A couple of months into the new year, we’d just moved to a new city where we knew no one, and things were… challenging (to say the least). I went to an event that came on a day when I really needed to get out of my own head and around other people.
I’m sure you know those weeks (or even months) where the light at the end of the tunnel is so far around the corner that it seems as though the darkness may never lift.
Over the last several months, my anxiety has been through the roof and showing up in ways I’ve never recognized it before, which then leads to more anxious feelings. If you struggle with anxiety, then you know all about that vicious cycle.
While at the event, I was I was able to switch my perspective a little bit and contemplate what steps I could take to deal with this anxiety head-on, but in a manageable way.
None of these things are necessarily groundbreaking or “new”.
It’s just that sometimes when we’re so deep in our anxiety, it’s hard to come to these seemingly simple tools because the fear and panic takes over, blinding us from anything sensible.
Side note: I do want to point out that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking medicine for anxiety or depression if that’s the right path for you.
7 Ways to Naturally Ease Your Anxiety
1) create your own safety net
Whether you’ve just moved to a new place, got a new job, have a new relationship, etc., or are feeling stuck in old patterns, it’s important to create some comfort for yourself amongst the change (or lack of change).
Whenever times are challenging, having this safety net will help lessen the blow when you’re feeling panicky or unable to calm down.
Ask yourself: What do I need to feel safe? Get as specific as you can so that when times are challenging, you know exactly what you need to get through it, without even thinking twice about it.
2) choose your music wisely
This may sound a little funny at first, but the music you’re listening to could be contributing to your anxiety. If it has a loud bass and an upbeat tempo, you may find your heartbeat rapidly increasing with the music.
When you're feeling anxious, put on music that either instantly puts you in a good mood, or is calming, soothing, and has the ability to put you at ease.
Instrumental music or any feel good list is great for this, and something you can have on in the background to help you relax without being distracting.
3) focus less on others
Between Instagram, Podcasts, Youtube, TV shows, the news, etc., it can be hard to remember how to think for ourselves, how WE personally feel, and to connect with the people around us.
Those platforms have a time and a place, but it can be incredibly easy to get sucked into a podcast telling you to do or feel x, y, and z. Or an Instagram caption (or photo) making you question your life and yourself or having/not having certain feelings, talents, career, relationships, etc., which can lead to serious anxiety.
Spending a large amount of your energy on these things typically doesn’t lead to a positive outcome.
By focusing less on what others are doing and more time on hobbies such as writing, reading a book, playing a board game, etc., will help you start to realize how much more relaxed and at ease you feel.
Slowly over time, you’ll be less anxious because you’ll be doing things from a place of joy instead of outside pressure.
4) get outside
Even if it’s just a walk around the block. Sometimes it can take courage (especially when you have anxiety) and motivation to just get outside in the first place, but you’ll feel so much better once you’ve committed to going.
Between the movement of your body and the fresh air, you’ll soon forget how you were feeling. It’s important that you leave your phone at home though. You don’t want anything to contribute to the problem.
When you start walking, make sure you are looking at the details around you. The houses, the buildings, the trees, how the sidewalk feels under your feet. If your anxiety doesn’t improve after a block? Walk another block until the anxious feelings have dissipated.
Challenge yourself to get outside daily, even if it’s just for a few minutes each time.
5) declutter your space
I’m sure you’ve both heard the saying and felt the effects of it: “a cluttered space is a cluttered mind”. When you’re working in a messy space, it’s hard to have a clear mind.
Clutter leads to overwhelming feelings which can then lead to anxiety. Instead of trying to declutter everything at once, start small. Choose one to two things (3 at the max) to focus on per day.
Don’t move onto step two on your list until you’ve completely finished step one. Not only will less clutter leave you feeling more calm, but it’ll help distract your mind away from your anxiety for awhile. Sometimes a healthy distraction is the most helpful tactic to break you out of the cycle.
6) choose real food over processed
It’s so easy to reach for a bag of chips and hummus and call it lunch. It’s crunchy, it’s creamy, it’s salty, plus there’s protein in the hummus, so it’ll stick with you, right? Well, those things are somewhat true, but nothing compares to a balanced meal from whole food ingredients.
Many processed foods have things like additives that may be causing you to feel anxious without you even knowing about their effects on you.
A blood sugar or hormonal imbalance can also cause you to feel anxious. Both of these imbalances are greatly affected by food choices.
There’s no need to be rigid about it, just be mindful. Choose to make your meals when you have the option.
7) listen to a deep relaxation Recording
This is something that has helped me so much, especially when i’ve been in the middle of a panic or anxiety attack and have felt like no matter what I did nothing was helping.
This deep relaxation hypnotherapy recording is completely free and such a great tool to use when you feel your anxiety coming on. Regardless if you know what caused it to begin with.
I find that doing this several times throughout the week, whether it’s in the morning, at night, or sometimes both, helps to break the anxious cycle when we feel like no matter what we do, we can’t seem to calm down or have a hard time catching our breath.
bonus: interrupt the pattern
Lately, when I’ve found myself taking quick, short breaths and feel my shoulders tensing up and my chest tightening, I interrupt what is happening by asking myself a simple question:
“Why am I feeling this way?”
By asking this seemingly simple question, I’m able to interrupt this habitual pattern I’ve created, and think huh, why am I feeling this way. Is it valid? Is there an actual reason? Or, is it mindless worrying about things out of my control?
I’ve found that once I ask this question and think about it for a second, the tightness, the shortness of breath… it all dissipates pretty quickly.