7 Easy Things You Can Do Every Day to Reduce Anxiety
By Elliot Caleira
Anxiety is the number one mental health concern, with studies showing that approximately 40 million people in the U.S. having some symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety can be the emotional kind, which may include feelings of apprehension and worry, but it can also become physically uncomfortable, with symptoms like shortness of breath and a pounding heart. Luckily, anxiety is extremely treatable. The trick is to create a lifestyle that makes keeping anxiety and stress away a top priority. The following tips are easy to incorporate into your life with just a little bit of motivation and dedication.
Meditation tops many lists of how to reduce anxiety for one reason: It works. Scientific studies have shown that a person's brain stem neurons fire together during meditation, which leads to an instant calming effect. Meditating for just a few minutes does amazing things for the body and mind. There are a ton of meditation videos, apps, and books online to get you started.
- Do Yoga
Part of what makes yoga popular as an anxiety-reducer is that like meditation, yoga involves controlled breathing. You can find yoga videos online that run anywhere from 3 minutes to an hour or more, depending on your level of fitness and previous experience.
Research shows that having a messy workspace or living space can lead to excessive stress. Dedicating some time every day to tidying your space makes all the difference because your body and mind will instantly feel calmer once the physical chaos is removed. Make sure you use eco-friendly or all-natural products like green carpet cleaning solutions or vinegar for cleaning windows to ensure no unnecessary toxins are introduced to your environment.
- Be Mindful
Mindfulness is a process in which a person brings their attention to the immediate present. Oftentimes, anxiety is due to repetitious thoughts of the past or extreme dread and nervousness about the future. Practicing mindfulness helps train the brain to stay in the now. Being purposely mindful for a few minutes each day helps alleviate everyday anxiety. Go outside and breathe the fresh air. Hold a rock in your hand and concentrate on the feel of the rock. Feel your feet's connection with the ground. Remind yourself that you are here right now and that you are safe.
- Practice Gratitude
Being grateful has been linked to having less stress, less anxiety, more happiness, and even a healthier heart. An easy way to practice gratitude is to start or end every day by either writing down or verbalizing the things you're grateful for. Whether it's a roof over your head, friends and family, or just being alive, there's always something that every one of us can be grateful for.
Getting enough sleep at night is a crucial part of a good mental health care routine, and yet it's often hard for those with anxiety to sleep well at night. You can download insomnia apps on your phone, read a book, or listen to meditative music to get to sleep and there are also many natural remedies on the web so you can make sure you get a good 8 hours at night.
- Eat Well
Caffeine is one of the worst things to add to the mix when you're dealing with anxiety, and it's extra important to not drink anything with caffeine a few hours before bedtime. Chamomile and green tea have calming properties, as do other natural remedies for anxiety like foods with omega-3 fatty acids.
Many types of anxiety can be easily managed with just a few changes to your daily routine. Making time to ease anxious thought will do wonders for your whole well-being. Take a deep breath, make a list of things to do to help your anxiety, and remember to see a doctor if you need more help.
Elliot Caleira is a freelance writer in the self-mastery and health and wellness spaces. When he's not writing you'll find him cooking or teaching Portuguese classes. Twitter: @elliotcaleira.