People who struggle with anxious thoughts would pay top dollar to ease the mind from the intense grip.
The good news is that there are free yet priceless ways to pack up those thoughts and send them away or watch them dissipate in front of your eyes.
It just takes knowing simple steps to stop the complexity of an anxious mind and soul.
Benefits of Trying to Calm Your Anxious Mind
There isn’t a single part of your body, mind, or soul that wouldn’t benefit from releasing the anxiety that doesn’t serve you.
It’s rather eye-opening when you learn the facts of just how much calming your anxious mind will help.
- Healthier Heart: Your heart will keep a normal pace when you’re not flooding it with chemicals that cause stress.
- Belly Up: Did you know that 95% of the serotonin needed to help regulate moods comes from the gut? The uneven serotonin caused by anxiety leads to belly aches, nausea, and bowel issues. When you practice mindful ways of calming anxious thoughts, you’re letting chemicals stay at healthy levels to keep everything moving.
- Immune System: When your body is flooded with anxiety-induced adrenaline, the chemicals will work on fight-or-flight instead of protecting you from a common cold. When you aren’t exposed to so many stress hormones, your body will attack bacteria and viruses that enter with full force.
The physical effects of anxiety are many, but it also causes you to miss the present moment.
This can lead to depression and a sense of regret.
79 Mindful Ways to Calm Your Anxious Mind
Anxiety isn’t a problem with a solution.
You can’t learn how to calm your mind from anxiety permanently.
What you can do is learn different techniques and steps to help you handle an anxious situation that arises.
“You’ve had the power all along, my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself.” – Glinda, The Wizard of Oz
1. Make A List
Write down the things you are anxious about, even if it’s a long list. Break down specific anxiety situations into specific anxious elements. Once you’re done, cross out the things you have absolutely no control over.
Release them from your worries. Then spend nervous energy on parts you can control and devise an action plan.
2. Wake Up with Purpose
Cater your morning routine to things that make you in control of your day. Drink a glass of water to start with good hydration, eat a healthy meal, and exercise – even just for 10 minutes. The more prepared your body is for the day ahead, the less anxious you’ll be about it.
3. Morning Mindfulness
Your morning should also start with affirmations of mindful and supportive statements. Tell yourself that you’re strong, you won’t let anxiety control this day, you control your destiny, and you love yourself. Speak these statements or write them down and revisit them throughout the day.
4. My Happy Place
Think of your happy place(s). It should be a place where you feel safe, warm, happy, authentic, and worry-free. Tap into the energy, sounds, smells, and sights that make that place so happy. You’ve been there before, so you can return there again when anxiety takes over.
5. Just Breathe
It’s great that our body can breathe subconsciously, but there comes a time when you need to take back breath control to calm your system and ease the mind. Do a series of five deep belly inhales, holding for five seconds when you’re full and then exhaling at half the rate of your inhale. A popular method of this is “4-7-8 Breathing.”
6. Get Bossy
You know those inspirational moments in movies when someone comes along and tells the hero or heroine all the things they need to hear to save the world? Feed yourself those same lines. Bully your anxiety out of the way, “You are just chemicals flowing through my body, and I’m not going to let you control me. I didn’t come this far to only come this far.”
7. Evict Anxiety
In a similar way to #6, people who are visually inspired can choose a few meditative moments to get rid of anxiety. Close your eyes and see your anxiety. Give it a name and physical appearance. Look it dead in the eye.
Then, imagine you are putting a plastic bag around the monster, even as it fights back. Seal the bag and shrinkwrap it down to the size of a marble. Flick it into the solar system, never to bother you again.
8. Express Gratitude
When you are thankful for what you have now, you can’t be too focused on what you don’t have or might lose. There’s a great saying, “What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?” Anxious people can spend too much time missing out on what they do have as they stew over past or future incidents.
9. Evaluate Successes
“That wasn’t so bad!” many anxious people have exclaimed after an anxiety-inducing event. Look back at a time that made you super anxious and evaluate the outcome. Then evaluate more.
It’s far too late that we realize we worried about nothing or that it wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought it would be. Then re-affirm, “it won’t be that bad.”
10. Perfectly Imperfect
Stop trying to make things perfect. This is especially important for those who worry about big events – weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, parents’ anniversary dinners, etc. When you set a stage of perfection, you’ll be let down and only notice what went wrong, not all the great moments of success.
11. Douse Yourself with Dopamine
I see your cortisol flood, and I raise you a dopamine rush. Dopamine is the “feel good” chemical our brains release when doing something we enjoy. Play with your dog for 10 minutes, window shop at your favorite store, or look back through photo albums. Dopamine will win every time.
NOTE: Please use the dopamine tactic for healthy, productive activities, not bad habits like vaping or drinking.
12. Make Mistakes. Learn from Them.
The ironic truth is – we don’t learn how hot the stove is until we touch it. Better yet, we survive it. We have a scar to remind us of the lesson we learned by not touching the hot stove. We can help countless others learn about the hot stove dangers. We become leaders, even knowing we will touch the hot stove again. Use this to inspire any mistake you make to be a positive lesson. Then your future is filled with knowledge, not anxiety.
13. Experiment with Essential Oils
This activity should be done in a non-stressful time, but explore the world of essential oils with a sniffing spree. Grab coffee beans to clear your scent palette in between. Vetiver is widely known to help calm anxiety, but don’t take our word for it. Try different scents and keep a diary of how each one made you feel. You’ll have go-to emotional scent control in no time.
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14. Be a Cry Baby
Did you know that when you cry, you are actually crawling out of a hole and not diving deeper into one? The act of crying releases stress hormones and nervous energy. Dismiss any perception that crying is a statement of your strength. The true act of strength is knowing the best ways to calm your anxious mind. Who doesn’t feel better after a good cry?
15. Don’t Accommodate
Know your triggers for letting anxiety control you. The goal of calming an overactive mind is to eliminate anxiety, not mask it. For example, if you get anxious and like to binge Hulu but then feel guilty about spending a day on the couch, don’t start watching Hulu during an anxiety spell. Now you’re depressed and anxious.
16. Stay Anti Social Media
This is for during the height of an anxious event. Don’t post on social things like “Pray for me, I’m struggling” or “I am going to blow my interview; I just know it.” You risk not only adding anxiety to the people who love you, but you’ll also get a barrage of calls, texts, and emails where you’ll have to regurgitate your anxiety – which leads to more anxiety.
17. Clear the Clutter
Living in a physical space of clutter can add anxious tasks to your to-do list. Clutter can also get out of control, making us feel overwhelmed. If you’re not in a good headspace to do it alone, invite the tribe over for pizza and wine and let them help you.
18. App the Anxiety
There are hundreds of apps that promise to alleviate anxiety, depression, and stress to make you more mindful and self-aware. Try them one at a time – don’t download 12 of them at once. That’s just more anxiety. Most come with a free trial. Try each one until you find one that helps you.
19. Playlist Catharsis
Work on a Spotify playlist filled with empowering and motivating songs. Make it as long as you want with songs from all the decades of great music. When you feel anxiety taking over, put that playlist on blast. You can either listen while dancing in your own home or listen just before the big presentation. Music is a powerful overriding influence on all negative emotions.
20. Know Your Zone
Each person has a time of day when they are “on.” It might be the morning person who crushes the to-do list by noon or someone who gets overachieving in the afternoon. Try to schedule as many anxiety-inducing events during your top hours of performance.
21. Punch Things
Get yourself a boxing bag or even a bag of mulch. Wear protective gloves (MMA gloves or boxing gloves) and punch that thing like it’s your biggest fear. You’ll work out your anxiety by beating it up instead of it beating you down.
22. Be a Yogi
Whether or not you buy into all the beneficial aspects of yoga, there’s one blessed thing about a yoga class – you cannot bring your mobile device in. You’re still disconnected and centered even if you spend an hour lying on your mat.
23. Actionable Anxiety Busters
You might like yoga so much that you want to teach a part-time class. There are plenty of schedule-accommodating sessions that graduate yoga trainers in as little as six weeks. Knowing you have an anxiety-free time will help give you something positive to see in your future.
24. Put a Stop to Peer Pressure
Never do anything that creates anxiety simply because your friends are doing it. You are far too strong and smart to let others tell you what the definition is of fun.
25. Explore Your Ancestry
Talk to your mom, grandma, aunt, etc. See how much anxiety runs in your family. This can make you feel less isolated in your anxiety and have people to help talk about more coping mechanisms.
26. Drink It Up
Instead of grabbing an energy drink or beer, try a soothing cup of tea or a large glass of water. Dehydration can lead to many health issues and exacerbate moods.
27. Smart Snacks
There’s a reason Snickers went with the branding line, “You aren’t yourself when you’re hungry. Here, have a Snickers.” They know that people are going to be moody when they’re hungry. Plant healthy snacks in your car, work, purse, and gym bag.
28. Ground Yourself
No, don’t send yourself to your room without dinner. Do a grounding exercise where you sit or stand and notice five things you can see, smell, hear, and taste. This brings you into the present moment and out of your own mind.
29. Close the Tab
With multi-screen displays and endless tab options in search engines, we can quickly become overwhelmed with the information in front of us. When you’re done with a tab, close it. If you might need it again, bookmark it.
30. Diss the Drama Queen or King
If you have surrounded yourself with someone who brings a lot of drama into your life that creates more anxiety, limit the time you spend with them or end the relationship.
31. Stop Negative Inner Voices
The internal conversation that fuels anxiety comes from negative thoughts. We believe all the negative thoughts but rarely listen to the positive ones. Change the tone of the conversation within.
32. Read or Watch “The Secret”
The fundamental message of The Secret is that we attract and receive the energy we put out. Nervous energy attracts nervous situations. Positive energy attracts positive actions.
33. Take a Hike
Getting into nature boosts those endorphin levels, even if it’s walking around the block in the rain. Make a point to be mindful of the leaves falling, the bird making a nest, or any other natural wonder you come across.
34. Speak Forgiveness
For those with anxiety about a past situation or trauma, simply tell yourself, “I forgive them.” It’s okay if you don’t believe it at first, but with enough repetitions, you’ll eventually speak the truth.
35. Marketing 101
Use your own brand marketing around your common spaces, much like advertisers do. Put affirmation notes on your bathroom mirror, the wall in front of your toilet, the refrigerator, etc.
36. Take the Stage
When something is really nagging at you, then act it out. If you’re nervous about a speech, practice it ten times. If you need to have a tough conversation with a partner, practice on your pet or pillows. Saying anxious statements out loud makes them less challenging in real life.
37. Budget Bliss
Coordinate your pay dates with your billing cycles to take financial anxiety off you. Set up auto payments when you can, and add calendar reminders for others. There’s one less thing to worry about.
38. Always Make Your Bed
This best-selling book and inspirational speech have a point. If you make your bed each morning, you’ve successfully started the day and exercised control of your life.
39. Find a Focal Point
If you can’t focus on what’s in front of you, find something to focus on for 10 minutes. Stare at a photo on your desk or gaze out the window. The distraction from your distraction could be just the distraction you needed to get back on track.
40. Start with the Worst
Or the hardest. Or the most challenging. When we have a list of tasks, we tend to put off the one we don’t want to do until the end (or avoid it altogether). Force yourself to start with the hard task, and then it’s all downhill.
41. Be Honest
The phases of puberty, the challenges of life, and the hormones of menopause are just a few things that knock us off-kilter. Be honest with the people around you that you are having an “off day,” and you don’t want to talk about it, but you just need some space. They’ll be thankful for the heads-up.
42. Don’t Stew
If you’re annoyed and anxious, the last thing you should do is just sit there. This is especially important for those who toss and turn for hours in bed. If you can’t fall asleep in 10 minutes, get up and do something (fold that laundry, maybe?) and try again.
43. Lights Out
Get rid of all lights, even mobile devices, 30 minutes before bed to avoid feeding more anxiety into your mind. If you don’t get good sleep, you’ll be even more irritated tomorrow.
44. Go Gaga
It’s an oldie but a goodie. Get in your car, drive the soothing rhythm of a highway, and blast Lady Gaga (or whoever your favorite artist is) and scream lyrics at the top of your lungs. So much negative energy escapes.
45. Find Support Groups
You should use the social media power of connectivity for good. Find groups for anxious, irritated, or struggling people and even if you just read the comments, get engaged with people with similar struggles.
46. Stretch It Out
Irritation can come from tense muscles, and tense muscles cause irritation, so go to the source of the problem. Find 5-10 simple stretching exercises that relieve stress in the shoulders, lower back, and legs. While you’re at it, release the tension in your jaw right now, ok?
47. Go to a Religious or Spiritual Service
You don’t even have to be religious to enjoy the peacefulness of a religious ceremony. You will possibly walk away with a positive message and make some new acquaintances.
48. Dress Up
You don’t need a reason to dress your best. When we look good, we feel good. There’s nothing wrong with the old adage, “Fake it until you make it.”
49. Take a Class
If your stress is work-related, try a free LinkedIn webinar to learn a new skill. You can try Hubspot’s certification program to spruce up your resume. Take a crafting class at Michael’s. Energy put to good use is the best energy.
50. Work Against Your Bad Habits
If you always lose your keys, create a cute key ring holder right by your door. If your scissors seem to have legs, buy them in bulk and put a pair in every room of the home. Outsmart your weakness.
51. Help Someone Else
There’s really nothing like serving dinner at a homeless shelter or helping out at an animal rescue to make you realize that your concerns might not be as massive as they feel. Seeing outside our own bubble can be very humbling.
52. But Did You Die?
When you’re reliving mistakes in your head on repeat, just keep reminding yourself that you’ve survived every challenge thus far, and there’s nothing to suggest this next irritating or anxiety-inducing thing will be the end of you.
53. Never Stop Learning
It’s better to work your way through anxiety or distractions than around them. Learn from personality and mental health support YouTube videos to better understand yourself.
54. Close Your Email
If you are easily distracted, close your email and turn off notifications while you need to focus. You want to avoid a new email from the boss dragging you down another rabbit hole.
55. Just Be Quiet
When you’re irritated or anxious, soak in the conversations around you. Don’t feel the need to speak up in every meeting or point out every flaw of a business plan.
56. Soak in the Sun
Take a step outside and let the natural Vitamin D soak in. Feel the warmth on your skin and the energy from a star 92 million miles away. (You wear sunscreen daily, right?)
57. Don’t Rubber Band
There will be times we have to put on a good face, even when we want to crawl into a hole. Don’t add more pressure on yourself by trying to overdo it with happiness.
58. Quote This
We all have quotes in our heads that remind us of funny movies. When you’re feeling at your wit’s end, say one of those quotes (bonus points if it’s totally relevant.) It’s amazing how far a “SHE DOESN’T EVEN GO HERE” can go to a better mood.
59. Look at the Big Picture
Instead of picturing the world around you and the events that stress you, take a look at your world as if you were Superman flying above. What would you see? How big of a deal would your problems be?
60. Lean Into It
If you’re prone to anxiety about nearly everything, find something productive and actionable to be anxious about. You could volunteer with the Boys & Girls Club or start a homeless clothing drive in your neighborhood.
61. Be Sustainable
Do your part to build a safer future by repurposing clothing for new outfits instead of buying new clothing. Set up recycling bins for your family. Learn how to take the public bus system. You’ll feel empowered that you’re doing your part to change the world.
62. Look at Yourself
Do it now. Do you look sullen and stressed? Now, smile the best Instagram smile with your “good side” showing. It’s amazing the power a simple smile has for yourself or with others you cross on the street.
63. Become More Sensitive to Others
Since you know the power anxiety, irritation, and distraction can have on you, put that knowledge to good use by helping loved ones who struggle with similar things. You know not to feed your sister’s anxiety about college, so you take her favorite ice cream instead.
64. Choose You
Anxiety that is based on what others will think, how they expect us to act, and what they want us to do can breed other mood issues, like depression. Make a point only to choose things you are comfortable with and that aren’t going to bring you more unnecessary stress.
65. No Absolutes
Avoid saying or thinking statements that include always or never. Nothing positive in life is that absolute. “I always mess up” isn’t true, and you know that. Apply this to mass events, like the holidays, where you feel like if you “go to one gathering, you have to go to them all.”
66. Reboot You
You wouldn’t think twice about rebooting your computer and giving it a moment to clear out clutter and come back stronger. Do that for yourself. If you want to be sad for a few hours, okay. Relax, reboot, and then get back into the game. You don’t have to be “on” all the time.
67. Speak Like a Child is Nearby
We can control irritated outbursts if we always pretend that a child is listening. It will minimize cursing and influential bad behavior while treating ourselves (and our inner child) with more respect.
68. Research the Mind
There is a fascinating world of what we know about the human brain out there, but it’s even more powerful when you see what we don’t know. When we learn how the brain systems work that trigger physical manifestations of stress, we have a better path forward by understanding what’s happening.
69. We’re On a Break
You might be completely irritated with your partner, and all those endearing qualities are just now flat-out annoying. It’s okay to say you need a weekend for yourself. A little distance can make you more appreciative.
70. Be Comfortable with Conflict
If conflict makes you nervous to the point you’ll avoid it, it will feed a lifetime of conflict avoidance. Learn to speak your words with respect, using “I” statements. Starting sentences with “you” assigns blame.
71. Plan Ahead
For every anxious event you have ahead of you, plan something else to look forward to. Schedule a massage after a big presentation or phone call with a college best friend after a weekend with your inlaws.
72. Free Flow
When you’re feeling anxious, how about making up a little rap? Put your worries in lyrical form, and you’ll find it’s not really as intimidating as it feels.
73. Know When to Fold ‘Em
The body tells us when it’s running on empty or burned out. Read the warning signs like you would with your car. Nobody else is going to know if you don’t speak up. Stop trying to carry the world on your shoulders.
74. No More Monkeys
People who want to succeed are prone to take on more work and, in the spirit of being helpful, let other people dump problems on them. Don’t let people “throw monkeys on your back.” You have plenty already.
75. Stop Being a Martyr
Repeat after me, “You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep others warm.” Add that to your post-it list around the house.
76. Hair Tie Torture
This trick is very useful if you can stand a very minute amount of pain. Put a rubber band or hair tie around your wrist. Every time you start worrying about something or feel tempted to snap at someone, snap that hair tie instead to get you back in the present moment.
77. You’re Going to Miss This
No matter your age, there will be a time when you long for today. You might even regret all the worrying you did. Talk to your older self each night and say, “I hope I made you proud today.”
78. Find Your Party Trick
For those who feel awkward at social gatherings, figure out a party trick that you can use to entertain people. You may know how to pop a champagne cork just right, or you could have a card trick up your sleeve. Bringing an engaging talent will dispel any thoughts that you don’t belong.
79. Stash Mad Money
Mad money is an old tradition of gathering up random currency, like a dollar bill in a jean pocket and stashing it away in a drawer. Little by little, it will grow, and you’ll have money for an emergency or even a treat for yourself.
Whether you use calming thoughts for anxiety, essential oils, mindful practices, or other productivity tools, it’s important to know when anxiety is just too much for you to handle alone.
There are types of therapy designed specifically for anxiety. Reach out and ask for professional help. You don’t have to handle this all alone.