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25 mini-habits that will help with your anxiety

POSTED: January 6, 2018 10:49 p.m.
McKenna Park/

These easy and simple things can help with overwhelming anxiety.

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Anxiety can feel like a large, ominous obstacle, but maybe these small and simple habits can help. When anxiety hits and you start feeling overwhelmed, try out some of these 25 anxiety-helpers:

1. Go for walks

Light exercise, fresh air and a change of environment can help you calm yourself down. Even a quick walk around the block can work wonders.

2. Use calming scents

From candles to lotion, calming scents are a simple way to fight anxiety. Try out scents like lavender, vanilla and chamomile while you focus on your breathing.

3. Tidy up

A clean environment can make an enormous difference in your mood. You probably don’t notice how clutter impacts your anxiety until after you’ve cleaned up.

4. Spend time with friends

Quality time with loved ones is (in my opinion) the very best anxiety-reducer. Those moments remind you that you’re loved and everything will turn out alright.

5. Talk it out

While you’re spending that time with friends or family, don’t be afraid to vent a little. Keeping everything bottled up doesn't help.

6. Write it down

If you don’t quite feel like talking, you can always write it down instead. Grab a pen and paper and write down the different things causing you to feel anxious. Having them on paper instead of in your head can be helpful.

7. Take a hot shower

Spend a little me-time in the calming hot water and with some yummy smelling shampoo.

8. Play with something furry

There’s a reason people with anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses can register their pups as service dogs. If you don’t have a kitty or puppy of your own, visit a friend who does or volunteer at an animal shelter.

9. Flip on a show that always makes you laugh

Sometimes you just need a good, deep laugh to help with your anxiety. So stream your favorite comedy, or, if you’re short on time, watch a funny YouTube clip.

10. Limit Facebook

Social media can be great, but there are also several aspects of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that can worsen anxiety. Limit your time on social media and see if it helps to make a difference.

11. Meditate

You don’t have to sit on the ground cross-legged while saying “oooooohhmmm” to get the great anxiety-reducing benefits of meditation. Just a few minutes a day can significantly reduce the problem. Take five minutes and try out this guided meditation:

12. Hit the gym

Exercise is good for you physically and mentally — several studies have linked exercise to bettering mental health.

13. Get to bed

Sleep deprivation can worsen those anxious feelings (or even cause them). So, set a bedtime and prioritize it.

14. Listen to sleep meditation

If you have trouble getting to sleep, as many people with anxiety do, try out some sleep meditation (like this one).

15. Engage in physical comfort

Whether it’s snuggling with your partner or hugging a friend, physical closeness is a great way to reduce anxiety.

16. Keep hydrated

There’s a powerful connection between hydration and anxiety. Side effects of dehydration have a big influence on mood, so do your part to drink enough water each day.

17. Stretch

Even simple, beginner stretches can have a big impact on reducing stress and producing calm.

18. Spend time in nature

Take a hike, ski, longboard, drive to the mountains, walk along the beach — anything to get yourself outdoors and out in the world.

19. Stop comparing

When you’re about to compare yourself to another who seems to have it “all together”, stop. In her book, "Yes, Please", Amy Poehler said it best — "That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. 'Good for her! Not for me.'"

20. Focus on your breathing

Focus on your breath. Be mindful. This helps clear your mind and take the deep breaths your body needs.

21. Give yourself breaks

Especially when your to-do list for the day feels overwhelming, you need to give yourself small breaks — trust me, you can make the time. Taking little breaks from your busy schedule can help keep anxiety at bay while still keeping yourself productive.

22. Add more yellow to your life

Colors impact your mood, and yellow is one of the happiest colors. Choose a soft yellow to paint your walls with, buy some yellow flowers or get a yellow bedspread.

23. Steam it up

Does your gym have a steam room? If not, find one and use it regularly to help reduce stress.

24. Get massages

Treat yourself to a massage every once in a while. There’s nothing quite like a relaxing, calming massage to help the nerves and stress.

25. Express gratitude

Gratitude isn’t just for the month of November. Frequently write down what you're thankful for, serve others and say thank you more.

Incorporating a variety of these mini-habits can help you with your anxiety long term. Give some a try now, and you’ll start seeing a difference soon.
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