How To Relax When You’re Anxious AF

It’s impossible to avoid stress. But the weight of your worry may feel heavier now that the novel coronavirus has upended your routine. Overhauling the way you live is bound to cause anxiety, and you may need some easy ways to relieve the discomfort.

Try these tactics when you need a sense of calm:

Stop what you’re doing

One of the best ways to calm down is to stop interacting with what’s upsetting you. In the short term, this may mean telling the person you’re speaking with that you need to take a quick break. If you’re with company, politely excuse yourself for a moment. Get to a quiet place away from what’s upsetting you and focus on calming thoughts.

Practice deep breathing

Kennedy recommends breathing exercises for patients who are plagued with a tight, heavy feeling in their chests. Deep, abdominal breathing can relieve the pressure you feel internally, she says.

Build a birdhouse

Exploring something new can take your mind off your worries, says Alice Boyes, Ph.D., former clinical psychologist and author of The Anxiety Toolkit. Pople who got crafty for 45 minutes had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, according to a 2016 study in the journal Art Therapy.

Do yoga daily

People who practiced yoga for 10 weeks reported less stress and anxiety, according to a 2007 study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine.

Boyes recommends beginning a 30-day yoga challenge for consistency. She particularly likes restorative yoga because the movements are slower and alleviates pressure on your body.


Writing is a structured activity that allows you to process your thoughts, says Boyes. If you’re worried about a particular problem, spend 20 minutes a day over four days putting your feelings into words.

Go for a run or walk

You hear it time and again: fitness is good for your mental and physical health. People who exercised regularly were happier during stressful situations.

And you don’t have to run for hours to benefit, according to Boyes. She recommends going for a quick evening or morning stroll to ease your mind. Pick a familiar route to avoid making decisions about your destination this only adds more stress.

Play video games at breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Or do something else you enjoy at least three times a day. The point is to regularly boost your mood with activities that are fun and provide a sense of accomplishment.

Relax your muscles

When emotional or stress responses occur, your body’s muscles tense and tighten. You may literally feel “wound up.” Progressive Muscle Relaxation, can help you consciously release the tension in your body by tensing and then releasing particular muscle groups. With a little practice, PMR can help you bust stress and anxiety very quickly.

Distract yourself

If you can, distract yourself from worrying over what has you upset. If you allow yourself to focus on what has upset you, you could set off a cycle of ruminating, where you think the same thoughts over and over again. Ruminating fosters anxiety and depressive symptoms.

Use self-soothing behaviors

Self-soothing behaviors can help you reduce immediate feelings of stress and anxiety. They focus on comforting and being kind to yourself.

Check your dietary habits

The body and mind are not separate entities. What one does directly impacts the other, and this is true for your diet as well.

Get exercise

Physical exercise releases endorphins, your body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to get this effect, either. Research has shown that even moderate exercise, such as walking and gardening, can help you feel calmer, happier, and more relaxed.

Express your feelings

There is nothing inherently unhealthy with any emotion, including anger. What can be unhealthy is ignoring or repressing your feelings instead of acknowledging them.

Aim for a healthy diet

When you’re overwhelmed or upset, it’s easy to reach for the comfort food. Before you do that, realize that nutritious food can actually balance your mood and provide you with energy to help get you through difficult situations. In addition to eating a healthy diet.

Talk to a friend

Not only will talking about your anger or anxiety help you calm down, but it can also make you feel supported by others. You’ll recognize that you’re not alone. Social support is important for making you feel secure and accepted.

Develop a positive mindset

Cultivating a happy attitude can help you remember the good times and let go of things that you cannot control. Once you realize you can’t control every situation, you can focus on managing your own emotions. This can help you take a step back and calm down.

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