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Are there any exercises or things I can do to calm my anxiety?

42 Answers
Last Updated: 06/01/2020 at 4:35am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Victoria Cook, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I work to meet all clients where they are - working first to understand their needs and employing the tools needed to help them become their best, most empowered selves.

Top Rated Answers
ItsJustMekitty
January 27th, 2015 5:25pm
You could try different breathing exerrcises, but if you are looking for actual phisical exercises you could try runing or yoga maybe :)
starryRiver83
March 14th, 2015 6:42pm
There are many things you can do. Little things like taking time out of your day to go for a walk or swimming. You can do breathing exercises as well. Making time for yourself each day, even for a little amount of time is extremely helpful.
Laura94
April 21st, 2015 9:55pm
There are obvious tips like breathing exercises and trying to count to 5 or 10 to try and calm down your heart and slow your breathing if these things start getting a little rushed. Never hide the fact you're suffering from anxiety, if you need someone to help you then inform someone you're close to so they can distract you and also calm you down at the best of times.
Asunder
July 28th, 2015 8:03pm
If I ever feel my anxiety starting to build up, I try to just relax, and breathe slowly. Take a few minutes aside from whatever it is you're doing, and calm your mind. It might be the cliche thing to do, but it always helps.
NikkiD1
February 2nd, 2016 6:27pm
Things you can do to calm anxiety: 1. Control Your Breathing Severe anxiety symptoms are often linked to poor breathing habits. Many men and women with anxiety suffer from poor breathing habits that contribute to anxiety and many of the most upsetting symptoms. Controlling you breathing is the solution - and it's not what you think. Even if you feel you can't take a deep breath, you actually need to slow down and reduce your breathing, not speed it up or try to take deeper breaths. Take more controlled, slower, shallower breaths, using the following technique: Breathe in slowly and gently through your nose for about 5 to 7 seconds. Hold for about three or four seconds. Breathe out slowly and gently through pursed lips like you're whistling for about 7 to 9 seconds. Repeat this exercise ten to twenty times. This method of breathing will ensure that you're not hyperventilating (a common problem of those with anxiety) and will help to regain the Co2 balance in your body that creates many of the worst anxiety symptoms. 2. Talk to Someone Friendly Effective anxiety reduction is often about distraction, since your mind can be your worst enemy when you have severe anxiety symptoms. A very effective technique is to talk to someone you like and trust, especially on the phone. Don't be shy about your anxiety - tell them you feel anxious and explain what you're feeling. Talking to nice people keeps your mind off of your symptoms, and the supportive nature of friends and family gives you that added boost of confidence. If you're suffering from a panic attack, it also helps you feel more confident that if something was wrong, you'd have someone that can watch over you. 3. Try Some Aerobic Activity During periods of anxiety your body is filled with adrenaline. Putting that adrenaline towards aerobic activity can be a great way to improve your anxiety. That's because exercise has numerous advantages for controlling your anxiety symptoms: Exercise burns away stress hormones that create anxiety symptoms. Exercise tires your muscles, reducing excess energy and tension. Exercise releases endorphins which improve overall mood. Exercise forces healthier breathing. Exercise is a healthy distraction. Aerobic activity, like light jogging or even fast walking, can be extremely effective at reducing the severity of your anxiety symptoms, as well as your anxiety itself. 4. Find What Relaxes You There are already things in your life that relax you. Don't avoid them and try to fight it out. Instead, do the activities as fast as possible. For example, if you find that a warm bath is relaxing, don't wait to take the bath. Jump in the bath, light some candles, add a few nice scents, and jump inside. Whether it's a bath, a shower, skipping stones at a park, getting a massage - if it works, do it right away, rather than let yourself become overwhelmed by your anxiety. 5. Consider Kava Kava (also known as Kava Kava) is an anti-anxiety herb that many believe is one of the most effective, natural ways to control anxiety. You'll want to talk to a doctor before taking kava as it can interact with other medications and alcohol, but kava has nutrients known as kavalactones that are very effective at regulating the way you experience anxiety, and promoting greater levels of relaxation without any addiction risk. 6. Learn How to Trick Your Anxious Thinking Anxiety doesn't come out of the blue. When you have anxiety attacks, it's often because your mind has a tendency to spiral into negative thoughts - often without your control. Sometimes you can control this anxiety by keeping these thoughts at bay, and learning to dismiss triggers that cause you anxiety. For many, this is easier said than done. But there are many different strategies you can try that may be effective. These include: A Question Checklist When you feel severe anxiety, have a checklist on hand of questions to ask yourself about that anxiety experience. The longer the checklist, the more you'll find that your thoughts become more realistic. Questions that you can use include: Is there a reason to believe something is wrong? What evidence is there that something is wrong? Is there a chance I'm blowing this out of proportion? Affirmations Affirmations are not for everyone, but those that do use them find them to be very beneficial. Affirmations are things that you say to yourself to make yourself feel better. These include: I'm okay. This is just anxiety and I will get over it. I have a great life and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. My anxiety won't control me. Getting Used to Physical Symptoms Many of the thoughts that affect anxiety are not thoughts per se, but reactions to physical experiences. This is especially true if you experience panic attacks, where a physical sensation can trigger severe anxiety and panic. By getting used to the symptoms when you're not experiencing anxiety, your mind stops associating them with your panic attacks. Examples include: Dizziness - If feeling dizzy causes a panic attack, spin around in a chair and let yourself feel more dizzy. Rapid Heartbeat - If a rapid heartbeat causes panic attacks, run in place as fast as you can until your heartbeat speeds up. The latter is known as "exposure therapy" and there are countless ways to create exercises that will habituate you to your panic attack triggers. 7. Listen to Good Mood Music Every little thing matters. That's why even if it sounds like it won't make a tremendous difference, listening to your favorite music can have a powerful effect on your anxiety. They key is to not just choose songs you like, however. The key is also to make sure you're listening to music that represents the way you want to feel. Happy or relaxing music, not just any music. The reality is that music does affect emotions. So while many people find it soothing to listen to angry music when you're angry or sad music when you're sad, the truth is that this type of music will only help you get in touch with those negative emotions. They won't help you feel better. When you're trying to stop anxiety now, you should listen to music that will help you feel the way you want to feel. 8. Let it All Out Anxiety is interesting, because it tends to get worse when you try to fight it. It's not clear why that occurs, but most likely the stress that your body goes through in order to control the stress of anxiety only makes it worse, as does the effort it takes to try to not feel your natural feelings. So rather than have any desire to stop your anxiety, an interesting coping strategy is to go overboard embracing it. I like to call it the "going crazy" technique. When you're feeling anxious, find a place that you can be alone and go nuts. Yell at mirrors. Scream. Punch pillows. In a way, make fun of the things you wish you can do. Have a bit of fun with it, but also let out all of your emotions. Throw stuffed animals. Flail your arms and jump around. Let yourself feel like you're letting out all of your emotions, and then some, to the point where you feel a bit silly, and then keep going with it. This lets you embrace the anxiety and not try to fight it, while also giving you an opportunity to hold it back. It's best to make sure no one is around, and don't break anything important to you, but as long as what you're doing is safe it can help you feel quite relaxed. 9. Make Love "When I get that feeling, I wantÂ… sexual healing." It's not a myth. Sexual intercourse can be incredibly calming. It is a distracting physical activity that releases endorphins and helps you feel more relaxed and less tense. If you have someone special in your life that understands that you're suffering from anxiety and is willing to share in some lovemaking in order to help you experience some relief from that anxiety, the two of you should come to some type of understanding that allows you to release some sexual energy, and possibly improve your relationship in the process. 10. Living in Today Finally, simply learning to live for today can impact your anxiety. One of the most important things that psychologists and counselors teach those with anxiety is: "Okay, you're anxious. So what?" Those with anxiety often start to focus too much on how they feel and their worries about the future. Each day becomes trying to live with anxiety instead of trying to live in general. Learning to embrace the idea that you have anxiety and trying to live a great and exciting life anyway is important. And what's interesting is that if you can learn to finally have that mindset - to let yourself experience the fear and try to live the life anyway - you will find that your anxiety tends to dissipate with it. It's not a cure, but it's close.
OnlyHuman77
June 1st, 2020 4:35am
tons! for many, yoga is very beneficial. Many others find comfort and calm in music and arts. Even just regular exercise can calm you down! there are also products marketed toward anxiety like fidgets, many different textures and colors of stress balls! People have also developed breathing techniques to cope with anxiety! my favorite is box breathing. Box breathing(or the way I learned it) goes like this; you inhale for 5-10 seconds, hold for 5-10 seconds, exhale for 5-10 seconds, and hold again for 5-10 seconds, you'd repeat this 5-10 times! Ultimately, you know your body and mind so you've gotta find something that works best for you. I hope this helped!
Ya93DC
February 15th, 2015 11:31pm
Take deep breaths by counting from 1-10 (or as high as you can go) as you inhale and doing the same as you exhale. Go for a run or walk or partake in any type of physical exercise that you enjoy. Use a journal to jot down your thoughts and even to-do's for the day/week so that you keep yourself grounded. This can also help you identify what is causing the anxiety, which is very important in working toward managing it.
Anonymous
April 30th, 2015 11:57pm
Taking long breaths, inhaling fresh air can really help. It makes a sudden surge of positive energy into your body making you feel relaxed and calm.
FeatherIce25
May 13th, 2015 7:34pm
A little breathing exercise where you close your eyes and breath from your core and exhale rhythemically helps. Also you can think of a beach, waves, birds chruping. Nature has a very soothing effect.
Anonymous
June 18th, 2015 12:18am
Yes, I for example like running, since it estimulates your brain to liberate endorphins, which makes you euphoric for a while. Or, if you can concentrate, read a book, for books transport you to another universe, where you have no worries.
NotDownYet
July 14th, 2015 4:43pm
For me, a good exercise is exercise itself. By giving my all in a workout (this is the important part), I have to focus so much on what I'm doing with my form and how many reps/how long I can go for that I don't have time or energy to worry. Another good one is tensing muscles. My anxiety manifests itself in tight muscles in my neck. I would tense these muscles for about 10 seconds, then release them and take some deep breaths. Focusing on the breathing, instead of your thoughts and whether or not you are feeling better yet, is important.
Anonymous
July 28th, 2015 10:23am
Holding breath - slows heart rate Breathing exercises - distracts you and levels breathing and heart rate Aroma Therapy - Clears Head, Calming Herbal Tea - Clears Head, Calming, Improves Health Meditation/Yoga - meditation actually increases the amount of grey matter in the brain, essentially rewiring the body to stress less. Look at clouds and work your 'overactive imagination', and make up stories with the shapes you see in the clouds
esistinmir
September 7th, 2015 9:06pm
I stick to the basics when I'm feeling like that: deep breathing and meditation. If you are religious, try praying, for example I've seen people saying that it really connects them to their inner self, which calms them down.
calmsunshine89
September 8th, 2015 3:08pm
Breathing exercises work great for me and taking a step back from the situation. It can be hard in the moment, but in the end, it makes the anxiety attack a little shorter.
nightthinker
September 14th, 2015 12:44pm
listening to music, yoga, walking, jogging, playing music, singing, drawing, sketching, writing, meditating
Anonymous
September 29th, 2015 6:08am
Sit down and breath focus on something like a hobby or an object until you feel like it's going away
ViewFromTheClouds
October 26th, 2015 2:50pm
I find counting coins, or other low-intensity, repetitive tasks help calm me down, I used to fold towels and clothes in the middle of the night when my anxiety would keep me awake.
Anonymous
November 10th, 2015 3:18am
You can try taking deep breaths, in and out, try using a stress ball and letting all your nerves flow into that or listen to some calming music, write, read or anything else you like to do that can take your mind off it.
Anonymous
November 17th, 2015 3:55pm
1. Belly breathing. Lie down or sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Inhale to the count of 3, letting the diaphragm expand away from your body. Exhale to the count of 3, letting the diaphragm move back to your body. Do this a few times, then check in with how you are feeling. 2. Body scan. Lie down or sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Start from the feet and work up. Focus on your feet. Become aware of how they feel. Stay with your feet while you take a deep breath, and slowly release that breath. Move on to the calves and do the same thing. When you reach your back and shoulders, notice any tension there. On the exhale, see if you can release the tension. Finish with the head. Take your time. Then check in with how you are feeling. Please notice that these exercises are designed to keep you focused in the present moment. Very often, anxiety involves a fear about the future. Research has shown that over 90% of our fears about the future never happen!
DiaSatirii
December 14th, 2015 2:37pm
I clean my room and successfully do household chores during my free time. I also make sure I get enough sleep and write down my thoughts.
Anonymous
December 22nd, 2015 9:21am
Running is a great way to overcome anxiety. Running is often related to a runner's high where the prolonged exercise releases dopamines and lowers blood pressure.
Anonymous
December 28th, 2015 12:03pm
Yes, lay down on the bed with no pillows and breathe deeply to the count of 4 and exhale to the count of 6, this helps in oxygenating your brain
Anonymous
January 4th, 2016 2:52pm
there are plenty of breathing exercises which you can use to help lower your heart rate and calm youself down. one i i use whenever i am feeling anxious about something is to breathe deeply in for about 4 or 5 seconds, then hold that breathe for a few seconds, then exhale slowly, and wait for a few more seconds before breathing in again
DelRio1598
March 28th, 2016 7:45pm
Something known as "Triangle Breathing" really helps me. It's where you try to just focus on your breathing so you calm yourself down and then can assess the situation properly. You want to breathe in on a 3 second count, hold your breath for a 3 second count, then exhale on a 3 second count and repeat until you feel a bit better. Practicing this technique while in a tranquil environment or situation is key though, for it wont work if you don't.
Eleni11
April 19th, 2016 8:58am
I have found mindfulness meditation very helpful for me in the past. It helps to relax your mind and your body and to focus on being in the moment and not thinking about the future or the past. You can start by simply meditating, sitting in a quiet room, feet flat on the floor, hands in your lap and you eye closed and just focus on your breathing and the way your body feels. Focus on how seperate parts of your body feel. If this isn't working for you try focusing back on your breath. This is only 1 technique and i'm sure if you even google or youtube, there will be materials that can help you get through the meditation. I hope this helps you, as it has helped me in the past many times.
Anonymous
May 31st, 2016 11:59pm
Take a deep breath. Look at or think of the stars above you and understand that there are much bigger things.
bandgirl182
June 2nd, 2016 5:03am
i have a severe anxiety and i have few things i do to calm myself like running/or just exercising in general, listening to my favorite music and holding my breath then exhaling slowly
Mia1
July 4th, 2016 1:37pm
7 cups has many resources for coping with anxiety! When you get anxious, try to take deep breaths. Listen to music, play with a family pet, read a book, take a hot bath. Do things that make you feel safe and calm your nerves a bit.
Anonymous
July 18th, 2016 7:45pm
getting participated in the most important activity you can do for yourself to keep yourself from anxiety
campfiremarshmallows27
August 16th, 2016 11:58pm
Of course, yoga is a brilliant way to calm yourself and feel free and like you understand your own body more, which can help grow your confidence. You can try and build yourself up to go to a gym or another public place where you can workout, which can increase your confidence and reduce certain anxious fears.