Anxiety is a real struggle that millions of us battle every single day.
In fact, an estimated 40 million Americans (18 percent of the population) suffer from that feeling of apprehension and worry, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Yet only about 36 percent actually get treated for it.
Here’s another big issue: Several studies have linked anxiety and obesity — both that obesity might cause anxiety and that anxiety might cause obesity.
If you’re addressing one, it’s a good idea to address the other as well.
With that in mind, we rounded up 10 tricks to instantly tame an anxious mind.
1. Go caffeine and alcohol free.
Ok, going coffee-free may not be an option. But if you’re starting to feel anxious, consider forgoing the coffee (or other caffeinated beverage) for the day. It will likely help you manage your anxiety better.
In addition, it can be tempting to reach for a glass of wine or cocktail to calm yourself down in the evenings, but that’s a very short-term solution. In the long-term, alcohol shifts chemicals in your brain and can actually make anxiety worse.
2. Scent it up.
It may sound silly, but pleasant smells can actually help chill you out. That’s especially the case with lavender, which is known for its calming properties. Keep a little bottle of it and sniff it when you start to feel your chest tightening and your mind spinning.
3. Draw a bath.
While you’re at it (with the lavender and all), fill up your tub with some warm, bubbly water and soak it up.
Add some epsom salts to relax your muscles, which in turn will relax your mind.
4. Take a walk.
When your wheels are turning, sitting around only makes them spin faster. Get up and go for a walk. It forces your mind to slow down and reduces that extra adrenaline. Plus, fresh air is just good for your well-being — plain and simple.
Sometimes anxiety attacks can be triggered by something as simple as not drinking enough water.
Sit down with a big glass of water. Take deep breaths between drinks and you’ll likely feel your mind calming down with every gulp you take.
6. Minimize screen time.
Phones, computers, tablets. Always being plugged in doesn’t give your mind any time to unwind and relax.
Force yourself to turn off your phone, computer or laptop and enjoy some time with family or friends.
7. Deep breaths.
Breathe in for 5-8 seconds and then slowly let it out for 10 seconds. Repeat this for 60 to 90 seconds. It will make a world of difference.
8. Try the 3-3-3 rule.
Stop. Look around the room. Name three things in that room. Listen. What are three things that you hear?
Now, focus on your own body. Move three things: your toes, your fingers, your head, whatever. This is a great mental trick to slow your mind down.
9. Find something funny.
Whether it’s a video, a meme, a comedy show, a joke, you name it, seek out something to put a smile on your face. There’s a reason that old cliché exists: Laughter really is the best medicine.
10. Talk to someone.
Call a friend or family member. You don’t have to tell them you’re feeling anxious, but just hearing a voice can help put your mind at ease and remind you that you’re not alone.
Do you have anxiety? What tricks do you use to calm yourself down?
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.