Anxiety isn’t fun and often times leaves us feeling stuck. So what are some quick and easy ways to reduce anxiety naturally?
I’ve struggled with anxiety for many years. Anxiety isn’t something that we can completely push away in a couple of minutes, but it takes a lifestyle change to learn to cope with it as it pertains to our overall mental health. However, in a moment of anxiety, there are some things that you can do to help reduce your anxiety and quickly.
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Struggling with anxiety causes a sort of desperation in the moment it collapses over you to crawl out from beneath its weight. It’s scary, it’s suffocating and it’s not something we want to last.
So today I’m going to talk about 5 methods that you can use to reduce anxiety naturally and as a bonus, each of these methods are things you can do in the moment!
1. Essential Oils
I put off using essential oils for many years. But recently, I decided to give it a try and it has been one of the most helpful ways to reduce my anxiety.
Essential oils don’t just smell nice, but the actually work within your brain to activate or deactivate certain receptors and pathways that lower stress and decrease anxiety and depression.
There are countless oils that do this, I will list just a few here and will include some of the research for you if you want to dig deeper. You can also click on the oil names to see an inexpensive but pure option for essential oils. I love how affordable these are!
- Bergamot Essential Oil (1) (2) (3)
- Lavender Essential Oil (4) (5)
- Chamomile Essential Oil (6)
- Ylang Ylang Essential Oil (7) (8)
These oils have been found to decrease both the subjective experience of anxiety and stress and have been found to decrease anxiety and stress hormones in the body.
You can diffuse these oils, put a drop in your hand and breathe them in or if they are high-quality, 100% pure essential oils (like these) you can roll them onto your skin for topical absorption.
My favorite roller is to combine 7-10 drops of Lavender & Ylang Ylang (fill the rest with pure grapeseed oil) and roll on your wrists or feet when feeling anxious!
If you’re feeling anxious, you can go for a short walk or do a small workout. This will help to reduce your anxiety fast.
It’s hard to find the motivation to “workout” especially if you are feeling anxious. That’s why I often will just go for a walk. Sometimes while I’m walking, I’ll change my mind and turn it into a run. Other times, I just am able to enjoy the outdoors (even if it’s cold!) and get my blood flowing.
3. Talk to Someone
A lot of times anxiety gets us stuck in our heads. I know it’s hard to reach out, especially when you’re feeling anxious, but finding someone to talk to can help to get your mind off of it and center your mind on more stable ground.
I find it helpful to find a friend or mentor and discuss that I may need to call them in a time of anxiety. When you set this expectation prior to your moment of anxiousness, it makes it a lot easier to reach out. Sometimes, you can even send a text and they will call you.
If you don’t have someone you feel comfortable reaching out to, I would encourage you to journal or to invest in building friendships so that you can build that relationship.
I want to stop here and say that I know it’s not easy building relationships like this, especially in a world of social media and lack of true connection. It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of time and often a lot of disappointment.
But these relationships and social support are another powerful predictor of positive mental health. The investment that you make now will be worth it.
4. Breathe & Focus on Something to Calm You
Breathing when I’m anxious is really hard for me. I fear that slowing down my mind will allow the anxious thoughts to take over.
So I’m not going to suggest simply breathing (although this may work for some). As you take in a slow breathe, hold it for a few seconds and then let it out, focus on something specific.
You can focus on something calming or something distracting. I often need to think of something distracting to get my mind out of the rut of anxious thoughts and then I can move onto something calming. Oftentimes I will fill my mind with Bible verses on overcoming anxiety that I have memorized.
If you breathe while simply trying to ignore your anxious thoughts, those anxious thoughts are exactly what you are focusing on. Instead, replace them with something else.
5. Engage the Five Senses
When I become anxious, my thoughts run wild. Anxiety hyper-focuses us on a particular thing, therefore shutting out the rest of our thoughts and sensations.
A powerful way to bring your mind back to a sense of calm is to engage each of the 5 senses.
Practice each of these, sometimes even saying the answers aloud.
Look around you, what do you see. What are 3 colors you see?
What do you smell?
Where are you standing or sitting? Can you feel the wall or the seat? Is it rough or soft?
Can you hear anything? What is it? Or is it silent?
If you have a drink, sip it. If you are eating, take a bite. What does it taste like?
As you answer these questions, you are drawing your mind away from your anxious thoughts and to the present moment. You focus shifts and your anxiety will fade. This is hard to do and sometimes, I will focus on just one or two of the senses that are easiest to start with.
There are many people who may experience bits of anxiety here and there and these methods may be enough. However, it is important to know when you need to seek out more of a comprehensive plan or find someone to talk to regularly to learn to cope with your anxiety.
There have been times in my life where I’ve needed more than the helpful strategies I could put into practice, but I needed a professional to help me walk through some of the tangled thoughts and memories in my mind that were leading to my anxiety.
I highly recommend looking into therapy if you feel that your anxiety is becoming more constant or overwhelming.
But even as you seek out professional help, these strategies will help you to overcome anxiety fast when you are experiencing it in the moment.