Dealing with anxiety can ruin an otherwise perfect day in an instant.
Anxiety is like that person that no one invited to the party, yet they show up anyways and ruin everyone else’s fun.
I simply can’t count the amount of times the stage was set for me to have a fantastic day, only for anxiety to show up and ruin it.
Anxiety doesn’t care if the sun is shining or if you have important plans. Like any bully, it shows up when it wants, takes what it wants, and leaves when it wants.
If you don’t learn how to defend yourself against anxiety, you may be fighting this battle for a long time.
I’ve personally dealt with unprovoked anxiety for over a decade.
In this period of time, I have managed to learn some extremely effective methods to calm myself down almost immediately.
These methods are not long term solutions. They are simply techniques you can use to calm your mind on days where your anxiety feels overwhelming.
Mindset Shifts To Calm Your Mind
I know you probably want to get into the bread and butter techniques right away but first I need to discuss a few simple shifts of thinking that can change everything.
In fact, I use these mindset shifts almost daily while dealing with General Anxiety Disorder.
They are available to you 100% of the time.
Whether you are at work, out with friends, or in the comfort of your own home, these tips can save your day and calm your mind instantly.
It has been my personal experience that a lot of my anxiety stems from my mind’s need to control everything.
There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done and at the same time my mind wants everything done now.
I am highly impatient and perhaps even a little bit entitled.
With this state of mind I get myself into trouble.
If I am not careful, I forget to enjoy the journey and solely focus on the future.
This leaves me with no enjoyment of the present moment, and a constant concern for the future.
To fix this, I force myself to stop and think if my worries are real and urgent or simply present due to my inability to control a given situation.
For example: I want this blog to be successful with all my heart. Even though I have only been working on it for roughly four months I feel the need to see success now.
If I play into this, I get anxious about the fact that I am not there yet. In this situation I am focussing on the destination and not enjoying the journey.
This is where forfeiting control can dramatically calm your mind.
Instead I do my best to enjoy every second of the process. I will control what I can (put in the work) and the results will come when they come.
By just taking time to breathe, relax, and convince yourself everything will work out, you take a dramatic weight off of your mind.
The universe has a plan whether you like it or not.
You can choose to take the ride or meet it with resistance and anxiety every step of the way.
Nothing Unreal Exists
This mindset shift can be extremely effective if practiced regularly. I truly believe it can benefit you if you choose to use it in times of need.
Remember when you were a kid and you were scared of monsters?
I am here to tell you that anxiety has about as much power over you as monsters did when you were younger.
Sure anxiety can be extremely scary, and I know from personal experience it sure feels real.
However, over the years reality has taught me a different truth.
In order to calm your mind almost immediately, tell yourself the worry you are facing is not real!
Your mind is simply getting ahead of itself, and placing excess importance on things that don’t really matter.
Once you realize this, every other step in this list becomes easier.
I understand this is easier said than done but with practice you can master any trick.
If you’ve been dealing with anxiety for a long time, there has likely been many days where it felt like everything was going to come crashing down.
When we realize how many times our concerns actually manifested themselves into reality, it becomes clear we are wasting energy and time stuck inside our own minds.
Next time you are stuck inside your head try telling yourself the worry you are facing isn’t real.
If it is not real, it does not exist and if it does not exist, like monsters, it can do no harm.
Take a few deep breaths and shift your focus to more productive thoughts.
Cross Your Bridges When You Get To Them
This concept took me a long time to grasp but absolutely changed my life and way of thinking once I did.
For many of us with anxiety we are put our focus on events set far in the future and feel overwhelmed with concern of the outcome.
Today has enough to worry about! Focus on the present day and fix what you can.
With this fix-as-you-go type mentality, you can simultaneously calm your mind and set yourself up for success!
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own – Jesus (Mathew 6:34)
Techniques To Calm Your Mind
Hopefully you found the mindset tricks helpful.
I understand that changing your thinking can only take you so far some days.
During the times you can’t outsmart your anxiety, try using these methods to conquer it.
Hit A Punching Bag
There is a reason I put the punching bag as my number one technique to calm your mind.
I doubt most people associate throwing punches and kicks at a bag with a calm mind. In fact, many people may see it as a sign of aggression.
That may be true and honestly the release of pent up aggression might be why it works so well!
It is the one time I let myself feel angry at my situation.
I channel my frustrations and anxiety into the bag and soon enough I forget that I was bothered.
Every single time I do this I feel better within minutes. In fact it is one of my primary techniques for conquering mild depression as well.
It is empowering and relieving at the same time.. You have to try it out!
Stop And Give Me 10
Nice deep breaths.
Anytime you find yourself losing control or giving in to worries that do not exist, stop and take 10 deep breaths.
It does not need to be exaggerated and you can perform this exercise anywhere.
Shifting your thoughts back into your breathing will help slow your worries and calm your mind.
This is pretty generic advice but it is highly effective.
I perform this a minimum of three times a day while I am at work and I always feel more grounded afterwards.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine the lungs and improper breathing are considered to be the root causes of anxiety.
It is no wonder breathing exercises such as meditation and yoga have become so popular in today’s anxiety filled world.
Be like Buddha and breathe with your belly whenever possible.
Go Out In Nature
There is something indescribably healing about nature.
Whether it is a nice sunny day in the forest, or a clear night full of stars, nature never fails to calm your mind.
Unfortunately social media, television, and the internet keep us inside all day and rob us of the benefits nature has to offer.
Take your dog for a walk, stroll through the forest, or go to a nearby lake and just soak it in.
Nature has no expectations of you, all you have to do is show up and it will take care of you.
Check out GoOutside.live for an awesome blog relating outdoors to mental health!
Get Engaged In Something
As Dale Carnegie states in his book How To Stop Worrying And Start Living, it is literally impossible for you or any other human being to think of more than one thing at the same time.
Naturally if you are sitting around doing nothing, your mind has much more freedom to wander.
If you were instead engaging in anything such as exercise, guided meditation, sports, building something and so on, you would not allow your mind any wiggle room.
For this reason alone this blog has been a blessing for me. It constantly has my attention and focus.
Before this blog, I would consistently engage in anxieties about my health, my job, my future, etc.
If I did not have these things in my life, I would lack focus and my mind would be free to reign terror on my well being.
On the days your anxiety is over riding your command, get busy and tune it out.
Sit In A Steam Room
Steam rooms have been a go to of mine since I was in high school.
Sitting in a steam room used to be the perfect way for me to wind down after a workout.
As my anxiety picked up it was a nice escape, I could just sit on my own and focus on my breathing.
The steam and the heat feel purifying and I feel like the steam does a little cleansing of my soul.
Steam rooms are a great way to sweat out a lot of toxins and negative energy.
If your lucky, your gym may have a punching bag and a steam room for a one stop shop.
Take A Nap
In my opinion it is much easier to control your emotions when you are well rested.
I used to think of naps as a sign of weakness or a waste of time.
I changed my perspective and I now view them as a productive means towards my mental and physical health goals.
A one hour nap gives me energy to do two hours worth of work.
That may allow me to go to the gym which will reduce my anxiety and additionally cook a nice healthy meal.
If I was tired, I may instead have opted for fast food and the couch.
Additionally, many times a nap can completely reset your negative thought patterns.
Almost like hitting the refresh button!
Emergency Medication Usage
To be clear, I am not a doctor nor am I an advocate of taking medication.
In fact, one of the primary purposes of this blog is to help people reclaim their mental health without medication.
With this in mind, some people are starting farther behind than others.
Back in 2015 my anxiety was through the roof and I was having panic attacks almost daily. It was extremely exhausting and I developed anxiety about having anxiety…
The techniques I listed above work great, that I promise. However, if I had read this list back in 2015 it likely wouldn’t have been enough to get me out of the hole I was in.
This is where Diazepam (Valium) comes in.
Diazepam is an anti-anxiety medication under the family of benzodiazepines.
Without going into too much detail, it has strong effects on the neurotransmitter GABA which results in very calming effects.
One of the reasons I found Diazepam beneficial back in 2015 was the fact that it could be used on an as needed basis.
Most anti-anxiety medication prescribed by doctors must be taken daily and can take weeks to offer initial benefits.
This article was written to help you kill anxiety on the spot!
Diazepam was the defense I needed to overcome the revolving door of anxiety.
I would only ever take it on the days my anxiety was at its peak but it was always an effective aid to calm my mind.
The simple fact that I had something I could take in an emergency situation was a huge relief for me and in all honesty made me strive for more.
Having a safety net, I could push my comfort zone and test my own personal limits.
If things got out of hand it was there to break the fall.
Please be aware benzodiazepines can be very addicting both physically and psychologically!
For someone who has experienced relief they haven’t known in years, it can be very easy to start relying on pills.
This is not how I intend to use them. I recommend no more than 2x/week to avoid tolerance and addictive potential.
Perhaps a less addicting alternative to diazepam is propranolol.
Propranolol is of the beta blocker family. Its anxiety reducing actions come from its ability to modulate the heart rate.
While I find diazepam to be a very effective medication to calm your mind, propranolol is much better for reducing physical symptoms of anxiety.
In fact, depending on your symptom profile, propranolol may be a better alternative to piggy back you through a panic attack.
It has saved me on multiple occasions where I felt like everything was crashing down.
Like diazepam, you will need a doctors prescription to get propranolol and it should only be used for emergency situations.
It is another medication that exhibits effects almost immediately, making it a great safety net.
With the right tools presented to you, there is no longer a reason to let anxiety control your life and dictate how you spend your days!
In time these techniques will compound in effectiveness and help you reclaim some peace in your life.
If you would love to hear of anything you personally benefit from whether it is on this list or not!