1. Take a hot shower
Visualize the water literally washing your anxieties off of you and down the drain. Gone forever.
2. Close your computer
Put your phone face down. Take a walk around the block. If it’s possible, take a weekend away from where you live, even if it’s just to a smaller, nearby city. You can facilitate mental perspective by forcing physical perspective. Physical distance literally makes your problems seem smaller.
3. Shoot a gun
When we were growing up people would say that if you are angry you should punch a pillow. This was later discovered to be bad advice. Letting your aggression out can pump you up until you just feel more angry. This isn’t why shooting a gun works. Go to a gun range. You will feel powerful. Not feeling a whole lot of self efficacy is the root of anxiety, feeling powerful means you feel much bigger than any of your problems. Translate that boss bitch feeling into the knowledge that you can handle whatever comes your way.
4. Look at something physically beautiful
The ocean. Mountains. Art. Beautiful things have a calming effect on us when our thoughts get too fast.
5. Watch Anchorman
Laughter is good medicine! If you don’t have time to sit and watch a movie, check the curated ‘LOL’ tag on Tumblr or Mindy Kaling’s twitter feed. Find something that gives you a good belly laugh or read uplifting articles
6. Pop music
How can you be in a sad mood when Party in the USA is playing? (Data unavailable, this had never happened.)
7. Be grateful
Being grateful is a great way to not be anxious. Make a list of things in your life you are thankful for. This puts your worries into perspective and shows that you have a safety net of people who love you and things that are actually going right.
8. Take a nap or eat
Anxiety often has little to do with actual problems, and everything to do with our inability to stop thinking about them. If you’re hungry or tired, you’re already at a disadvantage to feel emotionally healthy. This is an easy, quick fix to get on a level playing field with your emotions.
This is what everyone tells you to do, because it’s true. I think of sweat as my anxieties physically leaving my body. It’s more scientific than that, though, exercising tells your brain to make you feel good.
10. Make lists
Perhaps you feel anxious because you have underprepared for a meeting tomorrow or are worried you will forget your headphones for your vacation. Sit down for a few minutes and clear your head by figuring out what it is you are anxious about and doing one step to over-prepare for it.
This also works because it opens up space in your brain. Instead of trying to remember “pack headphones in the morning” you could simply do that task or write a reminder note and then you can let go of the thought.
11. Force perspective
A big problem with anxiety is that your problems seem overwhelming and gargantuan. It’s a relief to remember that you don’t have to tackle your whole problem in one sitting. List out just one tiny thing you can do to move forward today. When can you do this week? This month? Don’t put any deadlines on yourself you wouldn’t put on another person if you were asking them to do the same thing. You are a human, you don’t need to perform miracles.
Think of a few times that you have had a huge, overwhelming problem that you never thought you would see the other side of. You did, eventually. Everything always works out. Even the worst storm runs out of rain.
13. Keep a compliment journal
Write down things that people said about you that make you feel happy and confident, you can flip through it when you are down. Make a special folder for praise in your work and personal email. You’ll be surprised how much even recycled positivity can boost your mood.
Sometimes when I’m feeling stressed I realize it is just because my desk/apartment is a mess and that “mess” feeling translates into how I’m feeling about my life. Take a chunk of time and do a deep clean, or just tidy up one area. Moving the physical junk back into it’s place has an effect on moving mental junk into it’s place.
15. Cuddle with a pet
Pets are the best listeners and a good dog or cat knows how to make you feel better, simply by playing little spoon.
Put your favorite outfit on. Do your make-up and hair. Don’t you feel a hell of a lot better about tackling your life now?
You could be feeling anxious because you are not sure what you are anxious about. Sit down at your computer and type fast, get the feelings on the page and then go back and identify what they are. You can be extremely surprised that you were angry about a situation or felt wronged without ever articulating it to yourself. You can’t solve a problem until you know what the problem is, so journaling can be a valuable tool in feeling happier.