8 Ways to Reduce your Anxiety and Feel Calmer
In many countries, the most common mental health issue is anxiety. In fact, some studies show that about 37% of women and almost 30% of men report high levels of anxiety. Of course, even more people experience moderate or mild levels of anxiety.
That means that there are a lot of people who want to find the best way to reduce anxiety in their specific situations. Although the same techniques don’t work for everyone, the good news is that essentially everyone can find one or more techniques that work for them.
You don’t have to try all of the ideas in this article to start finding new ways to feel calmer. Start with whichever ideas seem most accessible to you and see what kind of results you get.
Read on to learn all about the top ways to reduce your anxiety and feel more calm.
Keep Trying Different Strategies to Calm Anxiety
Some people give up after trying a couple of different strategies for anxiety. If they don’t work, they conclude their anxiety must be immune to treatment. However, it is much more likely that your anxiety simply doesn’t respond to the specific things you have tried already. If a strategy doesn’t work when you have extreme anxiety doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. It’s most helpful to try working on strategies when you start to feel anxious or upset. The more you practice a technique the better your body will respond to using it.
As long as you keep trying new things, it is almost certain you will find techniques that help you get a better handle on your anxiety.
Start Taking Notes on Your Anxious Thoughts
Sometimes, anxiety seems stubborn because people don’t learn to understand it better. If you start to keep a journal of your anxious thoughts, you might start to notice patterns that weren’t obvious to you before.
When you are stuck in the middle of an anxious spiral, it can feel impossible to look at things in an objective way. However, reading through your journal can help you notice all of the different thoughts and feelings that have felt real to you at other times. You will also start to notice that these anxious thoughts do not keep you from experiencing relaxation at other times.
In the long run, starting to notice the patterns of your anxiety will help you manage it better and better. Understanding when you are staring to feel anxious and have anxious thoughts can help you interrupt and redirect the pattern before it spirals.
Try Accepting Your Anxious Thoughts
It is easy to get into a habit of trying to push anxious thoughts away. That goes double if you know that those thoughts are inaccurate. However, some people benefit a lot by accepting their anxious thoughts instead. It is important to know that feelings are often driving our thinking. If we feel anxious, we can think anxious thoughts. Our brains try to tell us why we are feeling a certain way, when we are in a highly charged emotional state, we are not thinking rational thoughts. It can be helpful to accept and notice that this is what is happening and a pattern of thinking.
Try repeating some of your anxious thoughts to yourself and telling yourself that it is okay to think and feel this way.
Respond to Your Thoughts Like They Came From Someone Else
People are often much harder on themselves than they are on other people. Imagine someone else was expressing your anxious thoughts about themselves. You might have an instinct to comfort them and reassure them about the truth.
You might get a lot out of responding to your own thoughts in a similar way. When you have an anxious thought, try talking to it as if it were coming from someone else. Take the role of a helpful friend who is trying to respond to those negative thoughts with as much understanding and acceptance as possible.
Try Being More Realistic About Your Persistent Anxiety
Anxious thoughts sometimes feel real, even when they are false. In some cases, you can try to balance out your negative thoughts with a more accurate version of the truth.
If you have anxious thoughts berating you for a mistake, you might compare that mistake to other mistakes in your life and in other people’s lives. You can then follow up by acknowledging that this mistake will not define your whole life and that you still have plenty of opportunities to improve in the future.
In some ways, this is the opposite of focusing on accepting your thoughts. Consider trying both strategies to feel for yourself which one works better for you.
Manage Mental Stress With Meditation or Mindfulness Practices
Many people enjoy profound states of calm by engaging in meditation or mindfulness practices. Although you have likely heard about meditation or mindfulness, the prospect of taking it up can feel intimidating. The good news is that beginning a meditation/mindfulness practice is often much easier than people expect.
A simple meditation technique includes repeating a single word or sound over and over again for a short period of time. For example, repeating a word that you find calming, even just repeating the word calm. That is all you need to know to try doing this yourself with any word you might choose. Although it might seem counterintuitive at first, after a few minutes of engaging in this simple task, it is almost certain you will find yourself in a different state of mind.
The definition of mindfulness is simplified at noticing what is happening without judging it. You can notice what is happening in the room around you, for example, to help focus your attention and calm anxiety. There are many different ways to meditate including using guided meditations that can help you manage ongoing stress and anxiety on a regular basis.
Try Grounding Activities to Calm a Racing Heart
Sometimes, the best way to handle anxiety is to engage in a simple activity like walking or showering. We often lose touch with our senses when we feel anxious and get stuck in the repeating and ruminating thoughts that increase the anxiety. Using your senses and paying attention to how it feels to do an activity can have a profoundly calming effect. For example you can listen to relaxing music, feel your feet on the ground, smell things you find soothing, take a drink of water, or find soothing images to look at. Try some of these things out and repeat whichever ones seem to work for you.
Talk About Your Anxiety With People You Trust
Other people find it easiest to deal with their anxiety by discussing their concerns with trusted friends or family members. Try to find someone who is willing to listen to you and who helps you calm down. Anxiety can lose some of it’s power when you say it out loud. It give you a chance to hear what your anxious thoughts are and look at them from a more rational perspective with the help of a trusted friend.
Managing anxiety effectively can be helped by working with a therapist who understands anxiety and can help you address the root causes. Our practice has developed a wealth of experience helping people deal with their anxiety.
Find the Best Way to Reduce Anxiety for You
We hope that trying out these ideas will help you find the best way to reduce anxiety for your unique case. Even if you have tried things before, it is more than worth experimenting with new techniques to see which ones work the best for you. Although anxiety can be stubborn, a lot of people have spent a lot of time discovering ways to manage it.
Contact us at Center of Balance Counseling for a free consultation to discover how counseling can help you reduce anxiety, feel more calm and improve your quality of life.