7 Daily Habits For Calming Your Anxiety

A woman lying on a blue sofa reading a book

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Everyone can experience periods of anxiety, some can have further problems with anxiety that need help controlling. According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in 13 people globally suffer from anxiety.

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear. We can all feel anxious at times, but anxiety may be a mental health problem if your feelings are very strong or last a long time. If that is the case, you should speak to a healthcare professional.

The great news is that you can learn to manage your anxiety more effectively through counselling, CBT, medication or implementing coping strategies. Here are 7 daily habits that will help you manage your symptoms and calm that anxiety and help you to feel more in control of your life and your mental health.

1. Journal

Journaling is a powerful form of self-care and can be hugely beneficial to your mental health. Journaling is a great way to shift your perspective. You can write own all your anxieties, thoughts and feelings and clear your head. You can then come back to what you have written with fresh eyes. When you see them down on paper, they can seem less daunting or overwhelming. Using a journal is a great way to observe your thoughts and helps you to connect to your intuition every day.

If you are new to journaling, it can be a daunting task. You ca try small by just simply bullet pointing what your thoughts or worries are. If you are looking to delve a little deeper, the use of journaling prompts can be useful to prompts that can help you to work towards healing and help you to reflect. I have always kept a journal or a diary on and off since I was a young child. I find writing down my thoughts, feelings or even about my day incredibly cathartic. It can be helpful when you are feeling anxious because it focuses your mind on the words you are writing and how the pen feels in your hand and less on those anxious thoughts.

2. Practise Gratitude

Practising gratitude is an effective way to deal with your anxieties. When you regularly practise gratitude, you are allowed to focus on the good things and what positive things you have to work towards.

By choosing to practise gratitude when you are feeling anxious, allows you to shift your perspective. Instead of continuously thinking about your fears, you are thinking of everything that is going well for you at the time. A simple way to practise gratitude is to keep a journal. You can set up a gratitude journal and use it each morning, so that you can start your day on a positive note.

One of the hardest parts of dealing with anxiety is that your minds are constantly racing and you have thoughts rattling around in your head. Keeping a gratitude journal helps to combat anxiety because it allows you to learn about your thoughts process and gives you clarity when you have focused your thoughts elsewhere.

A person writing in a journal with a black pen

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3. Move More

Moving more doesn’t necessarily mean exercise. Moving in any capacity helps you to raise our heart rate and when you do endorphins are released into your body; it is known as the ‘feel good’ hormone.

Regularly moving every day can help alleviate feelings of anxiety. When you are moving or exercising, it decreases muscle tension which helps to lower your body’s contribution to anxiety. Scientific studies have provided some evidence that people who are more active actually have lower rates of anxiety. Sometimes, when you are experiencing anxiety, it’s because of a build-up of adrenaline. Moving – even if it is just a walk – can help use up the extra adrenaline.

When you are moving and exercise, it is diverting you from the very thing you are anxious about. Exercise activates frontal regions of the brain responsible for executive function, which helps control the amygdala, the reacting system to real or imagined threats to your survival.

If you are not used to moving much, start small and gradually build up your stamina. Endorphins will improve your overall well-being as much as calming anxiety.

4. Keep Your Caffeine Intake Low

Caffeine is a stimulant and that cannot be good for people who live with anxiety. Caffeine stimulates your ‘fight or flight’ response and research has shown that this can make anxiety worse and could even trigger an anxiety attack. If you have too much caffeine, it can leave you feeling nervous, moody and jittery which can keep you up all night which can have a knock on effect.

Making a conscious effort to reduce your caffeine intake and opt for decaf where possible will lessen your anxiety symptoms. When you have fewer symptoms, it enables you to combat your anxieties with strategies and daily habits.

I am a lover of fizzy drinks, so I have been working on trying to reduce the amount of caffeine I am drinking as well as avoiding caffeine after 6pm. I have noticed that I am sleeping much better since changing the times I have been having caffeine.

5. Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep deprivation is detrimental to your mental and emotional health. Researchers have found that lack of sleep activates regions of the brain that is associated with extreme worrying and ‘fires up’ and emotional processing.

Lack of sleep can cause you to feel more anxious affecting your sleep schedule even more, leaving you locked in a cycle of sleep problems and anxiety. Practising good sleeping habits will help you to get the rest your body and mind needs to function the next day. Remember tips like:

  • Set a sleep and wake time
  • Avoid caffeine after 6pm
  • Create a restful environment
  • Reduce your blue light exposure in the evenings
  • Reduce irregular or long-time naps

When you get deep sleep restores your brain’s prefrontal mechanism that regulates your emotions, reducing your emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety.

A mug of tea or coffee in a white mark and saucer, next to a pair of glasses, couple of candles lit and a vase with flowers in it.

Photo by Ellieelien on Unsplash

6. Practise Self-Care

Setting aside time to practise self-care is important for your physical and mental health. Looking after yourself enables you to reduce stress and anxiety.

Studies show that people who engage in self-care report lower levels of anxiety and stress. Self-care doesn’t have to be elaborate or complicated; small gestures can tend to your wellbeing and your happiness. When you practise self-care tasks, you are focused on how you are feeling rather that why you are anxious. Self-care practical examples include:

  • Taking a bath
  • Read a good book
  • Going for a walk outside
  • Practise yoga
  • Exercise
  • Get a massage

Making time to engage in self-care is going to allow you that time every day to solely focus on yourself. It will stop you from obsessing over any anxious thoughts you may experience. When you have good strategies to reduce your stress you will find it easier to calm your anxiety.

7. Practise Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re feeling in the moment, without interpretation or any judgment.

Mindfulness can ease anxiety by helping you turn inward to become quiet and still and to focus attention on what is happening in the resent moment rather than our anxious thoughts or fears. It also helps you to learn to stay with difficult feelings without analysing, suppressing or encouraging them. When you are given the opportunity to feel and acknowledge your worries, fears or other difficult thoughts and emotions they will help them to dissipate.

Some examples of mindfulness exercises:

  • Focus on your breathing
  • Practise mindful meditation
  • Slow down and pay attention to your surroundings
  • Accept yourself
  • Live intentionally and in the moment

Research has shown that mindfulness helps you to reduce anxiety. It teaches you how to respond to stress with awareness of what is happening in the present moment, rather than simply acting instinctively.

You can incorporate many habits into your daily life that you can start to do to reduce your symptoms and calm your anxiety.

There are plenty of good habits that you can practise to help with your anxiety besides help from medical professionals or to use medication. Although stress is an unavoidable part of life, it is important to learn strategies to help calm your feelings of anxiety.

How do you calm your anxiety? I’d love to hear in the comments.

108 thoughts on “7 Daily Habits For Calming Your Anxiety

  1. Great post! I read a study once that the results showed doing regular exercise decreases anxiety and depression up to 50% it was I believe. Caffeine also does impact anxiety very much, it is good to try decaf or decreasing caffeine intake on those anxious days.

    1. Self care definitely helps with my anxiety! Whenever I feeling stressed taking a long bath with a book really helps. I really want to try out journaling to see if that helps too x

  2. So great and helpful article, surely yoga and exercise helps a lot as you mentioned the scientific meaning. Well taught 👏👏 as many people are dealing with such condition.

  3. You’ve shared some great tips here lovely which I’ll defiantly be using and keeping in mind. I’m a very anxious person so I need to practice these for sure! Thank you so much for sharing with us! Xo

    Elle – ellegracedeveson.com

  4. Those WHO statistics are quite alarming, I had no idea. Fortunately, I don’t suffer with anxiety (although I can get frazzled with a lack of quality sleep) but these daily habits are all very sensible, Lauren. Practising good daily routines is very calming and my favourite here is probably the gratitude one – it’s good to remember the little things that bring us joy x

  5. Great tips and practices, I need to work on my sleep at night. I don’t get enough sleep and also self care (get enough sun and other nice practices). Thank you for sharing!

  6. I recently started getting into journalling and I admit it has really helped calm my anxiety. The statistics are quite alarming but tbh I am not surprised. Thank you for sharing xx

  7. I would like to added to this great list to be proactive. Sometimes your can feel anxious about stuff but not know the cause, but often that can be because of unresolved stress or anticipation of something you thin will turn out bad. Thus, try to identify the cause of your anxiety so you can work out how to overcome it. And if need be, try exposure therapy, which you can do on your own

  8. I love all your suggestions. As a person who has been suffering from anxiety ever since I was a student I have to admit that your suggestions do work. Excersising is really helpful and cutting off caffeine were the ones that made a huge difference in my life.

  9. This is such an insightful post! I don’t drink coffee at all and I only drink 1 or 2 fizzy drinks over the weekend. Exercise also is a huge help for me in managing my mental health and anixety. Also I love to practice gratitude and just appreciate life. Thank you for sharing xx

  10. I guess I have to practice self care more for myself. These are great things to keep in my mind. I used to have a journal too. I even read sometimes too. I think reading helps too.

  11. Oh I love this! I love journaling and practicing self care through reading a good book – I always find them incredibly beneficial – and I’m trying to get into the habit of practicing gratitude more often too. Thank you so much for sharing x

  12. I’ve never considered reducing my caffeine on days where I’m extra anxious, though that does make sense! I really like these tips x

  13. What a great resource Lauren! I utilize each of these interventions when I’m feeling anxious and have cut caffeine out after noon as I’m sensitive to it. Exercise is key for me and I walk 90 minutes (broken into 2 or 3 segments) each day which helps me immensely. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I’ve really struggled with anxiety and my self-esteem over the last few years, but whilst a few of these suggestions aren’t really viable for me the lack of sleep and lack of self-care really are! Thanks for writing this, really important message.

  15. Thankfully I don’t get anxious, but for me just spending time going outside, watching the bird or with our dog, or dancing around the kitchen will relax me

  16. Love this list! I find journalling really helpful – especially if I want to go back and look for patterns (ie higher anxiety around particular events) so that I can try to tackle things that cause more anxiety.

    Sometimes the basics are really key (get enough sleep, less caffeine, eat properly) but when life gets busy we overlook them. Reminders are super important.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Colleen
    https://chooseyouruni.ca/the-chooseyouruni-blog/

  17. These are some great tips. I am a coffee freak; love it! must have it everyday. But I agree with you. Coffee and anxiety = less sleep = more anxiety. I am definitely going to incorporate some of your tips in my daily lifestyle.

  18. All of these work for me, I also like to put in my ear buds and take a long CBD bath. Journaling is my favorite though, I can fill up some pages.

  19. Amazing list of daily habits. I have recently started back up with exercising again. I am seeing a massive improvement with my anxiety. Thank you for sharing.

  20. These are great tips. I suffer from horrible anxiety and sometimes it gets the best of me. Journaling and practicing gratitude is definitely important in those moments.

  21. loved this post! i recently discovered how caffeine affects my anxiety. so i try to not have any. but if i do, i lean towards one cup in the morning. otherwise, i stick with water.

  22. This is a great post, and we wholeheartedly agree with Nos. 1 and 5. We have done a lot of journaling to help manage our anxiety. We also get at least eight hours of sleep a night. Thank you for sharing this!

  23. These seven elements of personal life are such a big help in establishing a balance in which we look out for ourselves and stay conscious of our needs! I love journaling. 🙂

  24. Sleep really does help for me, I get so irritable when I’m tried and I get really worked up when I’m in bed and can’t sleep!

    Corinne x

  25. Love these tips Lauren! I have found my anxiety is all over the place lately so definitely needed to read this. I love taking self-care nights to help centre myself and do some journaling throughout the week. My sleep routine is so up in the air right now which doesn’t help, so I must get on top of that and figure something out. Thank you for sharing.

  26. These are some great tips! I think keeping my caffeine level to a minimum really does work. I also found journaling very theraputic, when I have the time. Thanks for sharing xxx

  27. I have tried journaling prompt. I feel walking does help in managing thoughts as well. Mindfull meditation is something I will consider trying. Thanks for sharing.

  28. I have to say I’ve understated the benefits of yoga over the years. My mother has done it for a while and she just joined a new studio. She invited me to try it and I’ve found I love it! It’s so relaxing the right environment and also helps stretch and build some muslces. Definitely notice a decrease in overall stress and anxiety the past couple of weeks!

  29. I love all the habits you mentioned especially selfcare. With anxiety it sometimes affects sleep so it’s good to have teas that will help to calm the nerves and the body so you can get rest

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