top of page
  • Writer's pictureEric Gilbert

Top 10 Daily Strategies To Reduce Anxiety

Struggling with stress and anxiety day after day takes a significant toll on your mind, body, and soul. In recent years, research has provided some of the most effective techniques for reducing anxiety.

These are the top 10 techniques that I personally practice to help me live with more peace and purpose every day.

  1. Quiet time with God. Find a quiet place to be alone with God and turn your full attention to Jesus. It's true what the 100 year old hymn says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim. In the light of His glory and grace." See what changes take place in your mind and heart as you give God even just 10 minutes of your morning each day. I almost always do my devotions while eating breakfast. Because I always eat breakfast, it anchors me into the habit of having quality time with God every day.

  2. Keep a gratitude journal to adjust your thoughts and attitude. Studies show that daily gratitude reduces your anxiety, improves your health, resiliency, optimism, relationships, and even helps you sleep better! With so much negativity out there you need to prescribe yourself a daily dose of good news. My recommendation is to start simple. Grab a pen and notepad and write down 3 to 5 things that you see that you are grateful for. Example: I'm grateful for my home, food on table, pet, computer, good health, and photos that bring back fond memories. The more detail the better. For an even bigger boost, tell a friend or family member in person why you are thankful for them and the difference they make in your life.

  3. Exercise daily. Make sure that you sweat. Even with busy mornings, I still make an effort to exercise at least 10 minutes before heading out the door. My primary motivation isn't to burn calories or get a six pack. It's actually to shake the stress away and feel ready to take on the day. This is because physical exercise stimulates the release of endorphins - hormones that interact with the brain and trigger positive bodily feelings. As a bonus, try listening to upbeat music too. You can start with walking outside or YouTube workout videos.

  4. Drink lots of water, eat fruits and vegetables, and limit alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. Let me be the first to say that I really enjoy drinking a cup of coffee. But when I heard that caffeine is likely to increase anxiety, I had to put it to the test. Turns out it's true. Time and time again, I find that after drinking coffee I am more likely to worry, ruminate, or second-guess my actions. My recommendation is to keep the coffee and alcohol to the weekends, put at least one fruit and/or vegetable into every meal, limit sweets, and always have a bottle of water with you (even next to your bed at night).

  5. Practice relaxation techniques and self-care. Simply practicing relaxation techniques for just half an hour a day can produce effects similar to those of antidepressants, without any side effects. With so many techniques to choose from, I will share some of my personal favorites. When I'm really feeling anxious, I wrap one hand around the other and squeeze the center of my palm with my thumb on the inside and other fingers on the outside. As I do this, I count my breaths and even say a relaxing color to help me visualize that color. Usually doing this for 30 seconds is all it takes for me to feel the anxiety starting to lift. Another method is to bring awareness to where anxiety likes to hang out in your body. When I feel anxious, I usually clench my jaw and I feel my chest tighten. This is my body giving me cues that it needs some reassurance. So, I simply take a moment to acknowledge the feeling and assure myself that it's going to be alright because God is on the throne watching over my life. I also practice self-care through quiet moments with God and usually a book. Studies show that stress declines by 68% after just 5 minutes of reading.

  6. Aromatherapy and body movements. As a man, I was hesitant to try out different essential oils and candles because I thought it was too girly. For example, I really enjoyed the smell of gasoline as a kid when my family pulled the car up to the pump. But as I started trying different scents, I found that some essential oils really do relax my mind and body. What's more, I can also concentrate for longer periods of time. So being more productive sometimes smells a lot like lavender and peppermint. When I feel especially anxious and tight, I practice some neurosculpting techniques. One example is to stand up and to shake the stress off your body for 30 seconds. Shaking your body like this sends signals to your brain to release you from an anxious state of mind. It may seem strange at first, but try it and feel the 'clouds' start lifting off you. If you tend to feel anxiety in a certain part of your body (I often feel mine in my jaw and stomach), concentrate on squeezing this parts of your body for a few seconds and then totally releasing the tension. Do this 5 to 10 times and you'll feel the difference!

  7. Limit your to-do list and organize your work space. As a business owner and entrepreneur, I often would want to make long lists of everything that I wanted to accomplish for the day. But can you guess what would happen? I would often start feeling overwhelmed and end up not knowing where to start. Even as I started completing tasks, it felt like it was not good enough because so many things still 'needed' to be done. Now, I use a much simpler and effective method. I write out the top 3 to 5 things that matter most for me to accomplish. And then, I write out the one thing that matters most to me at that moment on a separate slip of paper. It's amazing how much more productive and concentrated I am when I have a single task to accomplish at that moment. Also, I often have lots of papers around my desk. But each of those papers represents a possible distraction to my mind. I've noticed that the cleaner my desk, the clearer my mind, and the calmer my emotions.

  8. Be in the moment and limit your screen time. Speaking of a clear mind, have you discovered the beauty of mindfulness yet? Anxiety is often a sign that we are thinking too much about the future and what might go wrong. Being aware of your body, your thoughts, and your current surroundings will give you greater peace and power in the moment. A simple way to start this is to take 3 deep breaths and notice how your chest and stomach rise and fall with the air. Social media, TV, video games, and computers all take us away from what is happening in our environment. It removes us from our current reality. This may feel good for a while, but studies show it only adds to our worry and inability to concentrate. My simple recommendation is to limit your casual screen time to 2 hours and stop all screens 2 hours before bedtime. Listening to music or reading a book is still perfectly OK.

  9. Be present and kind in your relationships. The theme of anxiety is so often focused on ourselves. What will _____ think of me? Why am I not more like ______? What will happen to me if _________? Because anxiety requires so much energy, one of the best ways to turn things around is to make more meaningful relationship with select, healthy people around you. If you are currently struggling with relationships, find a place to volunteer or to do a good deed for others. I find that when I turn my attention lovingly towards someone else, all those thoughts and energy are able to find a purpose in sharing life with someone else.

  10. Get 8 hours of sleep per night. Seriously? Yes. If you think there is no way to do this, first go back to #8 and read the part about limiting your screen time again. If 8 hours seems like it will never happen, try this. Run an experiment for two weeks. Write out your bedtime and waking time for each day. And make sure you have an absolute cut off time to go to bed. Start recording your results. Write down your emotions, level of anxiety, stress, health, etc. See what difference the extra sleep makes for you. For several years in college and as a working adult, I kept my sleep limited to about 6 1/2 hours or less because I was convinced that any more sleep than that would make me lazy. But finally I tested my results to see if I would actually get more done if I slept the 8 to 9 hours per night. I think you can guess what result I found. If you struggle to turn your mind off at night, develop an evening ritual that cues your body and mind that it's time to sleep. Watching Netflix in bed gets your body all excited with entertainment and teaches yourself that being in bed means staying awake. Break out of this cycle by saving your screen time away from your bed and having a series of actions you take before falling asleep. For example, I turn off my phone (shocking), feed my cats, put on my pajamas, use the restroom, brush my teeth, and then crawl into bed. Even though anxious thoughts may still try to enter my mind, my sleeping habit is so strong that I fall fast asleep within 10 minutes of putting my head on the pillow.

As you start practicing these daily habits, you likely will start to feel the clouds and storm starting to lift. It can still be most effective to receive help from a professional. If you decide to work together with us at Rising Calm Center, we will get to know your specific needs and habits, and create an action-plan tailored to your situation and style.

I offer a free 15-30 minute consultation where I can explain our process, answer any questions, and help you understand how to improve your mood and thoughts on a daily basis.

To receive your free consultation, give us a quick call or text at: (352) 870-9883.


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page