— Arthur Somers Roche
Though the term is often used conversationally to express stress or nervousness, for many people “anxiety” is a very real, very serious condition.
Medically, anxiety refers to any number of conditions that cause fear and worry so severe that they interfere with a person’s ability to function normally in their day-to-day lives. Symptoms include everything from trembling to heart palpitations. And, as anyone with anxiety will tell you, sometimes the feeling comes on without warning and is terribly difficult to quell. In the moment, anxiety symptoms can be so relentless that finding a remedy seems impossible. But what if you could do little things every day to prevent those feelings from even coming about at all.
Here are our 7 simple ways to ease your anxiety over 7 days:
Day 1: Try mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation is derived from Buddhist tradition and involves taking a quiet moment to take stock of yourself, your actions, and your surroundings. According to Harvard Help Guide, “above all, mindfulness practice involves accepting whatever is arising in your awareness at each moment.”
For those grappling with anxiety, mindfulness meditation can help you control negative emotions while channeling positive ones. A 2014 study also found that meditation helps ease psychological stress and increase general well-being in adults who expressed problems with anxiety, depression, and stress.
Day 2: Take a hot bath with epsom salt
Warm baths are super soothing, but epsom salt can take them to the next level. The magnesium in epsom salt has been shown to relieve everything from minor aches and pains to chronic arthritis. But, according to mindbodygreen, it can also help relieve stress.
“Magnesium helps promote a feeling of calm and relaxation,” Jen Broyles writes. “ It also increases energy and reduces irritability. Epsom salt baths can help improve your sleep and concentration.”
Day 3: Question your thoughts
Anxiety often causes irrational thoughts. Questioning those thoughts can help you combat the worry that occurs as a result. Dr. Marla W. Diebler told PsychCentral that asking yourself some of these questions can help you avoid an anxious moment:
- Is this worry realistic?
- If the worst possible outcome happens, what would be so bad about that?
- Could I handle that?
- What might I do?
- Is this really true or does it just seem that way?
Day 4: Start a journal
What’s making you anxious? Sometimes keeping your negative emotions bottled up can make them seem even worse. Much like asking yourself important questions, journaling can help you get a handle on what’s bothering you and decide whether it’s even worthwhile to spend your time thinking about it.
Day 5: Keep a few positive affirmations
The whole idea here is to counteract your overwhelming negative thoughts. So, before a thought becomes too worrisome, combat it with an affirmation to calm and comfort yourself. It can be as simple as “I am calm, safe, and protected” or tackle the anxiety straight on, affirming “my anxiety will not control me.”
Whatever affirmation you choose, try to make it your mantra both in peaceful times and in moments when you feel your anxiety creeping up.
Day 6: Fix your diet
Your mind and your body are connected. Eating a balanced diet keeps your body physically in check and, inevitably, gives you one less thing to worry about. Turkey, whole wheat bread, salmon, and greek yogurt are among the foods believed to help ease anxiety, according to Everyday Health. Coffee, pastries, and alcohol are among the items you should probably avoid.
Day 7: Try coloring books
This may seem silly at first, but adult coloring is becoming increasingly popular. It’s an unconventional hobby, but has been shown to have some real mental health benefits. If you’re trying to ward off anxiety, you may want to give it a try.
“There’s a self-soothing meditative benefit because you are doing the same motion over and over, especially with symmetrical drawings,” psychotherapist and board-certified art therapist Lina Assad Cates told the Washington Post.
Once you’ve made it to day 7, circle back to the beginning and try it all again.