Anxiety can be crippling. The thing about anxiety is that trying to get rid of anxiety can create an entirely new layer of anxiety in itself. It can feel hopeless sometimes when you’re trying to alleviate anxious feelings and all it seems to do is make you feel worse.
We wanted to offer the 10 best ways to help get rid of anxiety. These are proven ways, some may be common sense or things you’ve tried, but it’s always good to reinforce the proven and good ideas, instead of the unorthodox and unproven ones.
10 Ways to Get Rid of Anxiety
This is not a checklist, where you need to feel like you need to be doing everything here to completely rid yourself of anxiety. The reality is you may only do one thing on this entire list that puts you on a trajectory to a better headspace. Choose the suggestion that resonates the most with you or that you’ve never tried. Finally, remember that it takes time and patience. Anxiety sufferers may go on a long time before finding true relief.
1. Seek professional help
Above anything else, and before we recommend anything else, it’s very important that you consider this option first, especially if it has come to the point where your anxiety is interfering with the rest of your daily life.
If your anxiety is affecting your work, relationships, and daily happiness, seek professional help.
A doctor, therapist or professional will guide you in the right direction and provide you the support you need. There are directories that can help you find a professional if you’re struggling to find one near you.
2. Do something relaxing
What relaxes you? Even if it’s something you feel like is an indulgence, don’t feel guilty turning to it if helps with your anxiety. Of course, it’s never worth sacrificing your health when there’s healthier ways to relax.
For some people it’s listening to music, for others it’s playing video games, and for others it’s doing something artistic such as painting.
What are the things you do, that when you are doing them, you’re in the zone or you feel completely calm? For a lot of people, it’s a hobby or past-time.
Of course, there’s other ways to relax such as taking a vacation or getting a massage. Consider trying a sensory deprivation tank (float tank) as well. It’s a good way to get away from your thoughts and to a serene and relaxing place.
Whatever you decide, find your relaxing place and visit it often.
3. Go for a walk or exercise
This might be advice that you’ve been told or heard before, and that’s because this is tried and true advice. It works. Go for a walk or exercise.
This is easier said than done. If your anxiety is caused by leaving the home, being alone, or being in public, going for a walk or the gym to get rid of anxiety isn’t the answer.
But getting your blood flowing is. Even if you can’t go for a walk or to the gym, see if you can do a few jumping jacks or pushups in your home. Anything to get you moving and doing something physically active that’s not only good for your body but good for your brain.
If you need a little help (or company) try a guided mindful walking meditation. Not only will it get you some exercise, it’ll ensure you’re not allowing your mind to stray too far to worries and anxieties. Instead, mindfulness grounds you in the moment and allows you to truly enjoy your walk and gain some peace of mind.
4. Learn from the Stoics
The ancient Greek and Romain Stoics understood the concept of the dichotomy of control very well.
Everything in the world is either in your control or not in your control.
Things you can control are how you feel or how you respond to things that happen to you. You can’t control what happens to you or what happens around you.
Understanding this is important because it allows you to focus your energy and thoughts on what you can control, and relieve yourself of the anxiety that comes with worrying about things that you can’t control.
5. Spend more time with friends and family
If you find yourself alone or isolated, work to spend more time with your friends and family.
This isn’t about venting to them or sharing your feelings of anxiety with them. While you can certainly do that, this isn’t the point.
Being around people that you care about and trust, and that care about you, is just good for the brain. It can help improve your mood, make you happier, and let go of your anxiety more.
There’s comfort in spending time with people who make you laugh, make you feel good, and appreciate what you have and who you know.
Find the people that make you feel this way and try to spend more time with them. We’re social animals that evolved to work in tribes. Find your tribe and spend more time with them, it’s good for your mental health.
6. Create a routine
All the tips suggested so far are useless unless you actually incorporate them into your daily routine and take action.
The easiest way to do this is to literally schedule the time into your calendar to work on getting rid of your anxiety. We’re not kidding.
Become this militant and disciplined about it.
If it’s affecting you enough, you should put more energy into working to get rid of it.
Schedule in your daily relaxation time. Add time in your calendar for your mental health. Plan time for your friends and family. Set reminders to go for walks or exercise.
Keep yourself accountable. Set reminders on your phone. Block out time on your calendar. Do what you need to do to actually follow-through with the advice you’ve been consuming on getting rid of your anxiety.
Start by looking at key times in your day that you can structure. Look at establishing a morning routine and night time routine. Anxiety is a force that can take over your life and leave you feeling helpless. However, adding structure to your life gives you back a semblance of control, giving you confidence.
7. Take action
Remember the earlier tip about Stoics and the dichotomy of control.
If you actually can do something about the thing you’re worrying about, or it’s in your control, do it!
Don’t delay action. Don’t put it off for tomorrow. The longer you delay, the longer you will suffer with feelings of anxiety.
You’ll thank us for it later. Get it over with and lift that weight of anxiety from your shoulders. Do the one thing you need to do to push your life in the right direction. Do it despite how difficult it may be. Do it despite the pain you may feel. Pain and suffering create growth and develop character. Don’t allow your mind to convince you it’s not possible. Cultivate a growth mindset.
8. Let things go and accept
At the same time, if you can’t actually do something about the thing you’re worried about, or it’s not in your control, learn to let go of things and/or accept them as they are.
Sometimes the most liberating feelings come from simply accepting.
We suffer much more in our heads than in reality.
Are things actually as bad as you perceive them? Could things be worse? How would someone else respond in your situation and in your shoes? How would someone you admire or respect respond in your situation?
Work to come to terms and peace with your anxiety.
9. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a fantastic tool for people who suffer from anxiety. Not only can mindfulness help to get rid of anxiety, it can make you a happier and less reactive person.
We offer many different types of mindfulness meditation. Here’s one we recommend trying, specifically designed for anxiety.
10. Read more books
Books are a way to find mentors and get into the minds of great thinkers. When it feels like our minds are our worst enemies, and are only feeding us negative thoughts, reading someone else’s thoughts can help put as at ease and get rid of anxiety completely.
To start, pick up a few books in philosophy, self-help, self-improvement, and biographies. If you need specific suggestions, check out our list of meditation books.
Whatever you choose, add it to your routine and ensure you keep yourself accountable, especially if you’re not a big reader.
11. Get off the internet for a while
When we said “read more books” in the last suggestion, we specifically called out books because just saying “read more” could be interpreted as “read more news” or “read more social media posts”. Most people spend far too much time online consuming headline after headline of what always seems like the end of the world.
Media companies have fine tuned their business in a way that it’s now optimized to get an emotional reaction from people. This emotional reaction, whether it be outrage or fear, creates more anxiety. The truth is, this is junk information. It’s not healthy and it’s filled with empty calories. You may feel like you’re being informed, because you’re actually just being served a slice of reality that wins the most attention. Take a social media detox and reclaim your sanity.
Now it’s up to you. The most difficult thing about anxiety is that it can wear you out and prevent you from even taking a small step in the right direction. That’s where your focus needs to be right now, to push yourself in the right direction and begin to overcome and defeat this anxiety.