10 Ways to Stop Anxiety

Most of my adult life I have been affected by social anxiety, not to the point of panic attacks, but I would often find any excuse to split from a situation in which I didn’t feel comfortable. Anxiety can be downright debilitating at times.

In a recent post, I shared an email to a friend of ours having a bit of a tough time, the email outlined my suggestions for 10 ways to stop depression. Depression is living in the past, so for those of you who live in the future with anxiety I have compiled a list of 10 ways to beat anxiety that I have found effective in my life:

  1. Anxiety is living in the future – bring yourself back to now – feel the flow of air through your nostrils. Intensely concentrating on a sensation in your own body makes it difficult to think about anything let alone the future.
  2. Look for the positive opportunities – Try to think  “I didn’t have this experience yesterday, I won’t have it again tomorrow, so I am going to enjoy it today” See what you might be able to enjoy in the experience. Spin fear into gratitude and anticipation, have a quick review of your ‘highlight reel’ and go in with the attitude that ‘this could add to that reel’
  3. Eat healthy unprocessed foods. What you put into your body affects your body chemistry and in turn how well the brain functions. Think of a 3-year old hopped up on sugar… baaaaah – the opposite of calm. Keep it natural, that is how we evolved as a species.
  4. Don’t build up any event in your head before time. Stay present and enjoy the experience as it happens.
  5. Meditate before an event to get yourself centred.  Keep coming back to your point of focus.
  6. Be aware of your bodily sensations.  when you start to feel tension, pain, adrenaline ask yourself “What must I be thinking to feel this way?” If you can isolate a thought or belief that is causing the stress, check the validity of that concern, and the true worst case scenario that is rarely as bad as anticipated. If you can Isolate the thought that is causing stress, try to upgrade from wishing for something to be different to the thought of acceptance that life is a rollercoaster – good with the bad – which helps reduce stress.
  7. Get enough sleep prior to any event which may cause anxiety. Adequate sleep helps to reduce cortisol levels and improves brain function.
  8. Don’t worry about what other people think or say, it’s none of your business anyway. If someone else has a problem, it is theirs alone.
  9. If conversation is your weak point (like mine) have some conversation starters up your sleeve. My favourite “What personal projects are you working on at the moment?”. In general conversaion where the other person tends to us short answers, which tends to kill conversation, switch to continuing questions like ‘How’ or ‘Why’ they did something to get an explaination. Stay focused and listen to what the other person is saying, trying to truly comprehend, and forget about what you are going to say next, wait for the pause that signifies they are finished before your turn.
  10. Watch your body language – use your power pose. Our body posture often dictates our mental state. Hold your body in a stance of power (almost as if you were wearing a cape and looking like superman) and you may find your mind shifts accordingly.

These are my go-to methods to reduce my stress prior to and during an event. Give them a try and let me know how you go in the comments below, or if there is anything that I have missed that you have found effective.

About The Author

Ian Schell

Ian is a machine designer who has fought a long-standing battle with depression and won. Ian's vision is simple: 'Create a better world through growth, progress and innovation'.