Top 10 Simple Tools to Reduce Anxiety

Everyone has moments, which create stress and/or anxiety. Not all the time is it a bad thing. Some stress and anxiety is actually a good thing believe it or not.  It’s what pushes you to grow and push through things.  It gives you strength to face your fears and learn something new.  Unfortunately, too much stress can lead to anxiety that disrupts your life, relationships and stops you dead in your tracks.  But, it doesn’t have to stay that way.  There are things that you can do everyday to reduce anxiety and get moving again. Here are my Top 10 Simple Tips to Reduce Anxiety and start living again.

1. Do something. Doing something new or confronting a fear by taking the First Step is much more positive than doing nothing. Doing nothing keeps you stuck, frozen like a dear in headlights. Not a great feeling.  Grab some of that courage that’s within you (I know it’s there) and move. Courage is not the absence of fear, but taking action despite it!

2. Keep yourself busy throughout the day. Anxiety makes you want to lay down, stay stuck in your thoughts and keeps you from getting anything done.  Instead of focusing on the “what if’s” first thing in the morning, get out of bed and start moving.  Taking action by “doing” almost anything, will help you work through your anxiety. Sometimes it's doing the dishes or working in your garden. Other times it's reading or meditating. Just sitting around and thinking about your worries won't make them go away.

3. Use your Faith. When you are anxious, a great way to get out of it is to activate your faith.  Sometimes you have to “Faith it until you make it.” Start praying good things into your life. Thank God for the breakthrough, blessing, relief that is coming. Believing that things will get better is sometimes all it takes to make it better. It also helps to never underestimate the power of positive prayer and God!  Guess what? If it can cure cancer it can also reduce your anxiety.

Bottom of Form

4. Take the focus off of you. Find someone who needs you and lend him or her a helping hand. It will almost always take your mind off your problems and fears. Helping others is a way of taking action, directing your energy into something positive and giving yourself a different perspective.  Helping someone else aides your own healing. 

5. Talk it out. Sitting alone with your thoughts is like being caught in a hamster wheel.  You only see your own view and it’s hard to get off. Getting together with your family and friends, and talking about what you are feeling can be helpful. If you can't talk to someone you know, talk to a professional therapist who can help you.  

6. Work it out. Anxiety builds up in the body as tension and restlessness.  Getting regular exercise can reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, which will also improve your mental state.  Take a walk, go for a run, hit the pool for a swim, take a class at the gym… Do what works best for you at the moment and don't worry about breaking your normal routine, that change may actually help reduce your anxiety too!

7. Get an Attitude of Gratitude… Start a Gratitude journal; Every night before bed, write down 3 things you are grateful for.  Nothing is too big or too small to go on your list.  It could be a sunrise, the view while you drive, that friend or family member who always checks in on you....  Do this every night for a least two weeks, it works and it's easy. Become aware of all the good that surrounds you. You won’t believe how focusing on your blessings can wipe away your worries. 

8. Turn off the TV, Take a Social Media vacation every now and then! The world will continue to revolve even if you're not watching it on Fox News, or scanning your Timeline, or checking every Tweet.  Let your mind take a break and stop worrying about every world crisis or celebrity catastrophe. If the news upsets you…  Limit yourself to one hour a day of and don't watch anything that may upset you before you go to bed.

9.  Just Breathe. Simple right? It’s automatic and you do it all day, but when you are anxious, without realizing it you can be holding your breath.  So, take a minute and just breathe deeply.  Slowly.  Noticing the sound and sensation of your breath. Do that 5 times. Doesn’t that feel good! When we’re too anxious the oxygen flow to our brain is decreased, disrupting our concentration and making us forgetful.  Taking a moment to breathe can reset that, help you focus and relax you all at the same time.    

10. Visualize the Positive.  Unfortunately, our mind can go to pretty dark and extreme places without much help or effort.  It’s our brain’s way of protecting us by predicting possible danger. Anxiety is stress and fear gone wild, so we have to counter that instinct by imagining our desired outcome. When we do that, picture the positive, we allow ourselves to accept a reality where things can go our way.  That releases anxiety and allows joy to enter the picture. And who doesn’t like joy? I’d much rather be motivated by joy than worry. Wouldn’t you?

So, take some time and try at least one Simple Tip daily.  You’d be amazed at how making simple changes can significantly reduce your anxiety over time.  You will start to feel more relaxed, better able to handle daily tasks and free to live your life again.  Looking for help with managing your anxiety? Call today for your free 15 minute consultation, or send me an email.  

Nyshia Johnson

HD Christian Family Counseling, 14420 Civic Drive, Victorville, CA, 92392