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Self Calming Techniques for Anxiety

author image Kat Long
I am a freelance journalist and author of the forthcoming book THE FORBIDDEN APPLE: A Century of Sex and Sin in New York City (Ig Publishing, January 2009). I have a number of years' experience in writing about local culture in New York City, including trend pieces, food and restaurant reviews, celebrity profiles and investigative stories. In addition, I've written about topics of national scope for Playgirl, BUST, PlanetOut Publishing and other outlets. I am currently looking for freelance writing assignments that have the potential to develop into long-term working relationships.
Self Calming Techniques for Anxiety
A young business man meditating in a busy public area. Photo Credit: Rupert King/Photodisc/Getty Images

Forty million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. While many take prescription anti-anxiety medications, sufferers can also adopt a daily routine of self-calming techniques that lessen the everyday stressors that trigger anxiety attacks. Talk to your doctor before beginning any at-home anxiety treatment or therapy; he may suggest personalized techniques for relaxation.

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Step 1

Take a deep breath and count to 10. Anxiety can make you want to take immediate, impulsive action to solve a problem, but taking a 10-second time-out when you're feeling overwhelmed will help you make better decisions.

Step 2

Ask yourself if a problem is really as bad as it seems. Are you overreacting to a person or situation that seems to bring about your anxiety attacks? Is there a better way to handle the issue? Anxiety can be a cause of or reaction to feelings of powerlessness and loss of control, so try to put things in perspective and realize that you can't regulate all the forces around you.

Step 3

Eliminate your triggers as much as possible. Triggers are people, situations or thoughts that send anxiety sufferers into panic mode. Working through problems or dilemmas in a logical, productive way can reduce the triggers' effect.

Step 4

Exercise regularly. The Mayo Clinic suggests exercising on most days of the week to get your mind off the anxiety circuit. Walking, jogging, lifting weights, dancing or taking a fitness class will both ease your mind and improve your health. Meditation, yoga or tai chi will also focus the mind away from anxious feelings.

Step 5

Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Proper nutrition is key to warding off anxiety and potential related problems, such as heart palpitations, hyperventilation, insomnia and other mental health disorders. Quit smoking and avoid drinking alcohol, a depressant that may contribute to anxiety.

Step 6

Listen to a CD of calming music to relax and recenter yourself when the going gets tough. Load your iPod with relaxing soundscapes or uplifting tunes to accompany your exercise sessions.

Step 7

Get plenty of sound sleep. The effects of restless nights and insomnia can compound over time, leaving you feeling unable to cope with anxiety. Good sleep refreshes your faculties.

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