Woman hovering over computer, experiencing mental stress and anxiety

Reduce Your Anxiety in 20 Minutes or Less

Anxiety disorder is difficult to explain to those who don’t experience it. 

For starters, the terms anxiety and stress are frequently used interchangeably to describe a physical and mental response to an immediate threat. In reality, that definition only characterizes the term stress. 

Stress is typically resolved once we feel safe and the immediate situation has been resolved. Anxiety, on the other hand, is triggered by stress and differs in that the physical and psychological signs and symptoms don’t disappear when the immediate threat goes away. 

Anxiety involves excessive worry that doesn’t accurately reflect the reality of a situation. Those with with anxiety disorder experience this chronically and are recommended to see a professional mental health expert for diagnosis and treatment. 

Managing anxiety disorder requires intentional effort to: (A) recognize what triggers your stress to manifest into anxiety and (B) develop strategies to reduce anxiety and get you back to feeling good.

Everyone manages stress and anxiety in their own way. After navigating through the choppy waters of anxiety disorder myself, I’ve gathered some methods for reducing my anxiety quickly, because ain’t nobody got time to be stuck in a negative mental health space! Keep reading to check out how to reduce your anxiety in 20 minutes or less. 

Study What You're Feeling

Often when I experience anxiety it occurs so fast that I often need to stop everything I’m doing and reflect to figure out what the trigger was. I have explore the situation and ask myself questions like “Why is this affecting me so intensely?” and “Is this a manifestation of a past unresolved conflict?”

Going for a walk in nature is a great way to practice mindfulness and reduce anxiety
Going for a walk in nature is a great way to practice mindfulness and reduce anxiety

Anxious moments are the best time to “go within” and practice mindfulness and self study. Here’s some great ways to do that:

Take a walk. Lace up your sneakers, leave your headphones at home, and head outside for a mindfulness walk. The fresh air and sunlight should quickly help you feel calmer and the open space invites deep thinking. 

Write in a journal. I know, sometimes there’s nothing more intimidating than a blank piece of paper. At the same time, there’s nothing more inviting than a blank piece of paper. Just start writing about what you are feeling. An unexpected trigger and insightful resolution to your anxiety might just flow through your pen and lead you to healing.

Let Others Help You

When you are having trouble quieting negative thoughts that trigger anxiety, borrow positive energy from others. Don’t wait for the courage to get social, just take the leap of faith that it will be a good experience.

A helpful post-it note reminding you to phone a friend when you are feeling anxious and isolated.
Intentional isolation for self-study is important for practicing mindfulness, but sometimes connecting with loved ones when you are experiencing anxiety is a helpful reminder that you have a support system to help you through moments like this.

Call or Video chat with someone who either brings you joy or can help you talk through your anxious moment. 

Even on my worst days, a random FaceTime call from my 18 month old nephew revealing him grinning from ear to ear will instantly put me in a positive mental state and reduce my anxiety. 

Chat with a trained therapist. 

It’s never been easier to get professional help from a mental health provider whether it’s a psychologist or licensed social worker. So many offer video chat services so you can get help from the comfort of your own couch. 

Sign up for a group fitness class. 

A dimly lit studio like SoulCycle or Barry’s Bootcamp offers high energy and community empowerment in a space that discourages comparison. 

Free Your Self

Here’s the thing to realize about anxiety: It’s characterized by worrisome thoughts that are often irrational and unlikely to become reality. This last strategy is really quite simple and helpful for me. It involves telling that negative, irrational thinker that excessively worries about what “could” happen to just go away.

Coming to terms with the reality of your situation, separating what is true from what is false can help you free yourself from negative thinking and reduce anxiety.

There’s much literature that describes the negative voice inside of our heads as one that we can view as an entirely separate part of our conscious mind. One book in particular that explores this concept in relation to improving sports performance is called The Inner Game of Tennis and I highly recommend it.

Furthermore, there’s a multitude of strategies that can help you reduce your anxiety and start feeling better pretty quickly. 

You just need to be willing to face the anxiety head on and figure out your triggers, then do activities that provide you with peace and clarity. 

Please leave a comment if any of this resonates with you, or if you have any strategies that help you reduce your anxiety quickly! 

 

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