Having anxiety is one of the worst feelings in the world. There's a sense of foreboding and impending doom, lack of motivation and focus, and—above all else—a really uncomfortable physical sensation that just doesn't seem to go away. If you live with anxiety, then you know how bad it gets: constant tension headaches, nausea, muscle pain, insomnia …
The good news? As much as anxiety can be overwhelming, it's also an incredibly treatable condition. More people are seeking out professional help for their anxiety every day. And there are tons of ways to treat anxiety on your own at home—you don't have to rely solely on prescription medication or visit a therapist every week (although both are great in combination with home treatment).
That's why we've put together this list of techniques for how to relax your mind and body from anxiety. Pick and choose which ones work for you, or try them all! And remember: just because one of these methods doesn't work the first time doesn't mean it won't work—sometimes it takes a few tries before something really sinks in. So give yourself some time to practice. Once you know what works best for you, anxious moments will become much more manageable.
#1 - Relax Mindfully
Relaxing is an important part of relieving stress, whether that comes from anxiety or another cause. Meditation has long been recognized as a fantastic way to calm down, slow down l, breathe deeply...and even let go of stress.
#2 - Listen to Music
When it comes to music therapy, everyone seems to prefer different kinds—but there's no denying that listening to something can soothe your nerves, help you focus on less-stressful thoughts, and generally provide you with an outlet for emotions besides anxiety. Try out guided meditations, classical music, or anything that really relaxes you—and see if it works for you!
#3 - Make Self-Care a Priority
Self-care is incredibly important when it comes to relieving anxiety. After all, who has the energy to deal with stress and tension after putting themselves last on their priority list? Practicing self-care isn't selfish—it's mandatory. Take time every day to take care of yourself by eating well , exercising regularly, drinking lots of water, etc. And don't forget the small stuff: watch your favorite show, read your favorite book, or treat yourself to some fancy bubble bath. All these things can help you feel better both mentally and physically.
#4. Go out with some friends to get together and have fun, somewhere other than home.
Find one or two friends you can meet up with regularly so you can enjoy each other's company without worrying about work life. Try doing activities like playing sports, joining a local club to meet new people while enjoying common interests (artistic pursuits, cuisine, outdoor activities), etc. Being around good-natured company helps alleviate anxiety - it becomes uncomfortable if you're alone in your anxious state after time passes for an extended period of time, but if surrounded by other positive individuals having fun then there is nothing to worry about.
#5. Freshen up your room and living space with bright new decorative pieces every so often.
Use a fresh set of sheets on your bed, putting a few of your favorite new items around that you feel good being surrounded by while sleeping - maybe use some scented candles or cologne, light incense sticks to freshen up the air in the room with a pleasant scent. Even if it's just pictures or paintings of places you've been or things you like on the walls, put them up again to make the space look nice and more alive. Doing this can help inspire positive self-thoughts while looking at these little reminders - remember wherever you go for inspiration is right inside yourself. It's helpful if you have a room just for yourself that has only the things that mean anything to you.
#6. Go somewhere in nature if possible, and relax your body and mind there.
If it isn't too cold outside, leave your city for a day or so and go out into nature - find a spot near water or in the woods to sit down on soft grass under the shade of big trees with light shining through from above. Being around greenery can help expand your consciousness when absorbing positive energy from natural environments while listening to sounds from all around you - also remember to take some time away from electronics while out in nature (or anywhere else), turn off your cell phone and chat with friends inside online instead. This is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health and well-being, so try it as much as possible.
#7. Write in a journal about what you like about yourself or about things making you happy right now or in the past, whether it be family/friends/memories or even just objects that are meaningful to you.
#8. Find something in your life you aren't proud of, no matter how small, and try to fix it if possible now.
This may be the way you're approaching things with family members, for example - rather than sitting down sharing emotions with them about why you feel upset or what they did wrong for this to happen, ask them what's going on in their lives instead. If everyone is listening without interruption while one another speaks then less animosity will be felt everywhere throughout the conversation, opening up a dialogue of understanding through patience and peacefulness.
Be open with people who mean something to you but don't let them bully or guilt-trip you into feeling bad about yourself to accept their indifference or poor treatment. It may be a small thing, but people who love you will listen and know better than anyone what it is that's bothering you - your family and friends can help solve problems rather than letting them fester inside of your mind by keeping silent.
#9. When feeling anxious or upset about something serious, immediately write down how you feel about the situation rather than thinking negative thoughts all day long.
This will allow you to put these emotions down on paper (or your computer) and think less frequently about it until eventually forgetting there was ever anything getting to you in the first place - remembering again only when reporting this information to someone else as needed (if ever). Even if it doesn't seem like a big deal at the time, it could be a great relief for your mind to take a break from everything and feel as stress-free as possible even if only briefly.
#10. Try not to think negative thoughts about yourself or other people, because these things will manifest in reality through your thoughts becoming "reality" all around you - draw what you want instead, but if drawing isn't something you're good at then start with coloring first.
Think of going outside again after watching television for hours on end all day long, this can help refresh your body and mind while getting some fresh air into your lungs. Put on clothes that you find comfortable anytime of day or night and leave the house without letting anyone tell you otherwise.
We don't need to feel pressured into acting like someone else just because they say so - why not try doing things that you truly enjoy for once? You may be surprised at how good it feels when your mind isn't concentrating on the negative aspects of life, and how brief it can be in doing so. Take one day after another, envisioning positive outcomes each day without dwelling on what might go wrong or who could possibly let you down tomorrow or next week.
#11. If you're having difficulty sleeping at night for any reason, put yourself to sleep at least an hour before bedtime by watching relaxing videos online (for example YouTube montages of nature sounds like falling rain or chirping birds). Draw doodles until you forget about any worries or stress-related issues in your life for a few hours - it might be tough at first, but after doing this for a while there will come a time when you feel so much better and able to fall asleep easily with hardly any effort.
#12. If you're feeling upset/nervous/anxious in your seat during class, talk to the teacher privately afterwards and tell them how helpful the lesson was even though you didn't understand it completely yet. They'll remember that next semester (or later on next year) if they see how hard you worked even though they may not have noticed right away.
You could also try asking questions around the classroom to help yourself out with understanding what is happening in class, and try to understand the material better than you did before in order to retain more information in your long-term memory. Asking questions not only allows you to acquire needed knowledge but also makes everyone feel appreciated and valued by you asking for help when needed - everybody likes that.
#13. Try reverse-psychology on yourself. Take a few minutes (and even sit/lay down) before buying something expensive such as clothing or an electronic gadget, knowing it is the money you worked hard for after all and shouldn't be wasted on things we don't need.
If this doesn't work, save up the cash until enough has accumulated and buy what you want right away (before thinking about it anymore). It might be difficult at first but with practice you can learn to buy things you truly want without hesitation - the benefits of getting something nice now will last longer than any small rush of pleasure from buying a lot of expensive stuff all at once.
#14. Talk to other people about what's bothering you and listen carefully for their responses - they'll be surprised if it's genuine honesty and not just them trying to make sure that everything is alright or that there isn't anything wrong (nothing bad). Don't expect every answer to come to you right away; sometimes we need time before we understand where we should go next, either by floating around aimlessly or doing nothing at all. If this happens, seek out another person who can offer sound advice as soon as you can.
#15. If you're feeling stuck in life, take a long walk around your neighborhood/city/area and try to see where there are places that need improvement (for example, run-down neighborhoods). Take pictures of these areas so you remember what changed over time once the progress has been made - wouldn't it feel great to be able to look at old photos and reminisce on how proud you were back then? This is also where taking care of yourself comes into play; if we don't have our health by ourselves, we won't be able to do anything.