need are 2-3 tips that you feel conferrable with and alternate them.
Some of the tips are very much applicable to children, so teach your kids to develop strategies to manage and calm their anxiety as soon as possible. Research shows that kids as young as 3 years old already experience anxiety, and if they live in a very anxious house, they will master anxiety very early in life.
In schools, we see many anxious kids and this can be very exhausting for the body. Think of your body in “fight or flight” mode 30 to 40 times a day. An anxious child becomes so sensitive that every word said around them becomes a lion or a snake. The road from here to developing full-blown anxiety disorder is not too long.
Knowing how to calm anxiety is important and is only becoming more important every day.
How to Calm Anxiety Tips (1-25)
- Give the feeling a name. If you know what the feeling you have is, it is easier to work with it. Do not scare away bad feelings. Just recognize them. Knowing how to calm anxiety starts with getting to know your own flavor of it.
- Write a journal. Writing you thoughts and feelings can help you recognize what is happening to you inside and make you more mindful over the process. If you are not the person to write lots, write short sentences. You can do it on your phone as well.
- Work your happy list. Every person should have a list of things that make him/her happy. Anxiety is not a happy feeling and when we are anxious, it is hard to think of happy things that will change our mindset, so, have a list someone easy to find, whenever you feel anxious, go to that list and do something that will make you feel happy.
- Go for a walk, run and/or exercise, whatever makes you feel better. When your body is focusing on another physical activity, it is distracted from thinking of any future. This will calm your anxiety.
- Make to do list. Sometimes we have anxiety because we are overwhelmed about the future. If you put things down on paper, it gets the load off your mind and helps you focus on things at a time.
- Avoid alcohol. It triggers anxiety since the body loses a bit of control and our judgment is distorted. When you drink alcohol, it will increase your anxiety.
- Smile a lot. If smiling is too hard for you, take a pencil and hold it with your teeth. There are enough smiling muscles involved for your brain to think you are smiling and start producing “happy” chemicals and anxiety will disappear.
- Do the laugher therapy. Laughing triggers euphoria chemicals and anxiety cannot coexist with these “happy” chemicals in your body.
- Sing! Singing works just like smiling, causing your body to produce “feeling good” chemicals. Sing in the car, sing in the shower, sing when you prepare dinner and sing when you feel frustrated and notice how the negative feelings melt away.
- Get a move on. Being physically active makes you happy. Find some activity you like to do and notice how it changes your mood: sex (yes, of course!), any kind of sport, dance and yoga. Make a habit of being active in any way you feel like. This will distract anxiety really fast.
- Have a bath. It will calm your body from the physical symptoms of anxiety and help you focus on the good physical feeling of NOW.
- Talk to someone who makes you feel good (and stay away from people who make you feel bad). Sometimes someone that we love, and we feel he/she loves us, can change our focus and give us strength when we have doubts and fears about the future.
- Take a deep breath. Breathing is the best strategy to calm anxiety. Any breathing technique will do. Whatever works for you, do it for 1 minute!
- Light scented candles that have good memories. Our smell carries lots of memories. We can trigger good feelings with smells. I have a specific smell that stuck with me during my teen years, when Gal and I started going out. Whenever I want to go to that period in my life, I just use it and it changes the way I think about the future.
- Listen to music you like. Again, music we like triggers memories in our mind that can distract us from fear regarding the future.
- Schedule anxiety sessions in your diary. This nice technique is very useful in developing awareness to anxiety. Pick a time of the day and week for half an hour to be concerned about the future. It will help in two ways. One: whenever you feel anxious you tell your mind, “It is not the time now, I am busy”. Two, whenever you see that in your diary, it will make you smile and increase the thought that anxiety is useless.
- Do a puzzle or play a computer game. Trying to focus on something that requires some brainpower will easily distract you from worrying about the future.
- Drink plenty of water. Most people are dehydrated and this can create some pressure on the body that will clutter out thinking. It is easy to get water anywhere you are.
- Read a book, books are like movies, they take you away from where you are to wonderful places. If you feel anxious, try reading some good books rather than depressing books that only increase your anxiety.
- Meditation is the best way to still the mind. Remember, any meditation will do the trick. It is a way to shut down the flow of scary thoughts and it works perfectly.
- Create, do art! Any form of art requires parts of the brain to focus on the creativity so it takes away the thoughts from the future to the NOW. It is another form of meditation. Paint, draw, dance, sculpt, do some craft, invent a gadget, cook something new, write poetry or tend the garden. Any excuse will do!
- Have sex. Sex will move your thoughts from a bad future and force you to focus on the physical feelings you are experiencing while in touch with someone else.
- Have an orgasm. While during sex with another person, you can feel touch that will divert your focus, an orgasm will take care of your physical tension, relax your muscles and bring your physical body to an optimal state of joy. This will calm your anxiety even if you do it by yourself.
- Have a secure place in your mind and go to it. Sit down and imagine the most secure place for you. Feel the air, note the smells, be specific about the visions and about what you do there, and whenever you feel anxious, go there in your mind. Remember, even anxiety is in your mind and you have no problem going there.
- Use this as a mantra:
Everything will be OK in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end
This mantra helped me overcome lots of fears and lots of uncertainty in the future. I have moved so many times in my life, through many countries, cultures and languages and this belief has helped me survive the unknown.
Stay tuned for the next 34 tips on how to calm anxiety.
Until next time, be happy!
This post is part of the series How to Deal with Anxiety:
- How to Deal with Anxiety: What is Anxiety?
- How to Calm Anxiety: 25 Easy Tips
- How to Control Anxiety: 35 More Tips