Anxiety is dark, cold, scary, and confusing.
More than that, it can be debilitating.
Anxiety has the potential to affect your work, your relationships, your happiness, and even your health.
If you feel trapped in your own skin, hopeless about the future, or just want some techniques to reduce stress – this post is for you.
I have lived with anxiety for over a decade. From the crippling lows of panic attacks to dealing with general anxiety on a daily basis, you name it, I’ve faced it.
I understand how horrible constant stress can make your life and I want to help you reduce it as best as possible. And with as few drugs as possible – if any.
This post is a list of every tactic I have ever used to defend myself against stress and anxiety. Some of these tactics might have saved my life. To this day, I still find myself applying many of these on a daily basis.
You will find many on the spot solutions as well as a few lifestyle approaches for long-term relief. When used regularly, and in combination, they begin to have a compounding effect.
If you don’t finish reading this post all in one sitting, give it a bookmark and come back whenever you need a reminder to chill out.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This is not a substitute for medical advice.
Let’s Dive Into The Anxiety Toolkit And Discuss How You Can Overcome Anxiety Starting Right Now:
1. Live Life Moment By Moment
Anxiety loves to take us out of the present moment because in the present moment it doesn’t have much power.
We can relate anxiety to a rock.
On dry ground, a rock can be immensely heavy. But, when submerged in water, the majority of that weight disappears as if magic.
When we shift our focus to the present, anxiety becomes minimal in comparison to when we let it thrive in the events of the future. It is as if we submerged it in water.
It still exists but it exists without power – without its original weight.
Contain your mind within the present hour as best as possible. With practice, your anxiety will begin to feel weightless.
(If this is difficult for you try exercises 5, 8, 11, 18, or 39)
'Happy the man, and happy he alone, He, who can call today his own: He who, secure within, can say: Tomorrow, do thy worst, for I have lived today' - Horace
2. Use Hindsight To Mathematically Disprove Your Concerns
How much of your life have you spent worrying about disastrous events? How many times did those concerns come to be?
Now let’s turn this into a real number we can use.
Create a simple two-column chart. On one side put any worry you can remember. On the other side give a check mark if it came to be and an X if it did not.
Now tally up the total of check marks and divide it by the total worries.
Odds are that the percentage is extremely low. Keep that percentage in your mind the next time you think a worry is worth your energy.
To go one step further, ask yourself how many of those check marks actually mattered in the long run. Do they still affect you years down the road? That percentage likely drops much further leaving you with an inconsequential number.
3. Reduce Caffeine And Nicotine To Balance The Nervous System
Caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants have an agitating effect on the central nervous system.
When consumed in excess, your body responds with anxiety.
If you have been consuming stimulants for awhile now, you may not even be aware of how they are affecting you. Often times they do not produce an immediate onset of anxiety. But, over time, the effect becomes exaggerated.
Some people are extremely sensitive to caffeine. When my anxiety was at its peak, even a small cup of coffee could put me over the limit.
Reducing caffeine has made a big difference in reducing my anxiety levels. I have seen similar results in friends and family struggling with anxiety.
Take a look at how frequently you consume stimulants. Be honest with yourself and question if you are pushing your body beyond what it wants to do.
If you are not sure if caffeine or other stimulants are the sources of your anxiety, try going a week without them. Should nothing improve, reintroduce it and see how your body reacts.
If you rely on stimulants for energy, try naturally energizing herbs like shilajit. Shilajit nourishes the body and provides clean energy. It comes with the added benefit of improved anxiety levels. Two birds with one stone.
4. Watch A Philosophy Video To Challenge Your Thinking
Anxiety is like an untrained dog. Given the opportunity, the anxious brain will run around ruining everything.
An obvious solution is to train your brain.
Start learning about anxiety and then challenge it – put it on a leash and see if you can resist its pull.
On the days your mind gets off the leash, watch a philosophy video that puts your worries into context.
These videos can help you identify which problems you are magnifying. Anything left over is worth addressing.
Here’s a personal favorite:
If you enjoy this video, check out Tragedy and Hope on Youtube.
5. Lift Some Heavy Weight To Channel Your Energy
Many people, myself included, find therapeutic release in exercise.
Exercise releases endorphins in the brain that trigger a feel-good response. But, exercise goes beyond that.
While exercising with intent and intensity, you find focus. The outside world vanishes – even if only temporarily.
I could use my workouts as a form of meditation because I concentrate so much on the muscle. My mind is inside my bicep as I do my curls. I have my mind inside the pectoral muscles when I do my bench press. You have no chance of thinking or concentrating on anything else at that time. - Arnold Schwarzenegger (Tools of Titans).
When assembling your anxiety toolkit, don’t forget exercise.
6. Use Phenibut To Crush Anxiety
Classifying phenibut as “natural” is debatable.
It is a very powerful supplement and it shouldn’t be consumed more than a few times per week.
Phenibut is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and elevate GABA levels in the brain. Most supplements claiming to raise GABA levels never make it through this barrier. Therefore, they never exhibit noticeable effects.
Phenibut crushes social anxiety making it easier to talk to people. It is similar to alcohol in this fashion without the drunken sloppiness and regret-filled hangovers.
It also temporarily decreases general anxiety to a highly pleasurable level.
Phenibut has a long half-life and the positive effects often stay with you for over 24 hours.
Treat phenibut with respect and it can work wonders. Read my full article here.
7. Test The Worst Case Scenario And Discover If It Is Actually Important
He who suffers before it is necessary, suffers more than is necessary -Seneca
Our mind loves to blow things out of proportion. With anxiety, the worst possible scenario is often the first thing we tend to think about.
Learning to break things down to what the worst case actually is will be invaluable for you.
Let’s take a deadline at work for example.
You have a job (you think) you love. At this job, you have a deadline to complete a project.
Every time you make a mistake or get stuck it fills you with anxiety. As a result, you lose sleep at night, become irritable, and even fatigued.
As important as this project might seem, what would happen if you did not complete it on time? Try breaking it down as far as possible.
Would your boss be angry? Could you potentially lose your job? What would be the consequences if you did lose your job? If you lost your job tomorrow what would you do about it? Would it matter in a year? Is there food on your table, yes or no?
When I was a welder/fabricator I constantly faced deadlines. They drove me crazy. Anytime I faced a setback I became flustered and further set myself back with easily avoidable mistakes.
In the back of my mind, I was always met with the worst case of being fired. I lost countless hours of sleep and woke up feeling stressed out and exhausted every single day.
Want to know a secret? One day I did get laid off.
It wasn’t so bad. I bought a one-way ticket to Mexico, sipped exotic drinks on a beach every day, and made countless friends. When work called me back saying they had work again, I had already realized I was spending my life doing something that wasn’t for me.
Often times the worst case never happens. Sometimes it does but it isn’t nearly as bad as we feared.
So sit back and relax – Don’t be trapped thinking you could never recover from a “worst-case” scenario. When one door closes, another always opens.
8. 5,4,3,2,1 And… We’re Back To Reality
Next time you feel yourself worrying try this exercise:
- Identify one thing you can taste. What is on your palette? Maybe a need for some gum arises.
- What two things can you smell right now? One smell may be particularly dominant so you might have to search for your second smell.
- Find three things you can touch. Right now I am touching my keyboard, a book, and a cellphone (which shouldn’t be here for productivity purposes). What can you touch? Interrogate the texture.
- Pay close attention and try to identify four different sounds. This can be anything. From the sound of birds to ringing in your ears.
- Look around you and make note of five things you can see. Preferably five things you like or dislike. The stronger the emotion these five things create – the more it will draw you back into the present.
This exercise utilizes all your senses to bring you back to the present. Remember that anxiety always wants us out of the present because there it has more power. (#1)
P.S. I am not sure where I originally heard this tactic. If you know the source let me know in the comments below so I can give credit.
9. Balance Your Hormones To Attack Anxiety At Its Roots
Imbalances in certain hormones can cause your mental health to plummet. If your hormones are out of whack, the anxiety toolkit will only work so well.
- estrogen* (men can have estrogen imbalances too)
There may be others but these are fundamental to your well-being.
I am a firm believer that most people being prescribed anti-depressants and anxiety medications have unaddressed hormonal imbalances. Aim to get to the root cause of the problem instead of masking it with band-aids.
Don’t waste another day living in the dark. Find out where your hormones are at and then get to work fixing any imbalances. Your quality of life will skyrocket.
P.S. Hormonal imbalances caused me years of grief. Expect an in-depth blog post about how I fixed them soon.
10. Get In Nature To Unwind
Nature has a wonderful harmonizing effect.
A mix of blue skies, the smell of fresh air, an escape from the hustle of city life is food for the soul.
We all know we feel better outside yet we often limit ourselves to the confines of the office or living room. We need to get out more.
Staying in a room full of stale oxygen long enough can give just about anybody a feeling of anxiety.
Take a moment to step outside. Find some peace and quiet and take a moment to take in the crisp stillness that nature provides.
The birds and other critters roaming about have no worries so why should you?
11. Get Lost In Creating Or Enjoying Art
Nothing soothes the soul like creating or enjoying art. Nothing can take you out of a moment so quickly.
Art isn’t restricted to paintings. My definition of art is simple – something created by humans:
Remember the last time you were enjoying a phenomenal movie? How were your stress levels?
Remember the last time you were reading an amazing book? I bet you felt better.
Do you engage in any art?
12. Differentiate Between Good And Bad For Clarity
The following is a study of the tao te ching from my friend Rory Mckay from Unbrokenself.com
This passage is deep. Reread it until the message is clear and seared into your mind.
For more Eastern Philosophy check out Rory’s blog Unbrokenself.com
13. Use Reishi Mushroom To Calm Your Nervous System
Reishi is one of the most revered herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It has been used for 1000’s of years for a multitude of ailments.
Its powerful effects have earned it some eye-catching names:
- “The herb of spiritual potency”
- “The great protector”
Reishi has calming effects on the central nervous system. When taken over time it can promote a sense of peace that can rival most medications.
Reishi also improves the immune system, liver health, allergies, and protects against cancer.
This herb exhibits cumulative effects and increases in potency the longer you take it. It isn’t likely to decrease your anxiety within the hour. But, when taken over time, it can provide a sense of balance and peace.
Besides Shilajit, reishi mushroom is the only herb I take consistently for holistic healing. (Affiliate link)
For more information:
Video by Nyishar (awesome youtube channel for natural medicines).
14. Walk For Peace, Health, And Introspection
Walking is a meditational act. Thoughts seem to line up and iron themselves out during a walk.
If you are anxious, walk it out. If you are down, walk it out.
Walking always provides a clear perspective. It also helps to have a moment to yourself if you live in a busy household.
Since walking doesn’t require a large attention span, you can combine it with other methods listed here. (eg. Stargazing #38, listening to music #43, being in nature #10).
15. Laugh At Yourself For Stress Relief
Even though you can’t help it, you already know that half of the things that you worry about are ridiculous.
Rather than beat yourself up for being a worry wart, laugh about it.
In my experience, half of anxiety comes from being too serious about everything.
Learning to laugh things off is one of the first steps towards happiness. 90% of the things you stress about won’t matter
when you are 90 90 minutes from now.
16. Essential Oils For A Soothing Environment
Essential oils are another new phenomenon that claim to be able to reduce anxiety levels. While the oils themselves likely don’t do much, they effectively create a relaxing environment.
If you feel at peace while in the forest you can enjoy those same smells in the comfort of your home.
If the smell of ocean air makes you melt with relaxation, simply push a button and enjoy.
The smell of the ocean is certainly more relaxing than the smell of dusty couch and stale air.
Check out Rocky Mountain Oils if you don’t already use essential oils. (Affiliate link)
17. Get Educated About Anxiety Or Whatever You Are Anxious About
Did you know that anxiety is often a result of hormonal or chemical imbalances within your body? That’s right, you aren’t crazy.
Imbalances in GABA, Serotonin, Dopamine, Testosterone, Estrogen, Thyroid hormone, and more can all dramatically distort your stress response.
Unfortunately, the school system deems the functions of a cell more important than the functions of our brain. If we ever want to overcome anxiety in the long term, it is crucial we self-educate ourselves about what is going on.
It is also important that we smash some of the stigmas we may be holding on to.
Did you know that over 10% of Americans struggle with anxiety as well? That’s almost 40 million people. That’s right – you’re not alone.
Don’t sit back idly as anxiety and stress run you down.
Remember, knowledge is power.
18. Write Your Thoughts Down For Clarity And Reflection
Many times a thought will bounce around inside your head forever.
If this is you, become consistent with writing your thoughts down.
Here is an exercise I find helpful:
- Keep a notepad and pen handy (or use your phone)
- Write down the thing that is bouncing around in your mind
- Write down three reasons why it bothers you
- Ask yourself if there is anything you can do about it
- If there is – get on it
- If not – get on with life and throw out the paper (and the problem)
Do this exercise as many times as necessary but no less than twice per day.
I also highly recommend keeping a journal. Record what works for you and what doesn’t. Over time, you will piece together the formula for your well-being. A journal is a staple tool in the anxiety toolkit.
19. Stay Busy To Keep The Mind From Wandering
When unoccupied your mind is free to cause you as much trouble as it likes. But, it is quite difficult to worry when you are busy doing something that is engaging.
Get busy finding something to keep you busy! Start a project, read a book, go for a run, hang out with a friend.
Put your mind on a leash and tell it where you want it to go. Don’t let this process happen in reverse.
It is utterly impossible for any human mind, no matter how brilliant, to think of more than one thing at any given time. - Dale Carnegie
20. Have Something To Look Forward To And Something To Look Back On For A Mental Retreat
For me, traveling has been a God-send.
When life throws me a glum day, I always have good memories to fall back on. I also daydream of trips I have yet to take and how amazing they are sure to be.
Everyone should travel as much as they can. If that means taking a two-day trip out of town at the end of every month, do it.
There is more quality to life when you have something to look forward to, even if it is small. The memories help cushion a rough day and the future excitement pulls us out of our funks.
Life is nothing but an accumulation of experiences. Make sure you regularly create some good ones.
21. Live On The Solution Side Of The Problem
Far too often we see a problem and then focus on that same problem.
Screw the problem. Start searching for a solution.
Believe it or not, every problem comes with a solution. Where there is night there is always day. Where there is hunger there is food.
Your situation may be unique but it isn’t beyond fixing – or at least minimizing.
Rather than focus on the problem that is causing you to worry, stay busy working on the solution.
As Jim Rohn once said – “You can’t change destinations overnight but you can change direction.”
22. Use ASMR To Unwind
ASMR has become a phenomenon recently for reducing stress.
ASMR is the term used for the brain’s response to pleasant sounds. Many people post videos on Youtube intended to promote relaxation via soothing sounds.
I have been watching ASMR videos for quite some time now. They are an effective sleep aid when my mind won’t turn off.
I have to admit, some of the videos are weird. It isn’t something I run around telling all my friends that I watch.
Even so, many people, including myself, find them relaxing.
If you can’t sleep or need a distraction, give ASMR a go. You might find out that you like it as well.
Here’s a video that has put me to sleep on multiple restless nights:
23. Always Be Prepared And Arrive With No Concern
We naturally worry about the future – what is yet to come.
Unfortunately, we don’t follow up on those worries. We worry as the sun goes down and then worry some more when the sun comes up. Through the entire solar cycle, we didn’t do a damn thing to prepare for what we were worried about.
Learn today to prepare for the future, not live in it.
If you fear a deadline then start doing the best you can today. As the deadline approaches make sure you are ahead of schedule.
If you worry about where your life will be one year from now, pave your path!
Do what you can today so that when tomorrow comes you step up to the plate with confidence and knock it out of the park.
24. Say A Prayer To Understand Your Concern Better
Prayer is beneficial to everyone regardless of religious beliefs.
If you are anxious, pray to God, the Universe, or anything else that may supersede your understanding.
Prayer has multiple benefits. It clarifies what is bothering you similar to writing it down. It also serves as quiet time with your mind like meditation.
Sometimes we need to figure out what is bothering us and ask for some help.
25. Cold Showers For Overcoming The Comfort Zone And Controlled Breathing
Cold showers are a natural medicine and the health benefits are too numerous to list.
In the world of anxiety, they do three things quite remarkably.
First, they help control your breathing.
Physical anxiety often manifests itself as irregular and uncontrolled breathing. By blasting your body with near-freezing water, our bodies naturally remember how to breathe properly.
Second, they snap us back to the present.
Try thinking about your job or a future romantic date with arctic fluids pounding you. Instead, you will likely focus on your breathing.
Third, they help us overcome our comfort zone.
A great deal of anxiety manifests from things that are just outside of our comfort zone. If it isn’t easy or comfortable, we may allow fear and anxiety to cripple us into an inactive ball of worry.
Cold showers are a free way for us to leave the comfort zone daily.
If you begin to take on more things that make you uncomfortable, you can begin to use your anxiety as a compass. The things that scare you are sometimes the best things for us.
26. Avoid The News To Avoid A False, Scary, Reality
You aren’t going to get attacked by terrorists or destroyed by a recession anytime soon.
Watching the news will not save you from the danger it constantly portrays.
The world is a lot safer than the media would have you believe so don’t waste your time watching it. It isn’t doing you a single favor.
Go read a book, lift some weights, or hang out with friends and family. Fill your time with more productive things and the world around you will change.
27. Read Non-Fiction To Grow Wiser And Approach Situations With A Clearer Head
A good part of life’s concerns and difficulties come from a lack of knowledge.
By reading regularly we can learn to expand our minds. This changes the way we approach difficulties and even puts our worries into perspective.
Take this anxiety toolkit for example. If I have done my job correctly, you now have 57 methods to help you approach worry.
If even 10 of these are new to you then you are much more equipped than you were this morning. Imagine what a year of daily learning could do.
As you begin to learn and grow wiser, the world becomes a little less scary. When a problem does arise, you will have tricks and tactics to overcome it with relative ease.
Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom - James Allen
28. Use Binaural Beats To Calm Brainwaves
Audios are a great way to tune your brain to a calmer frequency.
A stressed or agitated brain is in a state of beta waves. Binaural beats help the brain shift from beta waves to a more calming Alpha wave state. This alpha wave state reduces anxiety while simultaneously improving focus.
Like most things, you can find a large selection of free audio’s on Youtube. Give the audio below a listen and see how you feel in a few short minutes.
29. Stay Sober For A Well Balanced And Happy Brain
The brain thrives with balanced neurotransmitters. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol can ruin the brains natural balance.
By stimulating certain neurotransmitters to higher levels, you experience the happy and peaceful effects that substances temporarily provide. However, when you remove the substance, your brains natural balance drops below baseline.
When your neurotransmitters are in a deficit, it is open season for anxiety.
If you get drunk or high on a regular basis, you should be aware of withdrawal. Removing a substance will temporarily cause more anxiety than before.
It takes time for your brain to balance. Do not be fooled into thinking that your substance of choice helps your anxiety. It likely causes it in the first place. Your substance hooks you in by creating a problem and then being the temporary solution.
30. Use Affirmations To Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts
Think of affirmations as mental pushups. These pushups slowly build your optimism and peace muscles.
By repeating positive affirmations to yourself, your subconscious will start to see them as real.
Tell yourself that you are calm and at peace 100 times a day and you don’t leave much room to think otherwise.
It is like pouring liquid into a cup. If the cup is full of nasty fluid – stop pouring in nasty fluid. Instead, pour good fluid in. With enough positive input, the good fluid will begin to flush out the nasty fluid leaving you with a nice clean cup.
Don’t neglect this essential tool from the anxiety toolkit.
'As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man of weak thoughts can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking.' - James Allen
31. Stop Fighting Your Anxiety And It Will Get Bored
You can’t force anything in life. Trying to do so only drains your energy and further increases anxiety.
Imagine your anxiety is a little child. If you laugh at the child’s jokes, it entertains the child and the child comes back for more. Feed the child when it cries and it knows how to get its way.
However, if you refuse to give in to the child’s cries for attention, it quiets down soon enough.
Anxiety is the same – a child in nature. It requires massive amounts of your energy to fuel it. Accepting it and paying it no energy will starve your anxiety and reduce it to nothing.
Rather than fight the anxiety, acknowledge it and allow it to stay if it needs to do so. Soon enough, it will move on trying to find someone who will entertain it.
With practice, this technique will work wonders. I promise.
32. Sensory Deprivation Tank To Work Through Mental Luggage and Face Your Mind Head On
These tanks provide a space that is absolutely free of outside distractions. They provide an environment that is perfect for enhanced meditation.
When in a Sensory Deprivation Tank, you are forced to be alone with your thoughts.
Many good things will come forward and so will some unpleasant things. In my experience, it is usually a constantly changing wave of transcendental peace mixed with anxiety.
The peace experienced can be unbelievable and always transfers into the rest of the week. Any anxiousness experienced in the tank is often left inside of it.
The result? A clear mind with a refined focus on what is important.
If you make an effort to use deprivation tanks one or two times per month, you will see your mind find more stability. Guaranteed.
33. Read Spiritual Text To Find Your Center And Stability
Finding a spiritual life was the foundation of my recovery from anxiety. Unlike past efforts, spirituality offered deep-rooted comfort and peace.
Boiling spirituality down to one sentence, I would describe it as: Finding peace and contentment without requiring external validation or possessions.
I find my peace in Christianity. It has done more for my life than I can begin to explain.
Buddhism and Taoism are also incredible for ones mental toughness. These “religions” provide many of the same comforts without a Godhead.
All three belief systems go against the grain of popular culture. Some striking similarities addressing worry across all three include:
- Accepting whatever comes into life with gratitude and peace.
- Understanding that worry is futile and cannot add a moment to life. The present moment is the only thing we can control.
- Good and bad are inextricably connected. Where there is bad, you can always find good – when one door closes another opens.
- Understanding that possessions do not equal happiness. Happiness comes from within. You can lose your house or your fortune but, if you have a spiritual life, you can always bounce back.
If you find yourself lost in worry – pick up some ancient wisdom. It stood the test of time for a reason.
34. Read Fiction To Lose Yourself In A Different World
A great movie or fiction book can take us out of our current discomfort and place us in a world of awe.
If you find yourself ruminating on a certain worry, trying placing your mind somewhere else. Focus on something more positive.
Escapism can be healthy but try not to become addicted to fake, more comfortable, worlds.
35. Hit A Punching Bag To Release Negative Energy
Anxiety is often unchanneled negative energy. Like lifting weights, hitting a punching bag is an excellent way to direct it.
Hitting a punching bag is one time I allow that negative energy to come forward.
As the bag absorbs your blows, let it absorb your anxiety as well.
Before you know it, you will be deep into a good workout. Sweat will replace anxiety and your body and brain will feel a little bit more balanced.
P.S. This is often my default when nothing else seems to work. It always provides a temporary escape and immediately smoothes out unwanted emotions.
36. Remove Time And Reduce Half Of Your Worry Instantly
Time is an illusion. The day you truly comprehend this everything changes.
If you are naturally anxious I am willing to bet you give everything a timeline. Then you spend the entire time rushing to finish it.
I speak from experience. When I sit down to do something, I want to complete it without wasting a minute. I want to move on to the next thing before I start the first thing.
This creates so much internal struggle it often paralyzes me from starting either.
Maybe you are like me. If you are, tear down every clock on your wall. Start a process and remove any timeline. Doing this will ironically double the amount of things you get done.
There is also the worry of having to get through a period of time. For example: you dread the eight-hour workday ahead of you.
Here is a trick I insist you practice:
Next time you dread doing something for any amount of time, put that time into perspective. Think back to a year ago when you thought the same thing.
If you were driving to work thinking eight hours would never end – calculate how many hours have passed in that year since thinking that. It likely feels like yesterday, however, almost 9000 hours have passed. That’s a lot more than eight and you’ve survived – right?
I bring this perspective to everything I do and I can confidently say it changed my life and it will do the same for you.
37. Do Something Charitable
Charitable acts have a magically soothing effect. The people we help out are worse off than we are. Sometimes a simple reminder is all we need.
If you are in an anxious rut, get out of the house and go give someone else a hand. Take the focus off of yourself for the time being.
38. Star Gaze For Perspective
There is something about staring into near infinity that makes our problems feel obsolete.
When I am anxious I like to look into space and imagine all of the possibilities.
What kind of alien planets are waiting to be explored? Is there actually some cosmic war raging between space traveling swordsmen in a galaxy far far away?
Our problems often feel huge. Space acts as a reminder of how infinitely unimportant everything really is.
39. Practice Meditation For Internal Balance
Meditation is likely the most popular method to overcome anxiety. Ironically, learning how to meditate can be overwhelming.
There seem to be 101 ways to meditate – which one is best?
To me, meditation can be summed up in one word: acceptance.
Sit down and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. Accept them as they come and try to resist nothing. Try to identify your calm center amidst the storm and allow the storm to go on raging until it’s done.
If meditating for long periods of time for you is difficult – start with smaller time periods. Five minutes is more than enough to experience slight benefits.
Rather than meditating for 15 minutes in one sitting, you could try meditating for three-five minute periods.
40. Declutter For Clearer Thinking
If you’ve ever come home to a messy house then you understand that it does not help your stress levels. It pulls you away from your calm center.
Wherever you can, clean up. Have a clean room, work space, car, living room, etc. Even keep your anxiety toolkit tidy (keep what works and eliminate what doesn’t).
Clear living spaces will lead to a clear mind. Additionally, keeping things clean will provide a small sense of control.
41. Triangle Breathing For Preventing “Tight Chest” and Rapid Heartbeat
This is one of the simplest breathing exercises you can do, yet, it is highly effective.
To perform this exercise:
- Breathe in for four seconds
- Hold your breath for four seconds
- Breathe out for four seconds
Within three minutes of performing this exercise, you will experience a definite calming effect.
42. Focus Intently On Anxiety And Watch It Wither
In contrast to #31 where we starved anxiety of attention, this time we are going to focus on it intently.
Next time you are anxious, interrogate the feeling. Why is it uncomfortable, what does it feel like, is it really as bothersome as you first thought?
Get to know your anxiety. Invite it to a cup of tea.
Ask questions about your anxiety that makes your anxiety uncomfortable. It won’t want to stay around for long.
This trick is a bit more advanced. Once mastered, you can taunt anxiety.
43. Listen To Music For Uplifting Vibes
Music crosses barriers and touches something deep inside of us. Few things carry the emotional weight that a good song does.
Try to stick to uplifting music – songs that tune your mind to a positive frequency.
Sad music makes you sad but happy music can bring you back to a peaceful state of mind.
Here is a song that always cheers me up:
44. Focus On One Thing At A Time To Keep Your Center
If you have more than 3 priorities you don't have any. - Darren Hardy
Sometimes anything and everything feels important.
However, unless you’ve been MIA for the last three months, there probably isn’t too many things with real importance.
I recommend starting your day by identifying three things that are most important. If your days lack a schedule, include these three things as soon as possible.
(Hint: Your priorities are probably the things that give you the most anxiety. So get them over with!)
Get these complete and let everything else be a bonus.
This is one of the secrets of successful people. It destroys feelings of overwhelm and allows productivity to conquer fear.
If you spend your days focused on your priorities, it won’t just be your anxiety that begins to improve. Everything will.
45. Take An Epsom Salt Bath For Magnesium And Muscular Relaxation
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for the human body. It is involved in over 300 enzymatic functions.
Magnesium also plays a critical role in balancing your serotonin levels. Serotonin, when out of whack, can cause a host of issues – most notably depression and anxiety.
You can take magnesium in pill form for ease but Epsom salt baths are also excellent. With an Epsom salt bath, magnesium is absorbed transdermally and has pronounced relaxation effects.
If you currently have a magnesium deficiency, supplementing with it can provide dramatic anxiety relief.
(Sensory Deprivation Tanks are also loaded with Epsom Salts. #32 )
46. Change Jobs For Long-Term Peace And Well Being
Getting up every day to go to a job you hate can be soul crushing. Unfortunately, many get trapped in this cycle due to obligations and bills.
If you hate your job and you have the option to get out – do it today. Don’t waste another day doing something that ruins your mental health if you don’t have to.
Many people live beyond their means and pay for it with a job they hate. They feel trapped by their big bills and hate life despite their nice things.
If this is you, minimize.
Ask yourself if your job is worth the big house, fancy car, etc.
Downsize and see if you can’t find a job you love in the next few months.
Quitting welding was the most life-changing thing I’ve ever done. The thought of that job makes my stomach flip two years later. (Not to bash welding, it just wasn’t for me).
Ever since then I’ve learned to use my anxiety as a guiding system. When I feel good I’m doing the right thing. If I’m anxious and depressed every morning – my inner guiding system is trying to tell me something.
If you have that same inner reaction, maybe you aren’t doing the right thing with your life?
47. Supplement With L-Theanine To Balance Neurotransmitters
L-Theanine has gained a lot of popularity as an anti-anxiety supplement in recent years.
This supplement operates in a similar fashion as binaural beats (#28). It is believed to calm brain waves from a beta state to an alpha state, therefore, reducing anxiety.
There is also some evidence suggesting that L-Theanine can improve levels GABA and Dopamine.
It isn’t the miracle supplement some websites make it out to be. However, it may provide that 10% difference that helps get the ball rolling for you.
48. Mega Dose Fish Oil For Increased Serotonin Level
Fish Oils are both cheap and effective and actually hold some potential value for the anxiety sufferer.
Their anxiety reducing potential comes from their ability to raise serotonin levels. This also results in improved mood.
I once experimented with fish oils for their anti-inflammatory properties due to an injury. During this experiment, I consumed roughly 10 grams per day. This is double the standard dose but for the majority of this experiment I remember wondering why my mood was so great.
Now, during abnormally stressful times, I always reintroduce a bit of fish oil and seem to experience mild improvements.
Results may vary.
49. Get Out Of Debt To Take A Weight Off Of Your Shoulder
Money causes a good majority of the strife we face in our life. Correction: a lack of money causes problems.
If you are in debt, money will always be on your mind. If losing 20 dollars to you is a big problem then you need to get your finances in order.
Do whatever it takes to achieve financial security and your sense of security will increase dramatically.
You won’t fear opening your mail. If your car breaks down it won’t ruin your month.
After being in debt for four years, getting out was like being released from prison. After building a nest egg over the following few months, I noticed my anxiety was down. I no longer had to strategically plan how I was going to pay my bills.
Living paycheque to paycheque is a sure way to hand over your anxiety to money. Take back control. Whatever it takes.
Going to work is also more enjoyable when you know you get to keep a percentage of your paycheque.
50. Wish Someone Well To Remove The Focus From Yourself
Anxiety and stress often result when we place an excess of importance on ourselves.
What if my day goes poorly? What if I don’t get that promotion, get fired, get hurt, etc?
Taking a few minutes out of your day to think of someone else can do wonders for getting out of this state of mind.
Next time you find yourself anxious or stressed, remove the focus from yourself. Take a moment to wish someone well.
You could wish for your mother, your partner, a friend, a co-worker, or even someone you dislike. Wish for whoever but for once stop thinking about you…for a minute or two at least.
51. Act Instead Of Wait To End Unwanted Obligations
Everyone has experienced the anxiety that comes with procrastination.
We don’t want to do something because it seems daunting, so we put it off. Putting it off doesn’t make it any more complete and then we spend the rest of the day with it on the back our mind.
If there is something that you know you need to do, get it out of the way – ASAP
Don’t carry the stress of a task around all day if you can do it immediately. Get it done and get on with your day.
52. Scream Into A Pillow To Release Excess Energy
I’ve had days where my anxiety has been so bad that I didn’t want to leave my room. Many of the suggestions here were out of reach.
In these times, when nothing else works, let it all out. Belt your best battle cry. Make anxiety feel more scared than you do.
I guarantee this will make an immediate impact and decrease your anxiety by at least 10%. While 10% may not seem like much, it adds up fast when combined with other tricks on this list.
If you have neighbors, finding a pillow to nerf your war cry might prevent a well-intentioned 911 call.
53. No Rush – No Stop For Balance
These days everyone is either busy rushing around or busy doing nothing at all.
Instead, I recommend a no rush – no stop approach to life. (Taken from Tools of Titans).
What is a no rush – no stop approach?
Simple. We set goals to better our life and we take one or two steps toward achieving them every day.
We never rush to complete our goals but we never “stop” in our pursuit of accomplishing them.
Being an A-type personality I always feel stressed to get everything done. I like to think I can get the month’s to-do list done in a day and it often causes me unmerited anxiety.
Instead, I am learning to put one foot forward every day and I recommend you do the same. If one step is all you can handle, you can rest easy knowing you are still making progress towards your dreams.
54. Supplement With 5-htp For Improving Serotonin
5-htp is the precursor to serotonin. It’s effectiveness is debated but I have had some amazing results from using it for brief periods of time.
I began supplementing with 5htp during a stressful period in my life. Admittedly, I was using it to improve my mood not my anxiety.
After taking a small dose (50-100mg) for five days straight, I remember coming to the sudden realization that I hadn’t worried about anything in days. It wasn’t obvious but as someone who worried all the time, feeling “normal” was a contrast.
My anxiety has improved tenfold since those days. However, whenever stress creeps into my life, I reintroduce 5htp. I always notice improvements within days.
I have tried multiple brands and the only one to provide these effects was Natrol.
Most supplements are useless but 5-htp is one that might actually improve your quality of life.
55. Sauna For Peace, Quiet, And Detoxification
A sauna can act similar to a sensory deprivation tank. They provide a distraction-free environment to get your thoughts in order.
The heat is also a powerful detoxifier which helps sweat out toxins that may be causing your anxiety.
Saunas stack perfectly with exercise, stretching, and cold showers to create an anxiety busting routine.
Exercise -> Stretch in Sauna -> Cold Shower = Instant fix to 1001 problems.
I frequently leave the sauna feeling like I hit a refresh button.
56. Post Your Problem On A Forum For Support
If you suffer from anxiety and feel embarrassed about it, a forum is a great place to seek help. You can vent your issues and find support without anybody knowing who you are.
If you do find support, make sure to return the favor.
57. Play Sports To Get Involved In Something External
For someone with an overly active mind, meditation is difficult. Instead, you can use sports as a form of active meditation.
Engaging in any competition is a sure way to tune out your problems. The thrill of a win and the endorphins released from exercise are an awesome combination for wellness.
The good company required to play a sport will also help your mind take a mini-vacation.
58. Come Back And Read This List To Recenter Your Mind
Next time your anxiety is bogging you down, put in place as many of the tactics as possible. Build your own anxiety toolkit.
If you begin to forget the tactics you found helpful, return and give this post another read. I guarantee you will feel confident in your ability to overcome anxiety.
If you want lasting results, you need to repeat the things that work best for you over and over again.
When you begin to get a hold on your stress levels, leave me a comment and let me know what helped you the most.
Do you know someone who this post could benefit? If so, please share it with them! It helps you, me, and them grow stronger together.
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