Through a combination of personal experience and professional expertise with my over 93 million community, I've discovered a toolkit for navigating the murky waters of anxiety with the help of small daily habits. Note that this isn't a substitute for professional medical help. Please seek it if you are struggling. But these are fundamental lifestyle shifts towards a more balanced and resilient mental state in the long term and will help not just recover but prevent any upcoming anxiety episodes.

1. The Reflective Power of Journaling

Journaling became my silent confidant, a space where my fears and anxieties spilled onto paper, losing their power over me. This act of writing down thoughts helped me dissect and understand the complexities of my anxiety. Through this reflective practice, I began to see patterns, recognize triggers, and challenge the irrational fears that once seemed insurmountable.

Action Plan:

  • Start Small: Begin by dedicating just five minutes each day to journaling. Choose a comfortable spot and a time when you're least likely to be disturbed.
  • Structure Your Entries: Start with how you're feeling at the moment, what's causing you stress, and any physical sensations associated with your anxiety.
  • Reflect and Reframe: After documenting your feelings, challenge them. Ask yourself, "Is there evidence to support this worry?" Often, you'll find the fear is not as grounded as it seems.
  • Set Goals: Conclude your journaling session by setting a small, achievable goal for the next day. It could be as simple as taking a ten-minute walk or practicing five minutes of deep breathing.

2. Reclaiming Control Through Movement

Physical activity is a potent antidote to anxiety. It's not just about staying fit; it's about creating a rhythm for your body that counters anxiety's chaos. Morning workouts have been my sanctuary, providing a clear headspace to tackle the day's challenges without the weight of worry.

Scientific research, too, heavily advocates for exercise in people struggling with anxiety. Even though researchers found high-intensity exercises more effective than low-intensity ones, just find what you love and stick to it. The key to consistency is enjoyment. Choose an activity that brings you joy, whether it's yoga, running, or dancing.

If an hour-long workout seems daunting, start with ten minutes a day. Even small amounts of exercise can significantly impact your anxiety levels.

3. Mastering the Art of Wind-Down

The battle for peace often intensified at night, with sleep eluding me as anxiety took center stage. Learning to wind down effectively revolutionized my nights. Techniques such as guided and deep breathing exercises became my passport to restful sleep. These practices didn't just prepare my body for sleep; they soothed my anxious mind, allowing me to embrace the tranquility I so desperately sought.

Action Plan:

  • Create a Pre-Sleep Ritual: An hour before bed, start your wind-down routine. This could include dimming the lights, turning off electronic devices, and engaging in a relaxing activity like reading.
  • Utilize Guided Breathing Exercises: Apps like Oxa offer guided sessions that can help ease your mind into a state ready for sleep. Even 10 minutes can make a difference.
  • Optimize Your Sleep Environment: Ensure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet. Consider using blackout curtains, white noise machines, or earplugs to enhance your sleep quality.
  • Regularize Your Sleep Schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Consistency strengthens your body's sleep-wake cycle, improving sleep quality.

4. The Strength of a Support Network

Walking through a storm of anxiety can feel isolating, but I learned the importance of anchoring myself to a strong support network. Sharing my journey with friends, family, and, later on, the whole DLC Anxiety community illuminated the path with shared experiences and collective wisdom.

Make a list of friends, family members, or colleagues you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with. Knowing who you can turn to makes reaching out easier. These connections can be your lifeline during tough times.

Also Read: Deep Breathing Benefits: Find Calm to an Anxious Mind

5. Breathing: The Immediate Bridge to Calm

Among the arsenal of tools at my disposal, mastering the art of breathing stood out as the most immediate bridge to calm. Techniques like physiological sigh, resonance, and minimal breathing became my go-to responses in moments of anxiety.

Integrating these practices with the real-time biofeedback provided by Oxa was transformative, offering relief and a profound understanding of my body's responses to stress. Breathing became my secret weapon, a means to center myself amid chaos.

Action Plan:

  • Educate Yourself: Learn about different breathing techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing, resonance breathing, or box breathing. Plenty to try out and choose from. Resources like Oxa can provide guidance and tutorials if you are unsure where to start.
  • Set Aside Time for Practice: Dedicate a few minutes each day to practice your chosen breathing technique. Consistent practice makes it easier to employ these techniques during moments of anxiety.
  • Use Technology: Devices and apps that offer biofeedback can help you understand your physiological responses and improve your breathing practice.
  • Incorporate Breathing Into Your Daily Routine: Use breathing exercises as a proactive measure, not just in moments of anxiety. Practice during moments of calm to enhance their effectiveness when you need them most.

Charting a Path Through Anxiety

My journey from the depths of anxiety to a place of understanding and peace was not linear. It was a pilgrimage marked by setbacks, discoveries, and moments of profound growth. The toolkit I've shared is more than a collection of strategies; it's a testament to the power of proactive engagement with one's mental health. These habits, from journaling to the supportive embrace of a community, are not just mechanisms for coping; they are stepping stones to a life where anxiety is a challenge, not a defining characteristic.

In sharing my journey, my hope is to light a path for others to navigate their own storms of anxiety. To show that with the right tools, support, and determination, finding peace and resilience in the face of anxiety is not just a possibility; it's a reality within reach. Let's embrace these practices together, stepping confidently into a future where we control anxiety, not the other way around.

Also Read: Relaxed Mind: Learn Deep Breathing Exercises for Anxiety


What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural response to stress, characterized by feelings of fear, apprehension, and nervousness about what’s to come. It’s a condition that can manifest through both physical and psychological symptoms, affecting an individual's ability to function in daily life. Anxiety can range from temporary worry or fear to serious conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, or social anxiety disorder, which require professional evaluation and treatment.

What is the fastest way to resolve anxiety?

The fastest way to resolve a moment of anxiety is through controlled breathing techniques, such as physiological sigh, resonance breathing, or minimal breathing. These methods can quickly calm the nervous system and reduce immediate symptoms of anxiety by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which induces a state of relaxation. Using real-time biofeedback devices or apps like Oxa can enhance this process by providing guidance and helping individuals understand their body's responses to stress, offering immediate relief.

What causes anxiety in the brain?

Anxiety in the brain is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors that influence how the brain regulates feelings and emotions. Neurologically, anxiety involves hyperactivity in areas of the brain responsible for emotion and fear processing, such as the amygdala and the hippocampus. This can lead to an imbalance in neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit messages between neurons, affecting how the brain responds to perceived threats. Chronic stress or traumatic events can also alter brain function and structure, leading to heightened anxiety levels.

How do I train my brain to stop anxiety?

Training your brain to stop anxiety involves adopting various strategies to change the way it responds to stress and fear. Techniques include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness practices, regular physical activity, and breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing, resonance breathing, or box breathing. These can help regulate the body's stress response and promote relaxation. Implementing these strategies consistently over time can rewire the brain's response to anxiety, making it a more manageable part of life.

Dean Stott
May 28, 2024

CBT, CPD, an educator, coach, and ambassador, is the visionary founder behind DLCanxiety, the world's largest anxiety support community established in 2018. With a following exceeding 1 million, his platform serves as a pivotal space for open dialogues on mental health. Dean's mission is to reassure individuals they're not alone in their recovery journey, making his platform a premier resource for understanding and navigating the complexities of anxiety disorder.

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