12. Plan ahead. Fight anxious thoughts in advance by preparing for the day ahead. Try making a schedule or a to-do list and develop habits that increase productivity. So instead of spending 10 extra minutes every morning frantically looking for those keys, make a habit of always putting them in the same place when you come home. Lay out clothes the night before, pack a gym bag and leave it by the door, or make lunch ahead of time. Focus on how to “un-think” the anxiety-producing beliefs by prepping before they pop up.
13. Visualize anything positive. When confronted with anxious thoughts, take a moment to visualize yourself handling the situation with calm, ease, and clarity. Try not to pay attention to the current mental state; just focus on the feeling of smooth-sailing through the storm. The technique is called “guided imagery” or “guided visualization” and can help reduce feelings of stress.
14. Smell something relaxing. Try sniffing some calming oils. Basil, anise, and chamomile are great choices; they reduce tension in the body and help increase mental clarity.
15. Hang out. People who have lots of social support tend to react less negatively to stress than those who fly solo. That’s probably because socializing stimulates the production of the hormone oxytocin, which has an anxiety-reducing effect. So the next time a freak-out appears on the horizon, grab some pals and go for a walk or just have a quick chat.
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t come up with thoughts that produce stress or anxiety. But we’re human and inevitably worry about things. So when we do start to freak, there are lots of little steps we can take to change our thoughts, calm the brain, relax the body, and get back in the game.
And, as always, be sure to check with a psychotherapist if these tips don’t cut it and you need a little extra help tackling a more significant anxiety issue!
Do you feel overwhelmed by daily stresses? What do you do to cope with anxiety? Comment below or tweet the author at @giuliana_h.
This article was read and approved by Greatist Experts Dr. Michael Mantell and Dr. Jeffrey Rubin.