A Holistic Approach: How To Reduce Your Anxiety

Upset frustrated and confused female worker folding hands on chin feels puzzled having problem troubles and doubts about business moments, sitting in shared modern office with multinational coworkers

Key Points 

  • Anxiety is a common mental health condition marked by excessive dread, worry, and distress.

  • Identify your triggers and implement effective coping strategies to reduce anxiety.

  • Certain foods increase and decrease anxious feelings.

  • The 3-3-3 Rule is a grounding technique that helps to quickly decrease anxious feelings. 

Are you constantly stressed out? Does going to the grocery store or even a birthday gathering make you want to crawl inside a hole? Do common situations tend to feel like life or death? Does thinking about the future raise your heart rate? If so, these are strong signs you need to reduce anxiety in your life. 

Regardless of what’s causing your anxiety, your mind feels like it’s being pulled in a million different directions. Worst-case scenarios and what-ifs overpower your thoughts, tainting your ability to live, love, and be present with others. As hopeless as it feels, it’s never too late to start fighting for your mental health. Keep reading to learn strategies to easily and naturally reduce anxiety.

What Is Anxiety?

Affecting over 40 million Americans every year, anxiety is a mental health condition that provokes feelings of worry, tension, and distress. This overly apprehensive state of mind usually results from an external environment that feels unsafe and uncertain. If ignored, anxiety drastically impairs your quality of life.

While it’s highly treatable, anxiety tends to fly under the radar. Many victims shrug it off and go about their lives because they’re under the false impression that it's normal, happens to everyone, and is more of a private issue that people shouldn't talk about openly. 

Others fall prey to the negative stigma surrounding mental health and try to keep their anxiety under wraps, terrified of what people might think if they knew just how bad it gets. Since multiple forms of anxiety exist and are physically manifested in a variety of ways, it's difficult to diagnose at times.

Symptoms of Anxiety

Severe or chronic anxiety leaves you restless, irritable, and fatigued. The longer you have it, the more it hammers away at your joy, relationships, and sense of peace. It makes you feel trapped inside the walls of your deepest fears, leaving you utterly powerless. 

Like a nagging sensation that you just can’t seem to shake, anxiety is downright paralyzing. It interferes with your appetite, mental clarity, ability to go through your daily routine, or desire to leave home. 

If any of the above resonates with you, take a deep breath, let it all out, and soak in these next few words: There is nothing wrong with you, you are not alone in how you feel, and, most importantly, there are proven holistic methods to reduce your anxiety.

Woman stares into the distance unable to sleep

What Triggers Anxiety?

Maybe you’re a perfectionist and have way too much on your plate.

Not only are you stressed about getting everything checked off your to-do list in time, but you’re also pressuring yourself to do it all perfectly. If you don’t, you’ll probably beat yourself up a million times in your head instead of giving yourself the grace you deserve.

Maybe you have an unhealthy dependence on coffee. Who doesn’t love a trip to Starbucks? However, caffeine makes you jittery and activates your fight-or-flight response, adding to your uneasiness.

Perhaps you feel unsettled because your house is a total mess every time you come home. To make matters worse, you don’t have the time or energy to clean it. What’s supposed to be your safe-haven morphs into yet another thing wreaking havoc on your mind. 

Before taking steps to naturally alleviate your anxiety, be honest with yourself and identify any triggers. While genetics and brain chemistry are sometimes to blame, anxiety is more commonly linked to one’s personality and stems from negative experiences. 

Whether you’ve suffered physical or emotional abuse, self-neglect, indifference from your parents, a failed relationship, or the loss of a loved one, the fallout is brutal without proper help.

Traumatic life events shape your character, how you look at the world, and your tendency to respond to situations in timid, avoidant, or defensive ways. The same goes for loneliness, being bullied at any point in your life, and suppressing painful memories long-term.

Prevailing Anxiety Triggers

Anxiety is inevitable as every person encounters several of these stressors throughout their lifetime. However, it’s important to note that while rare and occasional anxiety is normal, prolonged and perpetual anxiety is not.

Here are some other common triggers to be aware of:

  • Stress about finances, work, or school

  • Fear of failure

  • Worrying about circumstances that are out of your control

  • Problems with your physical or mental health

  • Using recreational drugs or abusing alcohol

  • Taking certain prescription drugs such as steroids, antidepressants, stimulants, and thyroid medications

  • Undergoing a big change in your life

  • Conflict in relationships 

Man looks out a window anxiously

How to Reduce Anxiety Naturally?

While medications work for some, you don’t have to take prescription drugs to heal your anxiety. If you’d rather opt for a holistic approach, try implementing positive lifestyle changes, consuming healthier foods, quitting bad habits, and removing yourself from toxic situations or relationships. 

Consider the following strategies to holistically reduce your anxiety:

Make Time for Activities You Enjoy

Take rest days and unplug from the chaos of the outside world. This is crucial to defeating your anxiety because it helps you feel calm, relaxed, positively stimulated, and joyful.

Sleep in, get a massage, re-read your favorite book, snuggle your adorable pets, or spend quality time with people who make your heart smile. If the weather is nice, find a secluded spot, sit outside, and relish in the beauty and comfort of nature. 

Get Quality Exercise

It’s no secret that movement is a major stress reliever. It boosts serotonin levels and amps up your endorphins, both of which make you feel good from the inside out. Exercise produces a natural high, mimics the effects of painkillers, and fights off cortisol, a pesky stress hormone that skyrockets when you’re anxious. 

Get active by walking or running outdoors, taking a yoga class, trying indoor cycling, or going for a swim! 

Set Healthy Boundaries

Whether it’s learning how to say no or refusing to take on more than you can handle, setting healthy boundaries is a must. Doing so prevents conflict, improves your time management skills, forces you to take better care of your health, and enables you to appropriately navigate toxic home, work, or school environments.

Prioritize Sleep

Adequate sleep is a game-changer for your physical and mental well-being. Insufficient shut-eye makes your anxiety symptoms worse. If your anxiety escalates, then it’s much harder for you to fall asleep at night. 

Avoid this frustrating cycle by consistently going to bed earlier and ditching the caffeine. Can’t live without your morning coffee or latte? Switch to decaf — at least until you get your sleep schedule back on track!

Eat a Nutritious Diet

The rule of thumb for a healthy diet is less processed foods and more whole foods. Since inflammation tends to exacerbate existing mental health conditions, following an anti-inflammatory diet is imperative. Plus, it promotes weight loss and is better for your gut.

Search for foods that are high in magnesium, Vitamin B, Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, zinc, and antioxidants. Start with bananas, berries, avocados, dark chocolate, chicken, eggs, sweet potatoes, and spinach.

To further dodge anxiety symptoms, avoid the following:

  • Soda

  • Alcoholic drinks

  • Sugary treats

  • Pastries

  • Fried food

  • Junk food  

Woman chops vegetables to cure her anxiety

Start Journaling

Putting a pen to paper — or fingertips to keyboard or touch screen — is a powerful form of stress relief. Journaling grants you the ability to express your innermost thoughts without fear of judgment or being misunderstood. With every word you release, a crushing weight is lifted from your shoulders. 

Quit Unhealthy Habits

Whether or not people like to admit it, everyone has a vice. Yours might be smoking, staying up too late, or binging on junk food. Perhaps you struggle with people-pleasing, overthinking, or doing a little too much retail therapy. 

Bad habits provide you with temporary relief, but they pose negative consequences to your long-term physical, mental, and emotional health not to mention your relationships. While eliminating these habits is challenging, replacing them with healthy ones is the best way to break them. 

Listen to Uplifting Music

Music has an unmatched power to heal the spirit. It produces a calming effect and makes you feel deeply as you listen. Music transports your mind to an entirely different realm of comfort.

Bob Huffman, a music therapist, claims that music evokes memories and “takes us back to places and times that we remember fondly.” He goes on to describe how music lets you express "feelings and emotions where sometimes words fall short.” 

Let music therapy work its magic on your anxious feelings!

Laugh More

Have you ever had such a good laugh that you momentarily forgot what you were so upset about seconds before? 

There’s a reason why laughter is considered medicine for the soul. It lowers blood pressure, soothes pain, relieves tension, eases nerves, and encourages you to cope with stress and conflict more productively. 

Connect With a Loved One

Having someone in your corner is invaluable, especially when dealing with anxiety. Confide in a close friend, significant other, or family member that you wholeheartedly trust. Loved ones offer you support, validation, advice, comfort, and perhaps a different perspective to remedy your anxiety. 

Journal with a variety of words written on the pages

Let Go!

Letting go of what you can't control is a tough thing to accomplish, but it is also a catalyst for your healing journey. 

When you worry about something that hasn’t even happened yet, and then it does happen, you’re putting yourself through it twice! Ask anyone you know and they’ll undoubtedly insist that one heartbreak, traumatic event, or public embarrassment is enough. 

Plus, if that deepest, darkest fear residing in the back of your mind never even happens, and you finally decide to stop worrying about it, then you won’t have to go through it at all!  

Stop Procrastinating

People usually procrastinate because they either don’t feel like doing a task or they feel pressured to do the task perfectly. Either way, waiting until the last minute sends your body into massive panic mode and causes you to dread the assignment that much more.

Discipline yourself by completing it ahead of time and breaking down the task into smaller, achievable steps instead of trying to do it all at once. Small progress is better than no progress, and your nervous system will thank you immensely. 

Take a Social Media Hiatus

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Comparison is the thief of joy?” If so, you’ve likely witnessed just how accurate this saying is by logging on to social media. 

Evaluate how the seemingly happy relationships, fancy cars, successful careers, luxurious vacations, and perfectly-sculpted bodies that you see on your Instagram feed usually make you feel. From a sincere standpoint, does your answer most frequently resonate with feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, or bitterness?

If so, taking a break from social media is a wise and beneficial step toward improving your mental health. Removing the lens of comparison fills your perspective with enhanced gratitude for the people, circumstances, and blessings that are unique to your life, and gratitude is the antidote to anxiety. 

Yogi does a workout in their home

Remind Yourself This Too Shall Pass

You live in the present, so it's hard to look ahead to a time when you won’t be suffering from the anguish of your current reality. However, remind yourself that whatever is causing your anxiety right now won’t last forever. 

This is just a season –- a chapter in your life story –- and there are better times ahead filled with hope, healing, and laughter. Look forward to the beauty of what this world has to offer and let your dreams and ambitions carry you through this difficult season.

What Are 5 Coping Skills for Anxiety?

There are five distinct approaches to coping with your anxiety: emotion-focused, solution-focused, social support, spiritual, and proactive.

While the emotion-focused approach involves altering your emotional response to a stressor, the solution-focused path concentrates on solving a problem or, if possible, changing a situation by targeting the elements within your control.

The social support method involves either reaching out to a trusted friend or family member or joining a therapy group related to your specific anxiety condition. To cope spiritually, try finding comfort in prayer or pursuing a deeper relationship with God.

Lastly, the proactive approach requires you to anticipate the unavoidable everyday stressors that are particularly debilitating for you. From there, develop an achievable exit strategy that allows you to handle your anxiety symptoms in private. By having a backup plan in place, social settings and big life events won’t seem as scary. 

What Reduces Anxiety Fast?

Panic attacks tend to arrive at the worst possible moments. They don’t care that you have an important presentation, flight to catch, exam, or date with your crush.

Right when they hit, adrenaline surges through you. Your palms get shaky and clammy and your head becomes dizzy and disoriented. You feel a trickle of sweat travel down your spine and your stomach is suddenly not okay.

You desperately wish you could go home, crawl into bed, and hold yourself until the feeling passes. However, escaping the situation isn’t always feasible.

If you need to calm an anxiety attack fast, step outside for a moment. Find a private space, close your eyes, and slowly take a deep breath. Practice breathing through your diaphragm until your heartbeat slows down and you regain control.

Distract yourself by pulling up a digital photo of a happy memory and bask in how amazing you felt when in that moment. Call up a friend and let them talk you down (or give you a pep talk). Remind yourself that "this too shall pass" and you will make it to the other side. 

Man holds hands to his face appearing anxious

What Is the 3-3-3 Rule?

When your anxiety becomes all-consuming, the 3-3-3 Rule is a great grounding technique that combines the senses of sight, sound, and touch. It eases your symptoms by shifting your focus away from the chaotic internal dialogue plaguing your mind. 

Start by scanning your surroundings thoughtfully. Name three things you see and identify three things you hear. From there, move three parts of your body. Wiggle your toes, unclench your fists, or move your shoulders up and down.

Want to know the best part about the 3-3-3 Rule? Since it’s so subtle, you can perform this method anywhere and anytime without others around you noticing. 

Recap on Reducing Anxiety: You’ve Got This!

Charles Spurgeon, an influential theologian and preacher, stated that “anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” 

Reducing anxiety means controlling how you respond to what's happening around you — or what hasn’t happened yet. It also means gradually defeating your urge to overthink, worry, and stress about things outside of your reach. 

By labeling your triggers and applying the strategies and coping skills mentioned above, you are one step closer to overcoming your anxiety for good. 

Hang in there, enlist a quality support system, and take it day by day. You’ve got this! 

Was this article helpful?

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

Top 3 Stories