Tried and true anxiety hacks


For years you get through life with its ups and downs but always settle back into what feels normal … and then, all of a sudden, it seems like anxiety hangs around even when there’s nothing stressful going on. How did that happen!? It’s an unpleasant surprise that life isn’t as straightforward as it seemed when you were a child. It looks like everyone else is coping, so why, you ask yourself, aren’t you?

Well, I’ll let you in on something – they’re not doing any better than you are. We all have our weak point – for some it’s depression, others it’s anger problems and for the rest it’s usually anxiety. Human beings are actually all remarkably similar and none of us is perfect. But we all have the potential to feel calmer and more peaceful.

These 5 anxiety hacks are tried and true – nothing gimmicky, just logical, straightforward and effective. They will start to make a difference straightaway. Anxiety is a tricky customer though and, particularly if the problem is long standing, it can take some time for the symptoms to ease off – your nervous system will still be starting to settle, so keep going…

  1. Know that there’s nothing mysterious going on! there’s no fundamental flaw in you or in life, it’s just your body reacting to acute or accumulated stress. This stress can be self-generated (repeated negative, catastrophising, worrying or self-sabotaging thoughts, unhealthy lifestyle) or seem to come from your circumstances (trauma, impossible deadlines, emotional crisis, etc).
  2. Know that it’s safe to start to let go, to begin to relax. You feel like you want to hold on, to keep it together. If you let go you’ll fall apart – not true. Beginning to release the tension you’re holding in your body never hurt anyone! It’s one of the strongest messages you can give your nervous system that it doesn’t have to generate anxiety symptoms anymore.
  3. Eat soothing food. This really will make a difference especially if you have been dieting or are eating lots of cold, light, uncooked foods. The right diet can definitely help you feel more grounded. Check out this page for more info.
  4. Practise this 5 minute relaxation routine several times a day until it becomes second nature.
  5. Create a daily routine.  This is so simple yet it’s one of the most important anxiety hacks. The nervous system is unsettled by uncertainty and irregularity and soothed by routine. When anxiety is high it can be very difficult to make even simple decisions. Having a basic structure to your day reduces the need to make decisions about what to do next and helps to anchor that restless, flighty nervous energy. Reduce uncertainty and the need to make decisions by adopting a regular programme for your day as far as possible. Take it a little at a time until you are eating, sleeping, getting out of bed, exercising and so on, at roughly the same times everyday. Plan your work schedule and get in the habit of writing a list every evening of the things you intend to do the next day outside of your routine. Keep the list short and realistic.

Check out reducing anxiety for more anxiety hacks.