Millions of people want to know how to get rid of anxiety. Anxiety disorders represent the most common mental illness in the U.S. with 40 million adults suffering—that’s 18 percent of our population! The worst part is that only 36 percent actually seek treatment.
That means there are millions of people (including me, and maybe even you) working through the debilitating symptoms on their own, think: panic attacks, depression and chronic worrying.
My anxiety affects my everyday life in many ways. I often find I’m dealing with:
Inability to do work
Lack of confidence
Inability of focus
Worse are the physical implications:
Shortness of breath
Inability to sleep
Anxiety is even one of the many reasons my body developed SIBO (learn more about that in my first SIBO treatment post).
The thing is: I don’t deal with anxiety every single day, and it’s not always so bad that I have a panic attack or any other physical symptoms. Sometimes, I’ll wake up with it rattling through my body, while other days it’s just a dull hum as I try to get through work.
This is why so many don’t seek treatment—anxiety is often sporadic; it doesn’t seem like a chronic illness, but it is, and there are many ways to make it more manageable.
How to Get Rid of Anxiety: My Methods
As you can imagine, I’ve tried many anti-anxiety tactics—and in many cases, not on purpose. Some of my favorite ways of beating anxiety were discovered on accident, which is why I want to share them with you. Anxiety sucks and we should all help one another work through it. Next time you feel anxiety coming on, or you’re in the thick of a bad attack, try one of my favorite anxiety hacks.
Seriously—it works every single time. And no, you don’t have to be going for a long time; even a quickie helps!
If you turn in for a moment, you’ll notice shortness of breath when you’re anxious. The goal is to get back to normal breathing because, biologically, getting a full breath in and out tells your brain everything is okay (to simplify). Next time you’re struggling, start taking slow deep belly breaths. Focus on your belly filling up as you take breath in and shrinking in as you let it out. I often use this technique:
Breathe in for a count of 4 seconds
Hold for 8 seconds
Breathe out for a count of 4 seconds
During this breathing, I like to think of a mantra that feels authentic. Check out my top 5 favorite mantras or pick one of your own.
Treat yo’ self isn’t a phrase for no reason. Sometimes, a new pair of shoes is what you need to make yourself feel better. If anxiety stems from not enough YOU time, this is a great way to get rid of it.
When I first started therapy two or so years ago, I struggled a lot with anxiety build up, which almost always lead to an outburst, more often than not, directed at my husband. My therapist helped me realize that sometimes, crying is the best thing to do.
Rather than holding it in, and letting more anxiety stack on top of the core of the problem, let it all out. Go to the bathroom if you’re at work or somewhere private if you’re at home and let it go. I can’t tell you how many times letting myself cry made my anxiety fade away.
Do Something That Makes You Happy
Sometimes I’ll just ask myself: what would make you happy right now? Sometimes that’s a conversation with someone, other times it’s a cup of coffee or watching a movie. Give yourself what you want in that moment to rejuvenate and relax.
Try Boxing, HIIT or Heavy Weight Lifting
Yoga is a great way to reduce anxiety long-term, but when you’re in the thick of it, sometimes you just need to scream. Boxing, HIIT and heavy weight lifting allow you to physically take your anxiety out on something else in a productive way. I was in the thick of an anxiety attack one day and decided to work it out with a punching bag and I’ve never felt such sweet and fulfilling relief in my life.
Sometimes you just gotta work something out – and boxing is one of my favorite ways to do that! Not to mention it’s a killer warm up. My form isn’t on point and yours doesn’t need to be either with a little warmup like this. The goal is to keep moving for 30 seconds to 3 minutes! #boxing #workitout #punchingbag #punching #warmup #cardio #fitness #fitvid #mondaymotivation #stressbuster #stressmanagement
A post shared by Honest Body Fitness (@honestbodyfitness) on Apr 10, 2017 at 9:00am PDT
If you don’t have access to boxing, do a heavy weight lifting session or take a HIIT class—anything that allows you to RAWR (literally or figuratively).
For me, changing environments is often the most helpful way to get rid of anxiety. That means a short walk around the block, without my cell phone, to breathe, think and shake it all off. For you, this might mean working at a coffee shop, taking a walk through your work building, heading to the gym early, or taking a half day at work.
Remember: Where Thoughts Flow, Energy Goes
When you dwell on the anxiety it gets worse. That’s because, where thoughts flow energy goes. If you’re focused on your anxiety, that’s where all your energy will go. That’s why there’s one thing that all of these anxiety hacks have in common: distraction. Whether I’m having sex, taking a walk, or shopping, I’m finding ways to distract my mind. Anxiety often comes from overanalyzing or doubting ourselves, so when we pull ourselves out of that spiral, the anxious feelings tend to go away.
Your Turn: There’s no “how to get rid of anxiety” blueprint—everyone has their own way of coping and these are my favorites. Take a page from my book or try your own; either way, don’t forget that you’re not alone and there are resources available when you need them.