reduce anxiety

Suppose you're suffering from anxiety, whether it's because of a life situation, medical condition or even just stress. In that case, several things can be done to help reduce anxiety and improve your quality of life.

1. Practice deep breathing exercises

When we become stressed, our bodies naturally enter into the flight-or-fight response. As part of this process, our breathing becomes shallower and quicker as we take rapid breaths to supply more oxygen to our blood and muscles (in preparation for 'fighting' whatever is causing us stress). This type of breathing also causes our chest muscles to contract, which may lead to feelings of tightness – something many people who suffer from an anxiety disorder report experiencing – and reduced blood flow, which contributes to feelings of light-headedness. Deep breathing is a simple yet effective way to help counteract these symptoms and give you that calming feeling we all crave. Still, the most popular involve counting slowly to yourself as you inhale, holding your breath for a few seconds before exhaling through your mouth (noting how long you held your breath). Repeat this breathing between eight to 10 times, twice daily if possible, leading to an overall better quality of life.

2. Reduce caffeine intake

It may seem like common sense advice, but it's surprising just how beneficial cutting out caffeine can be when it comes to reducing anxiety levels on both a short-term and long-term basis! Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it can help combat tiredness (we all know the feeling of needing that boost first thing in the morning). However, on top of this, caffeine can give you an initial rush followed by an increased sense of anxiety once your body begins to 'come down from the stimulating effects. This situation may also lead to foul moods or even panic attacks. If you're suffering from anxiety and need that boost first thing, why not opt for something like green tea instead?

3. Drink plenty of water

This is another straightforward yet effective way to ensure any impurities within our bodies are flushed out – leaving us feeling more relaxed overall. Toxins that remain within our bodies increase stress levels and reduce our immune systems, leading to various health issues over time.

4. Do what you desire

It's all too easy to fall into a pattern where we feel like we don't have time for those activities that gave us pleasure or relaxation. Think back on what gives you that sense of calm and enjoyment, then make sure you set aside at least an hour each day (if possible) where you're not going to be distracted by anything else other than those activities! This could be anything from reading a book right through to going for a walk in the local park – whatever it is, make sure you make yourself do it every day because chances are, your anxiety levels will thank you for it!

5. Exercise regularly

Although doing nothing but lying in bed sometimes may feel like a great way to relax, there are other things you can do to help reduce feelings of anxiety over time. Exercise is well-known for its positive impact on our emotional and physical health – whether that's through lowering feelings of stress or anxiety or even if we're looking to improve our overall fitness levels. There are many different exercises, so why not try something new? It could be anything from taking up swimming if you live near water (as this is low impact and easy on the joints) right through to weight lifting at your local gym. Whatever appeals to you, ensure you make time in your day for it.

6. Try to limit worrying

Believe it or not, worry is one of the primary causes of anxiety! We feel so much pressure when it comes to predicting the future, but in most cases, there's no need to stress about anything, let alone your health or wellbeing (even if you do have a reason for concern). Make time every day to sit back and think through all the things that are causing you stress – then schedule in some time later in the week where you can discuss what you've come up with someone close who may be able to offer their perspective on these situations. This way, you're releasing your worries rather than bottling them up inside, where they'll only lead to negative emotions like anxiety!

7. Cut down on the amount of sugar you consume

Most people know that too much sugar can be bad for your health; however, it's also worth noting that even having 'just a little bit on the odd occasion won't do any harm – but regularly consuming large amounts of sugar can lead to anxiety issues. This is because having too much insulin in our body produces cortisol (a stress hormone), which increases adrenaline levels and thus worsens anxiety symptoms. Try gradually reducing your intake over time so you don't notice the difference too much and see how you feel once these changes have been made to your diet.

8. Explore nature

We often forget just how beneficial being out in the open air can be and not just for our physical health. Spending time in natural surroundings can help us reconnect with ourselves and increase our sense of happiness over time. This is because when we're out among the trees and plants, negative thoughts don't have such a space to take hold in our minds! Just taking 20 minutes each day to sit somewhere quiet isn't too much to ask; why not try it today?

9. Practice mindfulness

If you haven't heard about mindfulness by now, there's certainly no better time than the present to take advantage of it! Mindfulness is all about living in the here and now and focusing on everything we do during any given day (instead of allowing ourselves to be distracted by random thoughts that may cause anxiety). For example, instead of dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about what might happen tomorrow, mindfulness encourages us to be fully present in the moment, which helps ground us and bring some calm back into our lives. There are many ways to practice mindfulness (from meditation right through to certain forms of exercise), so why not try something new every day?

10. Keep a journal

Keeping a journal is yet another way of helping us keep things in perspective; often, when we're feeling anxious, it's because we've allowed worry to take over the positive aspects of the situation at hand, for instance, by thinking negatively about an upcoming event like an exam or interview. However, make time each day to write down all the good bits first (playing on positive emotions like excitement and hope). This will help you feel more optimistic about the upcoming situation (and thus lessen any anxiety).

11. Get some sunshine

Sunshine on our skin naturally makes us happier, so why not get outside every day for 20 minutes if you can? Even if you can't go out for a walk in the park or the woods (due to time constraints), taking time to sit somewhere with your eyes closed is just as rewarding; try focusing on breathing slowly and deeply while clearing your head of all thoughts. You'll be surprisingly refreshed for no other reason than re-energizing yourself with fresh air!

12. Don't beat yourself up over minor mistakes

We're only human, so it's only natural that we're bound to make mistakes (and thus feel anxious about them) at some point or another. However, this doesn't mean that you should beat yourself up over every little slip-up; instead, think of it as an opportunity to learn from the mistake and do things differently so you'll be able to avoid certain pitfalls next time. This will help prevent anxiety about making future mistakes, ultimately lowering your overall stress levels, so there is nothing to lose!

13. Write down your worries

One major cause of anxiety is when our thoughts are racing around inside our heads, causing us to worry, to the extent that often it's difficult for us to keep up with everything going on in there! A great way to combat this is by writing down all your worries and concerns on a piece of paper or in a notepad. Once you've written them all down, tear the sheet up and throw it away; this simple act has an almost meditative quality about it since putting pen to paper allows us to take control of our thoughts without feeling overwhelmed.

14. Don't push yourself too hard

Sometimes it can be tempting to take on more than we can handle to prove ourselves or deal with feelings of guilt, but this invariably leads to increased feelings of anxiety when things don't go according to plan. If you're feeling overwhelmed by one task, then try delegating some of the work out instead (or if that's not possible, then break the task down into manageable chunks), so you don't feel under pressure and have more time to tackle what's thrown at you.

15. Love yourself!

When we're feeling anxious, it can almost feel like we hate ourselves, but in reality, it's only because we're putting too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. If things go wrong, try taking a step back from the situation instead of letting it get the better of you; this will help prevent anxiety from building up inside your head and give you some time to re-evaluate where things went wrong and how they could've been done differently next time around.

16. Identify your stressors

It can be straightforward to let our thoughts run riot because we don't always know where our stress is coming from. That's why it's a good idea to identify what you're worrying about and then figure out if it warrants that level of anxiety instead of just letting your thoughts take control.

17. Remember that some things aren't life-or-death

When we're feeling anxious, worrying about the future can be all-consuming at times; however, try not to forget that many of these fears are exaggerated or unfounded since there are plenty of things in life that will feel far worse than anything we could ever imagine! Thus, remembering this when you start panicking will help prevent anxiety from getting the better of you.

18. Do something for someone else

Helping others can be a great way to boost your happiness and wellbeing, but it can also help prevent anxiety by helping you take your mind off of your problems; this is because we only have so much mental space and focus on other people's needs (rather than our own) can make us feel like we've done something positive with our life which in turn helps lift depression and anxiety.

19. Challenge unhelpful thoughts

When we're feeling anxious, our minds often come up with lots of unhelpful thoughts such as 'I might die or 'this pain is never going to go away, but when we challenge these thoughts, they ultimately fade out since they don't tend to hold any accurate weight in reality. Try identifying unhelpful thoughts when they arise and then write them down, analyzing whether or not they're valid. If it turns out that they're irrational, you can tell yourself the truth instead of feeling better.

20. Make time for fun

All work and no play tends to make Jack a dull boy, so try not to let everyday life dominate your life at all times; taking some time out for yourself each day is essential, especially when you've been feeling anxious, so schedule in something fun! Whether it's going outside for a run or watching Netflix with friends, making sure you do something purely for enjoyment once in a while will help prevent anxiety.