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8 Tips for Beating Your Anxiety

Beat your anxiety 111914
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When was the last time I was anxious? Hmmm, let me think. Ten minutes ago? We live in anxious times. Amidst meeting our daily obligations, managing our career goals, and handling pressures placed on us from the outside, it’s no wonder we increasingly accept anxiety as a norm with which we are forced to live. However, we don’t have to let it silently weigh us down and hamper our ability to deal with issues. I’ve found that when I’m feeling any sort of unease, these tips help return me to a place where feelings of calm and peace ultimately prevail over apprehension.

1. Distance yourself from “toxic” people and solidify your support group.

Those you spend the majority of your time with undoubtedly have an influence on your mental well-being. If you routinely find yourself feeling more worried, tired, depressed, or anxious after being around a certain person or group of people—take notice. The people you choose to surround yourself with either recharge your batteries and help enforce feelings of self-worth or exhaust your energy and make it easier for anxiety to prevail.

2. Take a “stay-cation” if you can’t vacation.

No need to worry about lost luggage, expensive airplane tickets, or long layovers. Allowing yourself to take a guilt-free weekend hiatus at home and venture to your “happy place” can ease your emotions and quiet your mind from rushing at a rate of 100 tpm (one hundred thoughts per minute). Even if you don’t have a weekend to devote, forcing yourself to do something you enjoy, whether losing yourself for a few minutes in a compelling novel, busting out your best Beyoncé moves in the privacy of your own room, or singing in the shower, can offer a much-needed escape from pressing concerns—real, imagined, or unnecessarily exaggerated. A brief respite is sometimes all it takes to put things in perspective and restore mental order.

[Related: Why You Should Take a Stay-Cation.]

3. Never underestimate the power of humor.

Next time you find yourself overly anxious or worried, ask yourself whether it truly signals the end of the world and, if not, find a way to make light of the situation. When you make time to laugh and take yourself a little less seriously, you liberate yourself from the pressure to be perfect and subsequently become less susceptible to anxiety.

4. Run toward your fears, not away.

Anxiety often goes hand in hand with the debilitating fear of failure or of the unknown. Instead of running from the things that make us anxious, try attacking them head on. As Gail Fanaro explains, “Once you can know the impact of failing on your life, then the fear becomes very manageable.” Exposing ourselves to our fears can lead us to the realization that our worries are often rooted far from reality and, with this realization, feelings of anxiety that typically arise from a specific situation will become far less paralyzing.

5. Get enough sleep, fuel your body, and break a sweat.

There are a number of studies that cite the beneficial effects of a healthy lifestyle in combating anxiety. Remind yourself that caring for your body doesn’t take crucial time away from your work or other obligations; it’s not a form of self-centered pampering. In fact, it will energize you, making you more productive in the long run. By physically taking care of yourself, you equip your body and mind to better handle day-to-day concerns.

[Related: Self Care 101: There's No Such Thing as 'Too Busy']

6. Be where you are.

We’ll never get back the time and energy we waste agonizing over circumstances we can’t change. When you feel the grips of anxiety taking hold, acknowledge that these emotions are generally not coming from the immediate present, but rather concerns over the past or future. Repeat a mantra (it doesn’t have to be fancy) to ground yourself when you find your mind wandering to any place but the here and now. Try meditating on this thought: “I am here, and I am okay.”

7. Pride yourself on your adaptability.

Mental flexibility is key to overcoming anxiety. Coupled with fear of the unknown, it’s tempting to try and control every minute detail of our lives and get discouraged when things don’t go exactly as planned. Make a conscious decision to give yourself a break and gracefully accept the fluidity and unpredictability of life, rather than drain your energy obsessing over minor details.

8. Pick up an inspirational book.

Anxiety can affect even the strongest and wisest among us. Engaging in self-help is an act of personal empowerment, not weakness. Books like Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, Brett Blumenthal’s A Whole New You: Six Steps to Ignite Change for Your Best Life, and Christine Hassler’s Twenty Something, Twenty Everything put matters in perspective, reassure you there are others experiencing similar travails, and are naturally calming.

What are your tips for beating nerves like a pro? Share with us in the comments!

Ask Levo Mentor Maggy Frances Shultz, Founder of Maggy Francis, how she handled anxiety when she was a fashion assistant and how she deals with nerves while she runs her own company!

Photo: Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

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Topics:

Anxiety Lifestyle Stress & Burnout
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This is a great article Lauri! "Mental flexibility is key to overcoming anxiety." SO TRUE. I talk about how to overcome anxiety a lot, and I love your points in this article. Fabulous.

Great job, Lauri! Anxiety seems to be something everyone suffers from, whether it happens every day or once a year. I love this quote "Exposing ourselves to our fears can lead us to the realization that our worries are often rooted far from reality and, with this realization, feelings of anxiety that typically arise from a specific situation will become far less paralyzing."

Realizing what is making you anxious and then talking yourself out of it is one of the best tactics for getting rid of anxiety. It might sound really simple but it's something that needs to be worked on.

All these tips are great and really useful!

Wonderful article, Lauri! These are great tips--I especially like #7. I worry about everything, and sometimes the only way to calm myself is to keep reassuring myself that I am an adaptable and flexible person. It sounds like it wouldn't work, but when I keep repeating it to myself, it starts to sink in, and I start to believe it!

I absolutely love the advice to focus on being where you are. If you dwell too much on the past or future, you can miss beautiful things happening in the present! Great advice!

Maggie Seaver
Maggie Seaver

Anxiety is the WORST. It is so true that it is often fueled by fear of the unknown, and the only way to overcome it is to "run towards your fears, not away." Great piece Lauri!!

These are some awesome tips Lauri! I love how you included both short-term and long-term solutions to combating anxiety--it really is a process to to be our healthiest selves.

Great advice Lauri! The points on adaptability especially ring true for me. Giving yourself permission to fail can be hard but in the long run can really alleviate your anxiety.

Roopa Shankar
Roopa Shankar

I love this article!

I adore #6 the most. It's easy to lose sight of what's important or what's more important when going through a stressful time, especially when the source of the anxiety is something trivial. I love that this article reminded me of simple things I can do to ensure that I don't let my anxiety get the best of me, so thank you!

Beautifully written and thoughtfully executed. Awesome work!

Very wonderful article, Lauri! Tip #6 really resonated with me. It's so easy to worry about what or when the next step is going to be in your life. I think that feeling of anxiety is especially heightened when you're not where you want to be in terms of your career, social, or personal life. Sometimes a quick little mantra is all you need to ground yourself back to reality. Great job!

Caroline M
Caroline M

Love this article! I especially appreciate what you said in #5--"caring for your body...is not a form of self-centered pampering." I sometimes feel guilty for working out, and think that I should be studying or tackling my to-do list instead. I needed reinforcement that sometimes taking a long bubble bath to unwind is ok :)

I really appreciate your kind words and I am so happy you enjoyed the article!!

Thank you Briana!! You are so right about the mental self-talk. Going up against our fears can be really daunting, but I think the rewards of doing it are ultimately so rewarding!

Thanks Kathleen! I definitely agree with your point! Funny how such small things like positive self-affirmations can have such huge impacts :)

So happy you liked it, thank you! The "be where you are" advice is probably my personal favorite :)

Thanks so much Maggie!! For me, fear of the unknown is definitely the biggest reason for causing anxiety, so when I can eliminate or lessen that, things are pretty good :)

I am so glad you like the tips! Thanks Ella!

Thanks so much Jenn! I definitely agree with you on that one :)

Thank you for your kind words Roopa and I am so happy you enjoyed the article!! :)

Thanks so much Ivie! I really agree with your statement that anxiety can easily be heightened when things aren't going our way in a particular aspect of our life... those mantras can be great tools for getting back on track though!

Nabia Gonzalez
Nabia Gonzalez

Great article! Something that also works for me is drinking a chamomile tea or other kind of relaxing tea while trying to disconnect and breath deeply. Also, as you said, humor is always key!

I am so happy you liked it Caroline!! I have definitely had that feeling as well, so I have to actively remind myself that it is necessary to take care of ourselves and we will be more efficient when doing so!

Thanks so much Nabia! Chamomile tea is great!! I used to drink it fairly regularly in the evenings... Your comment was a nice reminder and has me thinking I should get back to that routine!


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