The question of how to calm anxiety down became one of the biggest of 2020. In fact the overarching events of the difficult year cast an umbrella of uncertainty over people from all walks of life. Nobody went untouched in some way, shape or form and anxiety became a collective experience shared by many.
Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness usually marked by an emotion of worry or fear. According to the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) average mental distress levels were 8.1% higher in April 2020 ‘than it was between 2017 and 2019.’
I am no stranger to anxiety myself, however, this didn’t stop global events from heightening my experience of the dreaded emotion. Here’s how I manage anxiety when it rears its ugly head.
Slow Down to Calm Down
Take the time to be still and take stock of how you are feeling. Try to pinpoint which exact thoughts are making you feel this way. You won’t be able to find a solution if you can’t pinpoint the problem in the first place.
Put Pen to Paper to Calm Anxiety
Next write your worries down. Writing bullet points or even creating a spider diagram can act as a tool used to assist you in how to calm anxiety down. Making the issues tangible can allow you to address them and make plans to tackle them in a more practical manner in due course. Writing can be a very therapeutic exercise. Check out my previous article on Writing Project Ideas for Adults.
Do Some Exercise
Doing exercise increases your endorphins which are the hormones responsible for our happiness. For a more in-depth explanation on how endorphins actually work, check out this article.
This is where getting your body moving comes in. Why not calm your anxiety with a quick burst of physical activity? You can go for a brisk walk locally, schedule in a gym session, go for a run or do a YouTube Workout video such as this one, completely free of charge.
Listen to Some Music
Wondering how to calm anxiety down instantly? Use music as therapy and pop on your favourite tune. Music is powerful and it can connect us to both positive and negative emotions. Identify the music that uplifts you. Why not create a Spotify playlist to help calm your anxiety.
You might want to find music which:
Makes you feel optimistic
Makes you feel nostalgic
Makes you feel completely relaxed
Overall, you want to craft music lists that take your mind off of your anxiety and lift your mood to a different state, even if temporarily.
You might want to craft several lists that have you feeling different positive emotions.
Just Do It!
Sometimes, we feel anxious because something is looming over us. We know we have a chore or task to do that might fill us with dread. There’s a document to sign or a phone call to make. When we leave these tasks undone, it leaves more room for our minds to wonder and for us to maximise the actual significance of them over our lives. I am very guilty of doing this. I can procrastinate over things until I start to worry about them. When this happens, I will usually make a quick list, either mentally or on paper and commit to ticking off those boxes at some point, even if it takes me weeks or months.
None of the suggestions I have given provide permanent solutions on how to calm your anxiety down, however, through personal experience, I can attest that they can definitely help. What methods do you use to calm your anxiety?
Let me know in the comments below!
One of the issues with anxiety is unresolved sources of stress. For example, being told that someone needs to talk to you, like your manager at work, but not knowing why, creates a space for anxiety. A way to deal with that is to ask what the conversation will be about before it happens so you can remove that ambiguity
That’s definitely an anxiety inducing scenario. I mostly remember this from school as well when a teacher asks to speak to you and
you automatically think, ‘what have I done?’ People can create anxiety triggers in others without even realising they are doing so.
I wish those statistics were more surprising but I know so many people who had a tough year mentally last year. Finding some sort of release is so helpful, whether that’s a creative form/ exercise/ just having a good rant. Having an outlet can make such a difference x
Excellent strategies! I try and write my anxiety down through journaling. You suggested a few I hadn’t thought of as well 🙂
These are such great ways to calm your anxiety down. Thanks so much for sharing!