- Mental Health
How to Reduce Your Anxiety and Feel Better Fast
If you regularly deal with anxiety, you know how hard it can be to make it through the day. Your mind keeps wandering back to whatever it is that worries you, preventing you from enjoying your day, getting work done or spending time with your family. Sometimes, your anxiety can even result in a panic attack, a scary experience that usually includes shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat. However, there are a few tools you can use to lessen your anxious feelings. These tools will not “cure” your anxiety or get to the root of your problems, but they hopefully will give you a respite until you can find a long-term solution.
Meditation in a Quiet Space
Meditation is a great way to bring your mind to the present and let go of some of your worries. You don't need to go to a class or even read a book to learn how to meditate. If you want a simple approach, just follow these steps:
- Find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably. If you have family members around, let them know you want some privacy.
- Sit down and let your body relax. If any part of your body is tense, relax it.
- Close your eyes and begin to focus on your breathing instead of the thoughts plaguing your mind. Imagine yourself in a peaceful place, such as a forest with a gentle stream. If your mind starts to wander from your deep breathing, bring it back gently.
- If you have trouble focusing only your breathing, adopt a simple mantra to repeat in your head, over and over. Your mantra could be something as simple as “I am relaxed.”
If you can focus on your breathing or your mantra, your mind will clear and you'll become more aware of the present moment. For anxiety sufferers, this can help you let go of current and future worries.
Heart-pumping cardio exercise is a great way to ease your mind and get some amazing physical rewards at the same time. When you exercise hard, your body release endorphins. These chemicals help your mood improve almost immediately. However, not all exercise forms will have the same results. Walking is a good way to exercise, but unless you keep a fast pace, you might not see many benefits. Running, swimming or riding a bike is a better way to boost your mood quickly. Embrace any exercise that makes you sweat for the best results.
3. Write Down Your Thoughts
Writing down your thoughts can help you identify the issues troubling your mind. After writing down your thoughts, your brain just might give you a break from repeating the same thoughts over and over again. Consider buying a special notebook just for your anxiety-related thoughts. If you're feeling particularly brave, you can also share your thoughts online on anxiety forums. Other participants can share their own experiences with you. You could also store your thoughts in other online places, including a personal blog.
Drink Tea While You Enjoy Your Entertainment
This tea is one of my favorites; I find it helps me relax.
4. Seek Distracting Entertainment
Vegetating in front of a mindless television show probably won't distract you from your anxious thoughts. Reading a book that truly pulls you into its world probably will, however. I personally suggest a fantasy or science fiction book. Don't be afraid to re-read an old favorite. Enthralling video games with deep storylines can also help distract you. Mindless tablet games about destroying fruit or raging avians, however, probably won't provide enough depth to pull you in.
While you enjoy your entertainment, you can try a few smaller ideas to calm your brain. Lighting an aromatic candle can help sooth your senses. Drinking a glass of herbal tea will help calm your body and relax you.
5. Talk to Someone
Although sharing your feelings online with anonymous strangers may help, talking directly to a loved one may offer more immediate results. If you haven't already shared your issues with anxiety before with a family member or friend, open up a dialogue so that they can start to help you. They may also be able to help you come up with some fun activities or other ways to de-stress and reduce your anxiety.
In some cases, you may simply just want someone to listen to you without offering advice. Simply tell your loved one ahead of time that you just want to vent and would appreciate advice at another time.
Sound Machine on Amazon
6. Listen to Something Else
When you're feeling anxious, you're probably listening to your mind's voice prattle on about everything you're worried about. Try to block out that voice with a new sound. You can take an active approach by listening to loud and upbeat music. As you listen, be mindful of the music; don't let it simply become background noise. Pay attention to the lyrics, if there are any, to give your brain something to think about.
If you prefer something a little more peaceful, you have a couple of choices. Quiet and relaxing music, such as classical music, is a good way to sooth your troubled mind and distract it. You can also use a sound generator or app to listen to a variety of soothing noises, such as ocean waves and raindrops. If you struggle to quiet your mind during meditation, these tools can also help.
7. Change Your Scenery
Leaving your current location to go somewhere else can give your eyes something new to look at and your brain something else to think about. If the weather is nice, go for a walk on your favorite hiking trail or through your neighborhood. If the weather is less than ideal, go somewhere with a lot of sensory stimulation, such as a science museum or art gallery. You can also try going somewhere completely unfamiliar and new to you if you want to get your brain out of autopilot mode. Even something as simple as going to a different grocery store can help you experience something new.
8. Read an Anxiety Book
If you're not in the mood for a trip into Middle Earth, consider reading an anxiety self-help book instead. I have not read a great deal of anxiety books, but the ones I've read usually included real life stories, places to enter specific anxious thoughts and ideas for long-term management of your anxiety. For best results, I suggest buying an actual book instead of the e-book version so that you can make notes as you read through the book. You'll also be able to easily highlight the most useful parts.
Remember, these ideas aren't meant to fix your problems or offer a long-term solution. For some individuals, severely anxious thoughts only plague them for a brief time in their entire lives. For others, anxiety is a constant companion. These suggestions are only meant to offer you a quick way to ease your current tensions and give you a break from your thoughts. Completely addressing your anxiety will probably require significantly more help then a single Internet article can ever give.