7 simple ways to reduce anxiety on a day to day basis
One of the most common things I get asked is for tips and tools to deal with anxiety on a day to day basis. These are not long-term solutions as they will not help you explore your anxiety and work out what your triggers are, but they are short-term tools that may help when having a panic attack or when feeling particularly anxious. Not all methods work for everyone so it is best to try out a few things to find out what works best for you. It is also important to remember that many tips to help reduce anxiety will not offer an immediate fix. Often, you need to practice these tips and tricks over numerous weeks before you start to see a positive effect.
Seven top tips to reduce daily anxiety
1. Put your panic into a time frame
When feeling anxious or having a panic attack, one of the first things I would recommend is to remind yourself that it won’t last forever. Put your panic into a time-frame. Remember that you’ve felt this way before - the feeling went away and it will do so this time as well. By doing this, the anxiety often loses some of its power and you can relax a little more.
2. Distraction techniques
Distraction techniques can be very helpful when feeling anxious, whether it’s a cuddle with your pet or going to a friend’s house. Often when feeling anxious, the instinct is to want to be alone where the anxiety can grow. If you can push yourself to find a healthy distraction it can really be beneficial.
3. Talk to your anxiety
One tip I find to be one of the most useful, even though it might sound strange, is to talk to your anxiety. If a particularly anxious thought is popping into and consuming your mind, I like to acknowledge it and say “Ok, I hear you, but not today thank you”. Often ignoring your anxiety and trying to pretend it’s not there can make it grow and further consume your mind. By acknowledging that anxiety is there but denying it power, you may feel less anxious.
Meditation is a great aid if you’re feeling anxious, particularly if you struggle with your anxiety when sleeping. Meditation videos are readily available through a simple YouTube search, from guided meditations to calming and relaxing music. When sleeping it can be hard to switch the mind off, and meditation videos can be a healthy, calming distraction whilst guiding you into a more peaceful sleep.
5. Write your thoughts down
Another top tip that is useful if you have difficulty sleeping, especially if it’s caused by not being able to stop worries rushing through your head, is to write your thoughts down. The psychological effect of this is that the mind stops reminding you of the anxious thought. Once your thoughts are on a piece of paper the mind knows they’re stored somewhere else, so can begin to relax. So from to-do lists or random thoughts that you may never read again, writing what’s in your head down can be surprisingly useful in aiding a good night’s sleep.
6. Deep breathing exercises
Deep breathing techniques can be highly effective especially if having a panic attack.
The one I find the most effective is the four-seven-eight breathing exercise.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four
- Hold your breath for a count of seven
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle.
7. Talk about your anxiety with a friend
If you have a friend or family member that you feel comfortable with and trust, then talking about your anxiety can really diminish its effect on you. Often being able to say how you’re feeling out loud and share what’s making you feel anxious can take away some of the anxiety’s power. Sharing your thoughts with someone can often make the pressure of your anxiety feel less, as it feels like the anxiety is shared.
I hope this article will provide you with some tips on tools to help you if you are having a panic attack or are feeling anxious.
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About Rachel Smeaton
Hi, my name is Rachel and I am a counsellor and psychotherapist based in Wilmslow, Cheshire.
Counselling is an empowering process that can have a significant positive effect on your mental health and well-being.
I am trained in is person-centred counselling founded by Carl Rogers. This approach empowers you to discover solutions to issues in a supportive environment. As a counsellor … Read more
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