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Manage Your Anxiety Today with 10 Actionable Strategies

manage your anxiety, go for a walk outside in nature

Anxiety looks different for everyone. I don’t believe in quick fixes or claims that one thing will “cure” anxiety (or pain, weight loss, etc.). Like most things in life, my approach is small, simple, actionable changes. So I want to share some *ideas* โ€“ not cures โ€“ that help me manage anxiety in my daily life.

To give you a little background, I have a personality that is more prone to anxiety. And I’m learning that I can’t run away from my unpleasant traits or pretend they aren’t there. But I can develop strategies to cope with my natural tendencies and turn them into strengths. I’m a Type One on the enneagram in case you’re wondering + you’re a personality nerd like me ๐Ÿ˜‰ Check out my post on the enneagram if you want to learn more about this A M A Z I N G self-discovery tool.

Whether you have a personality that’s more prone to anxious thinking or not, we all go through periods of anxiety. And I think it’s so valuable to share both our struggles and our strategies to help others. So take what ya need from my list and leave what doesn’t resonate. These ideas aren’t magic, they’re just teeny tiny little tips that help me personally.

1. Go for a walk outside.

I’ll kick this list off with my most powerful tip. Not fancy or revolutionary. But WOW, does it work.

If you follow along on Instagram, you know how often I go for walks โ€“ even if it’s ten degrees outside and snowing, you will probably find me on a walk in the evening. Trading in my strict gym schedule and running shoes for the freedom to just walk has been life-changing.

It’s so simple, but I think the best things in life are.

I said nothing on this list is magic, but this is the closest thing I’ve found to magic when it comes to getting rid of anxious thoughts! I’m not sure of any evidence-based reasons, but here’s why I think it’s powerful. You breathe in fresh air, your blood is flowing, mental clarity comes with movement, you realize how tiny you are in this great big world, and you get quality alone time. It’s not magic, but it feels like magic.

If there’s one thing you try on my list to manage your anxiety, I hope it’s this one.

2. Listen to a positive podcast.

This goes right along with #1. For the past year, I have been walking outside while listening to a podcast at least 5x per week, often times every day. (Yes, even during Wisconsin winters!! I honestly love feeling like I’m in a snow globe…ok yes, maybe I’m weird.) It gets me out of my own head and fills my mind with positive thoughts.

You can move while you learn/get inspired/grow/etc., which is why I think podcasts are so amazing. They transition my thoughts into a more positive space and spark new ideas. If I ever feel stuck, lethargic, and anxious, my go-to remedy is listening to a podcast + walking outside.

Life. Changing.

3. Go planner-less.

Let me just preface this by saying I am the girl who used to buy customizable $50+ planners online. I color coded everything. Planned out my meals, workouts, and daily schedule down to every last detail. I thought it “kept me sane”.

Then, when I wouldn’t stick to the original plan or cross everything off my to-do list, I would feel so anxious. I’d feel shame and guilt about it. That’s when I realized my planner was not helping me, it was hindering me.

Today, I live a planner-free life. But I know it’s not for everyone.

The people I think this strategy might work best for are type A (also type one enneagram) people who don’t have 1000 appointments and things in their calendar to remember. I’m also not a mom, so who knows, maybe I’ll use a planner when I have kids one day. But I just want to throw this anxiety-reducing tip in here because it has worked for me and it’s probably the opposite of what 99% of other anxiety-reducing tips say.

I know I talk about it all the time, but the enneagram showed me that when type ones move in their direction of growth, they integrate toward type seven. What does all that mean? Type ones โ€“ who are the most perfectionistic of all types โ€“ become more spontaneous, playful, and versatile when they are growing and becoming the healthiest version of themselves. You can get the enneagram 101 here.

When I’m not so worried about planning my life and ensuring I’ve checked off all the boxes, I’m actually LIVING my life instead. I truly have no plans of going back to using a planner any time soon!

4. Drink more water.

So simple, but I swear it makes all the difference. When you focus on something as small as drinking water throughout the day, you are tuning into your body. And you are less likely to be stuck in anxious thoughts when you listen to your body.

My fav way to drink more water is by sipping out of this hydroflask throughout the day. It keeps my water cold, and there’s something about not having a screw-off cap that’s just more appealing to me. I also love having a Propel or some sort of flavored water in the afternoon.

Such a basic way to manage anxiety, but it really does work for me.

5. Take phone breaks.

This is easy for us all to say that we’ll do and hard to actually implement. Here’s what works for me.

I set my phone in another room in the house when I want to get some work done or have some self care time. Before you know it, I have forgotten about it hours later and I love every second of it.

The other strategy is to delete social media apps from your phone for a day or whatever period of time you want. Doing this makes you realize how little you check your phone if you don’t have an Instagram icon to mindlessly click on.

Simple + actionable with a very noticeable impact on anxiety levels.

6. Stretch.

Simple stretching increases blood flow + eases muscle tension created by anxiety. For me, it’s a way to reset and tune into my body.

If you’re into yoga, here are some poses specifically good for reducing anxiety.

However, some of my favorite simple stretches include:

  • Standing up tall with arms over head and leaning side to side to stretch out the side body
  • Standing up and bending over to touch my toes, letting my neck completely release
  • Child’s pose
  • Straddle
  • Pike
  • Butterfly

Maybe it’s the former gymnast/cheerleader in me, but I just lovvvve a good stretch. If that isn’t your thing, however you can get into your body and out of your mind is a tried + true way to help manage anxiety.

7. Take deep breaths outdoors.

I don’t think there’s a single one of us who hasn’t heard about the power of breath. We all know we should be taking deep breaths throughout the day, but it just slips our minds.

Here’s what I’ve discovered. Taking deep breaths outside FEELS. SO. GOOD. Like way better than deep breathing indoors. It just feels like you can get a deeper inhale and longer exhale. And for me, it feels very grounding.

One of the coolest things I think I’ve ever heard is, “Breathing and moving is the quickest way to chase fear out of your body.” I believe Gay Hendricks said this. It’s just profound. If you don’t believe me, combine my walking tip with my breathing tip and tell me it didn’t decrease your anxiety levels!! So, so, so powerful.

8. Diffuse essential oils.

I am absolutely obsessed with my oils from Eden’s Garden. The blends are incredible, and there is even one specifically for anxiety. However, I find that diffusing something that smells wonderful โ€“ even if it’s not an oil specifically for anxiety โ€“ is so soothing.

You could pair deep breathing with diffusing essential oils, or just grab a bottle of oil and inhale deeply. Quick, easy, effective.

9. Journal in the morning.

Journaling is having a bit of a moment right now, and I’m all about it. I have my own method of morning journaling, and it helps set the tone for my day. It’s a wonderful way to set intentions for your day and start your day off feeling grounded.

I’ve always loved writing, and I think journaling is a great way for writers to express themselves. You can journal to brain dump and get all the jumbled thoughts in your brain out + onto paper. Or you can write in response to specific prompts that create a positive frame of mind. There is no right or wrong way to journal. If writing isn’t your thing, you could “voice memo journal” every day. I just made that up, but if writing isn’t your thing you could totally create your own version of journaling to reap all the anxiety-reducing benefits.

Journaling is a strategy that helps me personally manage anxiety because it provides:

  • Quiet self-reflection time
  • Space for me to be intentional about how I want to structure my day
  • A place for me to write down all the swirling thoughts in my brain

10. Create a playlist.

I actually think I enjoy silence more than the average person, buuuut I do love a calming music playlist. If you want some ideas, head over to my Spotify โ€“ I’d like to think I have pretty good taste in music ๐Ÿ™‚ I particularly love those soft, indie tracks that are perfect for anxiety-ridden days.

That’s a wrap on ten actionable strategies that can help you reduce anxiety, and if you find even just one of these tips helpful, I’ll be so happy! I would never recommend something that hasn’t helped me personally. And these strategies are my tried and true methods to decrease anxiety in my life.

If there’s one mantra that has helped me in my journey to manage anxiety, it’s this: if everything is important, nothing is important.

However, I know it’s not as simple as waking up every day and always having the mental clarity to remember that. And that’s where small, actionable anxiety-reducing strategies come in.

The strategies in this post are ones that help ground me and remind me of the bigger picture. That whatever I may be feeling anxious about will pass. They help me re-center and focus on the things that are truly, deeply important to me. These actionable tips are meant to be freeing and helpful in letting go of the small things.

I really hope you find some of these strategies helpful. If you have any tips to manage anxiety, will you share them below?? I would love for this to be a place where we can all share our personal experiences and learn from one another!

10 natural ways to manage anxiety

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love always, nik

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