Anxiety sucks. Period.
It can easily and very quickly consume my day (and night). It makes me irritable and basically just want everyone, including my family, to go away and leave me alone. The overwhelmed, anxious feeling will throw me into a state of constant worry about things that sometimes aren’t even realistic and are the worst of the worst-case scenarios.
My anxiety can and will ruin me as a person, changing my moods for the worst in an instant. It makes me unproductive because as I feel so overwhelmed, I can’t think straight to actually accomplish anything.
So, the more overwhelmed I feel, the more likely it is that I do nothing!
I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember. But I have only recently learned a few ways to help me overcome it. I am still on my “Kicking Anxiety To The Curb” journey (lol) but I wanted to share with you what has been working for me so far, with the hopes that some of these tips can help you ease your anxiety as well.
Ways To Help Relieve Anxiety Naturally
One of the things I have been working on is refocusing my attention when I start to get anxious. Instead of sitting and dwelling on what my anxious mind is stuck thinking about, a change of scenery, a change of conversation topic, or a direct change in what I am doing at the moment has helped to clear my mind long enough for me to take a breath and come back to whatever was bothering me with a clearer mind.
It is worth mentioning that some of the things I list here to help you naturally relieve your anxiety may or may not work for you, particularly if you have an anxiety disorder. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and a lot of times “natural” anxiety remedies just aren’t enough for me. I discuss more of this and what other options you may have in my post: “When Self-Care Isn’t Enough.“
Also, if you’re on the verge of an anxiety attack (or smack in the middle of one) and are looking for immediate relief, scroll to the lower half of this post and read under ‘How To Stop An Anxiety/Panic Attack.’
Dive Into Your Hobby
Diving into your favorite hobby is a perfect way to redirect your overthinking mind onto something more enjoyable.
What is your hobby? What do you enjoy so much that you could accidentally on purpose stay up all hours of the night doing?
Mine is rock painting!
A few years ago I literally had no hobbies. None. My anxiety was at its highest during those times because I didn’t have anything I would use as my “out.” I had no way to decompress. You know, something I could lose myself into.
Long story short, I discovered the fun world of rock painting and hiding! I also learned that there are a ton of rock painting groups pretty much anywhere you go! We paint and hide rocks throughout town, anywhere really, and random people “find” them. It’s simply to put a smile on someone’s face when they pick up a painted rock. I leave mine at parks, outside grocery stores, anywhere I go! And since becoming a rock painter and hider, I am much more mindful on keeping an eye out for other painted rocks lying around town. It makes me smile when I find someone else’s painted rock!
Sitting down, turning on some music, and painting my rocks to hide refocuses my mind on something else besides the anxious worry.
It’s well known that a “breath of fresh air” typically does you well when you’re having a hard time.
Get outside no matter the weather. Today is a cloudy, gloomy, cold day where I live and my Littlest and I went for a walk around the duck pond near our house.
Just being outside did indeed help calm my anxious fast-paced mind, even though we had to bundle up in scarves and jackets.
Summertime is extremely hot where I live so going out for a stroll is not really something anyone does here! So in the summer when I’m feeling on the verge of a meltdown, I will sit by the sunniest window in my house. Same goes for rainy days. (Although, sometimes grabbing an umbrella and standing out in the rain is kind of fun!)
Keep in mind, you don’t necessarily have to make a big adventure out of this “going outside” idea. Just literally sitting right outside on the doorstep can help.
I very recently just got into essential oils and am having fun learning all about how to use them and their benefits! There is a learning curve to using essential oils so be sure to educate yourself before attempting to use them.
Click “Learn How” below to see all the TONS of resources I got from credible experts in natural remedies that have given me the skills and confidence to use herbs & essential oils for staying healthy, supporting the body in illness, non-toxic cleaning, beauty & relaxation, etc. ↓↓
I chose Rocky Mountain Essential Oils to use because:
- I like that they are NOT a multi-level-marketing (MLM) company.
- They have FREE shipping with no minimum order amount.
- They have FREE returns! For a newbie like me who doesn’t know which smells I like and don’t like, it doesn’t get any better than that!
Lavender is known for its calming abilities and can even encourage restful sleep.
I also purchased this small Lavender Greece roll-on. The lavender roll-on is already diluted with a carrier oil so it’s able to be applied directly to the skin – no diffusing needed! I just roll it on my neck and wrists and enjoy the calming aroma of lavender. It’s great for on the go, too!
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep problems affect anxiety. And anxiety causes sleep problems.
Well, great. Now what?!
Get in bed at a decent hour. Sleep is vital in our body’s physical health and without it, your body can’t recharge.
I suck at sleeping. It takes me forever to even fall asleep, and when I finally do, I toss and turn all night long. I know this is because of my anxiety. Especially because when I wake up in the middle of the night, my mind immediately starts racing and thinking and worrying to the point that I can’t even fall back asleep sometimes.
Because I toss and turn and wake up all night long, my total combined sleep time is less than the actual time I’m in the bed. In other words, if I go to bed at 11 pm and get up at 6 am, that doesn’t mean I got 7 hours of sleep. (Not even close, thanks to my constant waking and tossing and turning. Grr!) I’d estimate I’d get about 4.5 to 5 hours of BROKEN sleep. Not enough sleep to wake up feeling rested.
My anxiety and irritability is through the roof the following day if I do not get enough sleep. And almost nothing can curb it.
So I have learned that even though I’m a night owl and would love to stay up late, I NEED to get in bed by 930-10pm in order to get enough combined sleep to be functional the next day. Sometimes even earlier.
For help on falling asleep…
Listen to Spa Music
Every single night for the last few years I have listened to Spa-like music as I lay in bed to fall asleep. And if for some reason am not able to, I will lie awake with a nonstop mind for at LEAST an hour and a half, no matter how tired I am.
Sound familiar? Ugh.
So, as my nightly routine, when my head hits the pillow, I tell Alexa to turn on my Pandora “Yoga Sanctuary Radio” station, and I am asleep in 10-15 minutes! This is my favorite station, and it is the one I always listen to, but a few others I have on my Pandora stations list are:
Find a meditation-style station and focus on the slow sounds as you drift to sleep.
Make sure you turn on your sleep timer in Pandora so that you get peacefully quiet sleep throughout the night.
Speaking of meditation-style music…
Meditation is said to calm the mind and can help you regulate your emotions.
Personally, I have tried meditation so many times in my life and it doesn’t work for me, unfortunately. I could never slow down my brain long enough to focus on the meditation! But so many people swear by it so it is absolutely worth mentioning.
(Neither does Yoga, that so many other people swear by. But hey, to each their own, right?!)
But remember, what doesn’t work for one, may work for others. And vice versa.
So I always recommend giving meditation a try. (I feel like I am part of the minority when it comes to meditation not working for anxiety.)
Check out this interesting article by
There are a ton of free guided meditations on Youtube and phone apps. I tried Headspace.com for a few months and honestly, I really did like it.
Have a DIY Self-Care Box
A DIY self-care box is simply a box full of carefully picked out things that you know will help lower your anxiety.
It can seriously be a lifesaver when your anxiety is high and you’re on the verge of a meltdown.
I’m a dork and named my self-care box my “I’m About To Lose My Shit!” box. LOL! You can read about what all I’ve included in mine (and maybe steal some ideas for yours!) HERE.
Read Books and/or Listen to Podcasts and Audiobooks
Lose yourself into the story of a book or podcast.
Sometimes it can be hard to redirect the anxious mind to focus on the story you are reading or listening to. But trust me, if you can find a real “page-turner” that keeps you intrigued throughout the entire story, then you’ll all of the sudden notice (or not notice) that you are so deep into that story and have escaped the stress of real-life.
Keep in mind, the “page-turner” idea is completely subjective. Some people like romance. Others like fast moving plots with twists and turns. And still others like descriptive and poetic writing styles.
Pick up the book or podcast you prefer and delve into it!
Related post: 6 Binge-Worthy True Crime Podcasts You MUST Listen To!
I know, I know. When you think of the word “journaling” or “diary” you think of some 14-year-old teenager writing out page after page of “a day in the life.”
And yes, while a lot of teenagers do have diaries, journal writing is definitely something adults can and should do as well. Especially those of us with high anxiety and/or depression.
It’s actually one of the first things my therapist recommended.
Think of your journal as a friend you just “word vomit” all over!
There’s no judgment. No interrupting you as you speak. No telling you to “shush, I’ve heard enough!” You have unlimited pages to just write EVERYTHING you are feeling in your mind.
You can talk about what is currently making you angry. What’s something in your life that’s making you happy. Anything!
Need journal prompts? I made a 4-page “What’s Bothering Me” printable and a “Daily Gratitude” printable for you to download for FREE! Click here to snag the FREE printables.
I have found that when I just sit and start writing literally everything that is in my mind (how my day went, who pissed me off today, why I feel like a failure at times, why I’m feeling super awesome at the moment, my thoughts on a certain movie I watched, what my plans are tomorrow, etc.), then it’s almost as if I have just relieved myself of all those thoughts stuck swirling around in my head. It sometimes feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders.
And it’s kind of cool to go back and read my journals from 15 years ago and remember how I felt at that time and how much stronger I am nowadays because of that trial I went through!
Journal prompt idea: Have you ever tried letter-writing to your inner demons? It is recommended by therapists and can be extremely therapeutic! Fellow blogger Leanne from Shy Mommy Life explains why she wrote a letter to her social anxiety HERE.
Talk About It
Don’t hold it all in. You’ll explode. Trust me.
I’ve blown up more times than I’d like to admit. My poor family was usually the ones in my line of fire, too. (Sorry, guys! Mama’s working on it.)
Imagine a soda bottle with the cap still intact being shaken up and shaken up…until it finally BLOWS UP getting everything surrounding it wet.
Me in a nutshell if I don’t vent!
Talking about it, whatever “it” is, is therapeutic (There’s a reason why it’s called “Talk Therapy!”). Call your friend, mom, dad, anyone you feel comfortable with. Talk to your partner. And just let it all out. Tell them how you’re feeling and what’s bothering you and that you just need an ear to vent to.
Do make sure that the person you are talking to is a positive and supportive person in your life. You’ll know a true friend when they just let you talk and genuinely don’t mind your venting.
You’re never alone. 🙂 Find us on Facebook! Join our Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders Talk And Support Group.
Friends, partners, parents, siblings are great people to talk to when you need advice or a venting session. However, they likely have biased opinions because they know you.
Speaking to a therapist is like talking to someone but starting with a clean slate. The counselor doesn’t know you from Adam so telling them your concerns or stresses means you can get advice from someone who doesn’t know your history and can give you educated advice on how to cope.
Plus, let’s be honest. There are some things you want to talk about but don’t necessarily want to talk about it to someone you know. It could be something that would hurt their feelings, or could be something that is totally private to you that no one knows, but is something that is bothering you and affecting your everyday life.
Counselors are trained in anxiety disorders and can teach you ways to cope. My therapist has taught me to be more aware of what triggers my anxiety, recognize that my anxiety is rising, and how to manage it when those triggers inevitably come about.
It may be worth mentioning, that if you are seeking out a counselor for your high anxiety, know that there are different styles of talk therapy. Some of the common ones are:
- Guided self-help
- Interpersonal therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- & more
You’ll need to find the one that works best for you. And likely you won’t know which style works for you until you try them all out! No one style is necessarily better than the other; it just depends on you and your specific needs.
However, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most widely used therapy for anxiety disorders. If you are unsure of what therapy style you will need (and want to save a little bit of money and time trying out tons of different therapists!), I highly, highly recommend starting out with this workbook called ‘Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks: A Workbook for Managing Depression and Anxiety.’
I listened to the audio of this book twice and then bought the physical book for myself. I wanted to be able to have the physical book so that I could do all the activities in the workbook. And let me tell you, this workbook is amazing! Very informative, and has loads of activities for you to do to help retrain your brain on how it perceives really everything around you.
Recognize / Mindfulness
As I said, o
By that point, I was an anxious mess and it would be extremely hard for me to come back down to earth!
Learning how to recognize it from the start lets me consciously nip that thought before it grows. Let me give you an example that just happened to me the other day:
I was in the kitchen, about to start making breakfast for my kids. I opened the pots and pans cabinet and the pan I needed was not in that cabinet.
Naturally, I checked the dishwasher. Not there. I checked the sink. Not there either.
My anxiety started to flip the hell out.
Where the eff is this pot, damn it?! Why is it not here?! I need it and I need it NOW. UGHHHHH!
Now, before learning the “recognizing” technique my counselor taught me, this flip out session would have went something like this…
Me stomping off to my husband, asking him where the hell HE put the pot (as if I was certain HE must have been the one who “lost” it *
(This exact scenario has in fact happened…. more than once…. Pfftt, who am I kidding?…. ALL. THE. TIME.)
HOWEVER, now that I know I need to recognize my anxious feeling starting to build up and that I need to stop it in its tracks before all hell breaks loose… I’m proud to say, here’s how it actually went down…
After checking the dishwasher and the sink and feeling that boiling feeling coming on, I stopped. I took a breath. I told myself (out loud) “Ok, let’s think for a second.” I, no lie, walked back over to the pots and pans cabinet, looked in it again, and there was the STUPID pan.
It was hidden behind a larger pan the entire time.
I went on to cook my kids breakfast, we ate it, and we went on about our day.
This trick can work on overthinking as well. Recognizing that I am overthinking and that what my nervous, anxious mind insists on thinking about are not probable and are unlikely worst-case scenarios. Instead of dwelling on what might happen (which, more than likely won’t happen) I recognize that I am overthinking it and bring myself back to reality before I let those unlikely thoughts take over.
How to stop an anxiety or panic attack
When you’re in the middle of an anxiety spiral, it can be extremely – I repeat: EXTREMELY – hard to calm your mind long enough to even think/remember to do some of these tips I’ve listed above, let alone actually do them.
Let me tell
Pfftt… Yeah right. A journal and actually sitting down to write in it is the last thing on my mind at that moment.
So here is another list for you. This is a list of things you can try when you are on the verge of a meltdown and about to lose your shit! Some may be repeats from above because they can work in this case as well.
1. Go outside
Who cares about the weather. I don’t care if it’s freaking 3 degrees or 118 degrees (I live in Arizona, and yes, it was 118 degrees last summer. Ugh!). GO OUTSIDE.
Sitting in your stuffed up
You need space and a lot of it. You need air. You need to feel like you can breathe.
And getting out of your enclosed, suffocating house (or whatever building or enclosed space you are in) is the best way to get that new, fresh air into your lungs.
Slow, deep breaths.
Breathe allll the way in for a count of 4…
…hold for a conscious 2 seconds..
…then breathe out for a count of 3.
3. Talk to yourself OUT LOUD
Be that “weirdo” whose having a full-on conversation with themselves! So what! You do what you gotta do for your own mental well-being.
I say things like:
- “Ok. Ok. You’re Ok.”
- “Just keep breathing”
- “You can do this”
- “You’ve had this happen before and you made it through”
- “This is an anxiety attack. Not a heart attack. You are not dying!”
- “What’s bothering you at this very moment?”
- “What do you think triggered this attack?”
Yep! I literally pace and talk out loud to myself! Even if it’s a soft whisper, speak it out loud, not just in your head.
The trick here is not only to reassure yourself that you WILL be ok, but to try and lower your stress “fight or flight” hormones and therefore bring your mind back into reality and rational thinking.
4. Grounding technique 5-4-3-2-1 (5 Senses)
I did this one a few days ago and it really does work, you guys. This is my new go-to.
If you have kids, especially little ones, then you are familiar with “redirecting” as a tactic to alleviate and/or bypass a tantrum. This is the same concept – redirection – and can be used for kids and adults.
Then, consciously listen and name out loud 4 things you hear. It could be a bird in the tree near you, a printer in your office printing (which you shouldn’t hear because you should have your butt outside! lol), a motorcycle speeding off on a nearby road. Anything you hear – name 5 of them.
Next, touch 3 different things. Make an effort to touch something random, such as bend over and touch the sidewalk, or take a step or two and touch a tree.
Next, name 2 things you can smell. Did you smell the stinky exhaust of the car that just drove past you? Or maybe you smell the neighbor firing up their BBQ. Or
Lastly, name 1 thing you currently taste. If you aren’t eating anything at the moment, name (out loud) the last thing that you tasted, and make a cons
5. Walk, and keep walking
…until the peak of your anxiety mellows out and the feeling of an anxiety/panic attack passes. Practice the 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique over and over again while you’re walking.
I’ll sometimes even hum my favorite song to myself while I’m walking.
6. Count backward starting from 1 MILLION
Yes, that’s 1,000,000. And do this out loud. It’s not that often that you count backward from this high of a number. So this requires your spiraling anxious brain to redirect onto something else – what big long number comes next!
What is something you do to curb your anxiety? Help us anxious ones out and comment below!
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