How to Stop Feeling Anxious: 9 Easy Tips

It’s normal to get nervous about an important career, relationship or a life-changing event. What is not normal if you’re feeling anxious for long periods of time.

Anxiety disorders can range from a generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), which is intensely worrying that you can’t control, to panic disorder which can cause sudden episodes of fear with symptoms ranging from pulsating heart, sweating, insomnia, poor concentration, trembling, fatigue or irritability… Public speaking, for example, can cause these symptoms.

For those with an anxiety disorder, it’s important to look into strategies that can help manage or reduce anxiety in the long term, which anxiety counselling, for example, can be of huge help to begin the road to recovery as if left untreated anxiety can lead to depression.

Lifestyle changes, such as eating a well-balanced diet, limiting alcohol and caffeine, and taking time for yourself can reduce stress and anxiety that everyone can benefit from.

When anxiety starts to take hold, take time out and try any of these 9 tips to relax your mind and help you regain control of your thoughts.

  1. Stay in your time zone
    Anxiety is a future-oriented state of mind. So instead of worrying about what’s going to happen, “pull yourself back to the present,” By pausing, breathing and paying attention to what’s happening to the “right now”, will enable you to review the situation, your thoughts and emotions… And while it can be uncomfortable remember the saying; “This Too Shall Pass”
  1. Fact-check your thoughts
    People with anxiety often fixate on worst-case scenarios. You need to flip this on its head and to combat these worries, think about how realistic they are.  For example rather than thinking my work presentation is going to bomb, acknowledge you’re nervous, but you’ve come prepared and try to accept an outcome of “something will go well, and some things may not.”By ‘flipping’ your emotions, your new mindset will create a pattern of rethinking your fears that will help train your brain to come up with a rational way to deal with your anxious thoughts.
  1. Control your breathing
    Many men and women who have poor breathing habits are often linked to server anxiety. Deep or controlled breathing helps you calm down. While there are various well-documented options on how to introduce breathing exercises to help with your daily activities. The key is not to stress on trying to remember, when something has triggered an anxiety attack, just focus on evenly inhaling and exhaling. This will help slow down and re-focus your mind.
  1. Listen to music
    Every little thing matters, listening to familiar music, music that you enjoy or music that matches your mood can have a powerful effect on your anxiety by promoting relaxation during difficult times.
  1. Do something!
    Stand up, take a walk or run, punch pillows, whatever you can physically do – do it. Any physical action that interrupts your train of thought helps you regain a sense of control.
  1. Stand up straight
    “When we are anxious, our bodies go into protection mode and one physical thing we tend to do is to hunch over.” Hunching over restricts our breathing as this is where heart and lungs are located”. To counteract this natural reaction, pull your shoulders back, stand up or sit with your feet apart, and open your chest. This helps your body-brain start to sense that it’s back in control.
  1. Use positive self-talk
    Anxiety can produce a lot of negative feelings. Why not try and use “encouraging and positive proclamations”. For instance, replace; “I’m done with the way I’m feeling”. With “Even though I am feeling uncomfortable, I can do this by stopping to collect my thoughts, to refocus, and I will take slower and deeper breaths.”
  1. Talk to a friend or family member
    Call or text a friend or family member and run through your worries with them. Articulating your worries to someone else or even if you write them down, can help you “see the forest for the trees” and can actually put your worries into perspective.
  1. Laugh
    Hit YouTube, recall a funny moment you have experienced, whatever works just get a belly laugh happening. ‘Having a laugh’ strategy may be the easiest one for you to use. Laughing is a good prescription for an anxious mind. Research shows that humour could help lower anxiety as much as (or even more than) exercise can.

If your anxiety becomes overwhelming, try to recall my checklist of tips that can help regain control and get you through this difficult time

And please remember anxiety is highly treatable. Experienced caring anxiety psychologists can provide you with strategies, which can greatly improve your long-term outlook. If you’re able to partner with a psychologist and commit to the process, psychologists are highly effective at relieving your anxiety permanently.

Our team at Counselling in Melbourne will strive to break down barriers so we can identify the core issue and begin to utilise our approaches, treatments and therapies to begin the process of healing. Call us on 1300 967 734!

About the editor, Garry Thomson

Garry Thomson is a senior psychologist at Counselling in Melbourne, B. Arts (Hons), M. Arts (Clin Psych). Garry specialises in short-term Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), helping people overcome anxiety, reduce stress, and develop resilience in a timely manner.
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