Whether it’s short or long-term, anxiety can overwhelm anyone living with it. If you struggle with anxious thoughts or feelings, you’ve probably heard the same advice–meditate, take deep breaths, and perform a grounding exercise.
Over time, these helpful activities can seem tedious and frustrate you more than help. If that’s the case, there are other things you can do to make anxiety relief enjoyable.
Here are eleven ways to relieve anxiety you won’t find in every motivational post, advice video or television scene.
1. Create a Protector
Your imagination is a fantastic tool to relieve stress and anxiety.
It may seem strange at first, but imagining yourself having a protector can help you tackle daily life without feeling as anxious or overwhelmed.
You know you can handle different situations, but the intense anxiety can cause you to hesitate. By imagining a protector, you create an invisible cheerleader who can give you that confidence boost you need to tackle any obstacle you face.
The best part is your protector can be anything or anyone you want from a magical person to an animal guardian. You could even imagine a real person who you don’t personally know.
No one needs to know about your protector, so it doesn’t have to embarrass you. Besides, everyone could use a personalized pal.
2. Expose Yourself to Different Colors
Did you know that colors can affect your level of anxiety? Science shows that being around certain shades can help you relax, while others can increase your stress.
If you start to feel overwhelmed, consider finding something with earth tones, light blues or purples and see how it makes you feel. These colors are gentle on the mind and can help you ground yourself.
Consider these colors not just for moments of anxiety but in your home. They could help you relax and get more rest, which can also help with anxiety symptoms.
3. Move Around
Nervous energy is real and you can use it to your advantage. Whern you’re feeling anxious, get your body moving if possible.
Going for a run, jumping jacks or walking around can release endorphins that help you feel happier and more relaxed.
Regular exercise can help with your overall mood, improve your sleep and help you feel more confident.
Exercise can improve your overall health, which research shows improve your mental health.
4. Experiment With Art
Drawing, painting and sculpting are all excellent ways to relieve anxiety. Creating art of the place you want to be, the world you want to create or just something that makes you happy.
Studies show that engaging in art projects reduces patient stress levels and the same benefits can come to those dealing with anxiety.
You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy creating artwork. Even just drawing lines in your favorite colors can make a difference.
5. Avoiding Alcohol
Enjoying an occasional drink is fine for most adults, but if you’re dealing with anxiety, it’s best to stay away.
The substance is known for “loosening people up,” but alcohol is a depressant that can cause or worsen symptoms of anxiety or depression. If you go out with friends, consider getting a soda or seltzer water instead of an alcoholic beverage.
If you struggle to give up alcohol, speak with your healthcare providers about recovery options.
For many, socialization triggers anxiety, but the right kind of interaction can help treat it.
Often anxiety leads people to isolate from their loved ones, but that can lead to lonliness and depression.
Surrounding yourself with loved ones and positive people can help you relax, laugh and feel better about the things you face in life. Everyone needs a support system they can count on no matter what. Bring people into your life who can support you through your bad days and who you can reciprocate that for.
7. Use a Weighted Blanket
Studies show that the pressure associated with a hug causes feelings of calm, reducing anxiety symptoms.
While you can’t always surround yourself with a hug, but you can have a similar experience with a weighted blanket.
Adults can purchase them in a variety of weights, equaling around 10% of your body weight. Kids’ versions are also available.
8. Tense Up
You likely don’t associate being tense with reduced anxiety, but it can be a good resource.
By creating tension to relieve tension, you can feel your body relax and get into a better state of mind. Start with one area of the body, squeezing your muscles for several seconds and releasing them, letting them become as loose as possible. Total body relaxation will allow your mind to rest and relax also.
This exercise is good to do if you feel an anxiety attack coming on or when you just want to stay in a good state of mind.
9. Embrace Play
When you’re an adult, it might seem silly to play, but it brings important levity to anyone with stress or anxiety.
Let your walls down and play a board game, throw a ball or fly a kite. Recruit friends to complete a homemade obstacle course or try out a new musical instrument. These activities bring levity to a stressful life, provide exercise benefits and get you into a good mood that can help overrule the anxiety you might feel later on.
If you feel high anxiety in your home but can’t figure out why, consider removing any clutter in the space.
When your home, desk or car is cluttered, your mind can get overwhelmed taking in the unorganized items, raising your anxiety. You’d be surprised how different you feel in an organized space.
11. Write to Yourself
When we’re anxious, it’s possible to become too mindful, only focusing on the worried, bad things or feelings happening in the present.
Writing is a great tool to get out of our thoughts, and there are many ways to use journaling for your good. One way is to write a letter to your future self. Imagine yourself achieving your goals and moving on from the current situation. Let yourself know that all things come to an end, even bad things and that there is positivity in your future.
Write to yourself about how you hope their life is going and consider what it will take to get your present self there.
Enjoying Anxiety Management
Anxiety is a pain in the neck for anyone who has to deal with its mental and physical toll. Just because it is a struggle doesn’t mean treating it has to be. Try out different methods to see which help you the most.
If you find that anxiety interferes with your daily life, talk to your doctor about possible treatments that can help you feel better.