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5 Surprisingly Effective Ways to Reduce Anxiety

A person leaning back on a soft sofa with their arms clasped behind their head in a relaxed pose.

Anxiety is when you are constantly nervous and afraid that something bad might happen, or that something bad has already happened and you’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop. The anxiety builds like pressure in your mind, but you can’t keep waiting for that shoe to drop forever. Being anxious all the time might be nerve-wracking, but it also gets old fast when the bad things you’re afraid of almost never manifest. And when they do, it’s not as bad as you thought.

If anxiety is starting to take over your life or intrude at inconvenient moments, there are ways to reduce anxiety and relax when you need to relax. Most people who suffer from anxiety have already read about and tried the standard tips like ‘breath deeply’ and ‘do yoga’. These may or may not work for you, but it’s also all too easy to get into a rut, build a routine, and get anxious all over again. Today, we’re here to share five unusual anxiety-reducing methods that work surprisingly well.

1) Pretend You Are Royalty

You’re at work trying to focus but your anxiety keeps whispering little paranoid anxious thoughts into your mind. Maybe you’re worried about having offended your boss or if your big project will go well or if the roast you bought will be tender enough. Anxious thoughts can take over no matter how unbased in reality or how trivial and it’s all too easy to get caught up in them. Our first trick is to stop and take a deep breath. But wait, there’s more.

Look at the situation from the outside. Pretend you are royalty, a king or queen with a royal family to think about and the needs of the country to consider at work. Straighten your spine, roll your shoulders back, and hold your head high. Practice a little wave if it makes you feel better, then think “What would my royal-self do?”

Believe it or not, this can help you think more calmly and rationally because you are calling on your inner idea of how a good authority figure would handle the situation. With grace, aplomb, and cool confidence.

2) Sing Your Heart Out

Don’t feel like royalty? Take your anxiety coping technique in the other direction by queueing up a few of your favorite songs to sing to. It’s surprisingly hard to stay anxious, fearful, depressed, or angry while you’re singing. The physical action of working your vocal chords and your emotional connection to the songs you choose will immediately start to override those negative thoughts you’ve been having.

If you’re alone or in your house, feel free to really belt it out and dance around if you feel the urge. Headbang, wail, air guitar, go where the feeling takes you. If you need to manage your anxiety in a private way, pop in some earbuds and sing under your breath while bobbing your head softly to the music. Close your eyes and enjoy the tunes. If you’re working, try working to the beat, making every step and motion match the song’s rhythm and if you don’t have anything to play music on, sing some old favorites to yourself acapella.

By the time you’re done singing, you’ll likely have forgotten what you were anxious about in the first place.

3) The Logical Approach

The logical approach is the best unusual technique if your anxiety is based on wondering if you have missed something or made a mistake in the recent past. Those “Did I leave the oven on?” or “Was Joan offended by my joke yesterday?” thoughts are often completely unfounded in reality and you can dispell your anxiety by making it clear by answering the questions you ask yourself with absolute logic and surety.

Wondering if you left the oven on, for example, can be quickly solved by asking yourself if you even used the oven that morning. If the answer is ‘no’, then your oven is off. If you did use the oven, do you have a conscious memory of turning it off? If the answer is ‘yes’, then your oven is off.

The logical approach supports eliminating the possibility of the things you worry about. If this works well for you, endeavor to become a more precise person so that you can pull more evidence from your memory and records to calm your anxious thoughts.

4) Throw a Full-Blown Tantrum

Do you ever get so anxious that you just want to scream? This is perfectly normal. Anxiety is low-level fear, and fear is meant to motivate you toward action. It gives you the energy to ‘fight or flight’ which means that every time you get anxious, your body is ready to run a mile to escape a tiger. Of course, in today’s world, yelling and running away from what makes you nervous isn’t appropriate. While you may want to scream and possibly even throw a few things, it’s simply not an option.

Unless you are alone at home, in your car, or in a sound-proofed office… in that case we have a very fun suggestion: Throw a tantrum. Go ahead, show the world how much you hate being anxious. Sit on the ground or in your chair and really flail. Throw back your head, kick your legs, throw your arms around and give it a couple of big shrieks worthy of the fussiest toddler in the world. You’ll come out the other side feeling exhausted, a little disheveled, and surprisingly satisfied.

5)  Watch an Old Favorite

In many cases, anxiety comes from a constant fear of unknown variables, making it difficult to apply logic to dissuade your fears. Anything unfamiliar or unsure can kick off another spiral of anxious thoughts and it can be easy to feel like you’re drowning in uncertainty. Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy way to add a lot of familiarity to your environment without bothering anyone else.

Pop in an earbud and load up a movie or television show you’ve seen more than a dozen times. Pick something you know quotes from by heart, something you could glance at a single random frame and know exactly what is going on in the plot. There’s nothing more comforting than a very familiar movie. You can play it in the background on your work computer or put it on the TV at home and marvel in how your mind relaxes as it tracks the movie or show instead of on anxious thoughts.

Anxiety is something we all experience a little differently, dispelling that anxiety is also a unique journey. Whether you meditate and practice mindfulness, play in your zen garden, or occasionally close your office door and rock out for a few minutes, you’re bound to find more than a few enjoyable methods to ease your anxious thoughts. For more anxiety tips or to work with a professional on counseling for anxietycontact us today. We’re always ready to help.