Press "Enter" to skip to content

Calm Your Anxiety for Good – 8 Baby Steps You Need to Take Here and Now

AnxietyPanda 8
FacebooktwitterpinterestmailFacebooktwitterpinterestmailby feather

Feeling anxious and suffering from an anxiety disorder are two different things. While the former is a normal part of life, the latter is essentially an excessive fear where a person goes to great lengths to try to avoid the source of anxiety.

There are those who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which involves excessive levels of anxiousness about money, health, academics, relationships, and other real-life concerns. Others go through social anxiety and struggle with the feeling of embarrassment or being judged. The rest experience fear of just about anything.

Whether you’re someone who’s suffering from a clinical disorder or simply want to manage sudden bouts of stress and anxiety, you should know that you can get over it. In fact, there are several small yet effective ways to manage and overcome anxiety.

1. Breathe Deeply

While this may seem like a cliché, breathing exercises are clinically-proven to calm the nerves. This is because deep diaphragmatic breathing initiates the relaxation response from the parasympathetic nervous system. This replaces the sympathetic nervous system’s fight-or-flight response which causes emotional distress.

2. Start Walking

There are instances that the anxiety you feel is triggered by adrenaline buildup. Because of this, it is recommended that you become more physically active to burn off the excess adrenaline that’s coursing through your veins.

If you’re not much of a fitness buff, simple activities like walking should already suffice in achieving this goal. Plus, strolling outside can help you get some fresh air, which also has a calming effect for people who are chronically stressed.

3. Communicate With People Who Understand

Sometimes, the feeling of anxiety can be eased by simply talking about it. While consulting health professionals is recommended, you can also try talking to friends or relatives who understand what you’re going through.

This can be people who suffer from the same condition, or those whom you feel will be able to give you sound advice or just listen to what you have to say. The bottom line is that you should try to vent rather than keep your feelings bottled in.

4. Classify Your Thoughts

Everyone has their own inner critic. While some people can easily overcome this critical inner voice, people who suffer from an anxiety disorder may find it difficult to filter these thoughts which are often unhelpful.

If you feel like your inner critic is too much for you to handle, you can try to manage it by classifying thoughts that are inaccurate, unrealistic, or unreasonable up to a certain extent. While labeling your thoughts, you are paying attention to how they affect you rather than the content. This will keep you from believing negative thoughts which can be destructive if left unchecked.

If you notice that judgment in your thoughts, for example, simply call it out as “judging.” If you feel a worrying vibe or criticizing tone, label it as such. This will help you become more aware of your thoughts and, ultimately, feel calmer and relaxed.

5. Relish the Present

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift which is why it’s called the ‘present.’” Cliché as this quote may be, it can serve as an excellent mantra to remind you of one step you need to take to be calmer: relish the present.

This means that you don’t have to linger too much on what has already happened and think about the “what ifs.” Instead, focus on what is currently happening and enjoy even the little things and small luxuries of life.

6. Steer Clear of Caffeine

While drinking coffee may initially make your thoughts seem clearer, caffeine is actually an anxiety-inducing beverage that you should try to avoid. This is because this substance is a stimulant and can get a person amped up, which, in turn, can lead you to experience feelings of anxiety.

7. Ditch Alcohol and Other Mind-Altering Substances

Aside from caffeinated drinks, you should also avoid alcohol and other psychotropic or mind-altering substances such as prohibited drugs. While they may promise a temporary escape from reality (including your anxiety), they also negatively affect your well-being in the long run after the initial effects start to wear off.

There are a lot of anxiety patients who experience their first panic attack when they began taking mind-altering substances. While these attacks are already devastating when experienced while sober, the effects become worse if you’re under the influence.

Meanwhile, alcohol is known to work its magic in calming the nerves, but that’s only for a short time. The truth is that alcohol changes serotonin levels in the body, which is why you feel a lot worse once the effect of alcohol wears off.

8. Keep a Diary

Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you sort them out. This is particularly helpful if you cannot talk about the source of your anxiety out loud. Studies reveal that keeping a diary or journal can help a person deal with negative feelings and reduce stress. One research has even proven that people who write about their feelings feel much less anxious compared to those who don’t through an anxiety test.

Take Your Time

When you are having bouts with anxiety, you might feel helpless and think that you cannot do anything about the situation. This just isn’t true. Aside from talking to a therapist, there are many ways you can overcome your fear. Just take one baby step at a time, and you’ll be all right.


Justine Corry is a clinical psychologist and enjoys helping people get to the heart of what is not working in their lives. Along with Dr. Gemma Gladstone, she is co-director of the Good Mood Clinic in Sydney and has 10 years of experience within private practice.

FacebooktwitterpinterestmailFacebooktwitterpinterestmailby feather
  1. Nicki V Nicki V

    Great post on Calming your Anxiety.  I know my mother needs to take a look at this post.  She can get one little thought in her head and turn it into a mountain and think up the most ridiculous thoughts (and believe it’s true) just from her anxiety and overthinking.

    I’ve also heard that watching or listening to something funny can help as well to kind of steer your mind in another direction.  I know when I’m feeling down, watching funny Youtube videos always helps cheer me up.

  2. Mitch Crim Mitch Crim

    It was blind luck that I stumbled on Anxiety Panda, but I’m sure glad I did!  I found many articles that pertain directly to my personal life and the site has become one of my favorites!!

    I was particularly struck by the ease with which I can move from one article to another and, as necessary, from one web site to another.  I did one have a question, however.  I noticed that some of the web site links are in different areas of the U.S. and Australia.  I was curious whether there was a personal connection between Anxiety Panda and those sites.

    • AnxietyPanda AnxietyPanda

      Hi Mitch!

      Thanks for your beautiful comment about Anxiety Panda.
      So happy that you find this website useful and please feel free to share any of the articles with friends or family that may also need help with mental health issues.

      To answer your question: Anxiety Panda is an International website with outgoing links to websites that may be of use to our readers, however, there is no personal connection. 
      The only connection is if you come across an article that may have an affiliate link for a product we are promoting – that would be our connection – but be ensured that we do not endorse any product or company without proper research.

      I hope this answers your question sufficiently. 

  3. Adrian Holland Adrian Holland

    Thank you for a wonderful article, which currently is very relevant to me just at the moment, so I eagerly read your article from top to bottom. No skimming here.

    As a sufferer of a chronic illness, I generally feel that i am an incredibly positive person, with, at worst a pragmatic outlook on life. However despite the fact that i have a prescription for a mild anti-depressant (prescribed mainly to help me sleep), I have recently started suffering quite serious anxiety and depression linked to the deterioration of my condition. In fact very recently (and for the first time in my life) I have started to have mild suicidal thoughts.

    Now i will seek professional help regarding these fleeting thoughts, I am also very disinclined to further increase my medication and so i feel drawn to finding other alternatives.

    When I give myself time to breath, and to think logically, lots of the advice in your article makes complete sense to me, and may have shined a light into a corner that i feel worthwhile investigating further.

  4. Jeff Marshall Jeff Marshall

    Thank you for all your wonderful advice on your website.

    I especially loved your breathing tip.

    I do a lot of walking when I feel myself becoming anxious and I find this does help a lot. I will find gaps when I’m out walking and implement your breathing strategies.

    Thank for the help, Jeff.

  5. Chris Chris

    Hi Justine, It’s a pleasure coming across your post, exactly what I needed after a crazy stressful day at work. I like the idea of classifying your thoughts and replenishing the past, I think this is something that I struggle to do sometimes, I should really make the effort to create a habit! I’m going to give some of these techniques a go, wish me luck!

  6. Colleen Colleen

    Oh, how I need to read this and be reminded today! I am one big stress ball! I have anxiety due to health issues as well as being in the early stages of menopause. Oh, and did I mention that I drink black coffee all day long? It may be time to switch to herbal tea.

     I appreciate all of the helpful tips, especially breathing. How do we forget to breathe? Sometimes the most straightforward solutions can be so hard. I need to learn to be more in the present.

    I would also like to add that sunlight does wonders for my mood. Not to mention taking my Grandson out for a five-minute walk looking at all of the plants; now that has been my saving grace these past few months. 

    You see, I am also in the early stages of ‘Empty-Nest’ syndrome. Coming this Fall, it is only going to be my husband and me, as all three of my children are now adults. Ok, I am getting stressed again, time to go outside! 

    Thank you for reminding me! Breathe, Colleen, Breathe 🙂

  7. Matthew Matthew

    I have been suffering from anxiety and depression for around 2 years now and although I take medication for it I don’t want to be taking them for the rest of my life

    The first time I had an anxiety attack just came out of the blue while I was in a big supermarket and I still can’t bring myself to go in there again till this day for some reason

    I really like the list of steps you have to calm anxiety so I am going to give them a go and see how it works out for me and I will let you know

    How long do you suggest sticking to these 8 steps?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.