Anxiety is a universal human experience. However, some people go through life’s complexities and uncertainties with an admirable sense of calm and composure.
We now know that people who never get anxious have certain habits. Habits that are easy to adopt and replicate.
By exploring and adopting these habits, we can also develop a similar sense of calm and reduce anxiety in our lives.
1) Have a healthy sleep routine
All right, let’s start with one of the basics. Getting a good night’s sleep.
Although it seems like this is a Catch-22 situation where anxiety affects sleep, and a good night’s sleep helps alleviate anxiety, there are solutions.
First of all, you can help your case by establishing a routine that includes going to bed and getting up at the same time every day (including weekends). Not using your smartphone or watching TV before sleep also helps.
2) Limit caffeine intake
If you’re anything like me, you’re guzzling 3-4 cups of coffee each day. That’s not good if you’re often anxious.
You see, caffeine causes effects similar to symptoms of anxiety. Complete with nervousness and a fast heart rate. Having too much caffeine can also give you caffeine-induced anxiety.
For some, drastically reducing caffeine will go a long way in relieving anxiety.
I’ve personally switched to the type of coffee that includes cereals, thus reducing the overall content of coffee grounds and caffeine by more than half.
Likewise, my 3rd (and/or 4th) cup of coffee is decaf, as I’ve noticed I just craved the taste of coffee and didn’t need a caffeine boost.
3) Take time to relax
We’re all busy, right? Work, family, and especially kids take up most of our time. And whatever’s left is filled with worrying about those things.
But, and this is important, you MUST find some time to relax and think about something else.
I suggest finding time for activities that bring you joy, fulfillment, and a sense of accomplishment. Engaging in hobbies, such as painting, playing an instrument, or gardening, can provide a healthy distraction from anxiety.
It doesn’t even have to be so complex. Go out with your friends, have wine/beer or a cup of coffee, or go to nature, be around animals, and similar.
Anything that distracts you from worrying about work, kids, the future, or whatever other burden you carry.
4) Leave it to the future you
When you have a lot on your plate, you’re constantly thinking about it. You’re mulling over what will happen, going through scenarios in your head, and generally overthinking things.
And what do you get from all that thinking? Nothing. An ulcer, maybe.
The thing is, you have to write down on a piece of paper the things you worry about. Start with the biggest one and finish up with the smallest thing.
Do this an hour before sleep, or do it in the morning. Whatever suits you best. Next, write down the possible solutions for each one.
If you have a solution, start working on it the first chance you get. If you don’t have a solution or an answer, or the issue is still too far away to deal with now, stop worrying about it.
Leave it to the future you. Let them worry about it when the time comes.
5) Stop worrying about the things you can’t influence
Additionally, you need to STOP worrying about the things you can’t directly influence. Too many things are going on at all times in this 24/7 news cycle.
If you can do nothing about an issue, i.e., it’s happening on the other side of the planet, stop thinking so much about it. Acknowledge that it happened, and don’t let it make you anxious.
For instance, there are wars around the globe at all times. You won’t help yourself or the people involved by thinking and worrying about it.
You want to help? Fine. Collect donations that can help the people. Otherwise, move on.
This brings us to the next point that’s connected.
6) Don’t take everything so seriously
Not taking everything so seriously can also be a helpful habit in managing anxiety. Detached mindfulness, also known as non-attachment, is a concept rooted in mindfulness practices.
It’s about observing your thoughts, emotions, and experiences without clinging to them or getting caught up in their narrative.
This helps you maintain a sense of distance and perspective, allowing you to respond to situations with greater clarity and calmness.
When it comes to anxiety, practicing detached mindfulness can be particularly helpful.
Here’s how. Notice moments when you feel anxious due to uncertainty or unpredictability. Instead of trying to control or eliminate uncertainty, practice accepting it as a natural part of life.
Recognize that you can’t know or control everything and that embracing uncertainty can lead to growth and new possibilities.
7) Block work-related thoughts
Another thing that people who never get anxious do well is not thinking about work outside of work hours.
Many people suffer from so-called “Sunday scaries.” If you’re not sure what it is, it’s that feeling of devastation that shows up on Sunday evenings or even on Saturdays for some people.
This feeling of dread because tomorrow is Monday and you have to go to work makes people dreadful and can suck the fun out of their remaining free time.
According to one LinkedIn research, 80% of professionals experience it, and over 90% of Millennials and Generation Z report they feel it too.
Those are some devastating numbers meaning not millions but BILLIONS of people are affected.
There are many things you can do to alleviate this feeling, but my advice is to book something enjoyable for Monday too.
Maybe decide you’ll have the most fancy lunch or dinner on Monday or meet up with friends or colleagues for happy hour.
Something you can look forward to.
8) Have a safe space in your mind
Although I’m not often anxious anymore, there’s one thing that has consistently helped me when I was getting anxious or couldn’t fall asleep, for example.
It was thinking about something or someone that made me feel incredibly happy or motivated.
When I was younger, this thought was dedicated to playing basketball with my friends in my mind. I was obsessed with this sport at the time, and of course, it made sense to make this my safe space.
As I grew out of it, I developed different safe spaces in my mind that helped me with anything from fear and anxiety to blocking negative thoughts and helping me fall asleep.
9) Get sweaty
Physical activity has been shown to positively impact mental health, including anxiety reduction.
When we exercise regularly, such as walking, jogging, or yoga, our body releases endorphins and reduces stress.
But exercise and other sweat-inducing activities, if you know what I mean, provide us with a positive distraction from anxious thoughts and worries.
By shifting your focus to the physical activity at hand, you redirect your attention away from anxious introspection.
10) Limit exposure to stressors
Recognizing and minimizing exposure to situations or people that trigger our anxiety is undoubtedly also helpful. Out of sight, out of mind.
This means you’ll have to set boundaries, practice assertiveness (for example, saying “no” to someone), or avoid unnecessary stressors whenever possible.
Evaluate your daily routines, activities, and commitments to identify stressors that aren’t essential or bring more negative than positive impacts.
Try reducing exposure to certain media, minimizing time spent with toxic people, or avoiding situations that consistently induce stress. Taking breaks from technology and social media can also help.
11) Embrace imperfection
When you think everything has to be perfect, you’re putting much pressure on yourself and others involved. Perfectionism often fuels anxiety as it sets unrealistic standards and creates a constant fear of failure.
Instead, accept that imperfections are a natural part of life. Embrace mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning and reduce self-judgment to cultivate self-compassion.
This will also allow you to take healthy risks and step outside of your comfort zone. When you let go of the need for everything to be perfect, you become more willing to try new things, explore different paths, and learn from failures.
12) Start journaling
Finally, writing your thoughts and worries down will help you with materializing them and finding solutions, if needed.
It’s a great therapeutic practice that helps you express yourself, gain clarity, and achieve a new perspective on your concerns.
By engaging in a written dialogue with yourself, you can gain new perspectives, challenge negative thinking patterns, and develop strategies to address anxiety-inducing challenges.
As you can see, there are many things that can help us with our anxiety. If you’re ready to start adopting some of these habits, I recommend starting with whatever’s easiest for you.
Introduce two to three every week, and you’ll be anxiety-free in no time.
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