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2018 is your year to reduce anxiety. Most likely, you’ve been working on doing so already, which means you have a head start. You may have already experienced successes, and you can build on their momentum this year. You might also have experienced setbacks and difficulties getting rid of worries, fears, social anxiety, racing or obsessive thoughts, and the myriad symptoms and effects of anxiety. This is why it’s important to celebrate a new year. A new year is symbolic of a fresh start. You can reduce anxiety in 2018.

Think of anxiety as the New Year’s ball that drops in New York City’s Times Square. It’s been hovering over your head. It’s heavy. It’s expensive (it’s been costing you inner peace and joy as well as the freedom to live without restrictions). And it’s going to drop. It will drop because you’ll hit the button to make it fall. When it hits the ground, it will be on your level, and you’ll be able to take action to send it rolling away from you. You are the one who will make this whole process happen. You just need various “buttons,” or tools to do so. As a heartfelt New Year’s gift, I offer you these 18 ways to reduce anxiety in 2018.

18 Ways to Reduce Anxiety This Year

  1. Create a vision board or visualize in a journal. What will your life be like when anxiety is gone? Be thorough, and be specific. And believe in it.
  2. Practice mindfulness. When your anxiety flares, pull your thoughts away from anxiety and into what is happening around you.
  3. Create a daily ritual. First thing in the morning, last thing before bed, or sometime in between, take a break to enjoy tea, read a book, light a scented candle—whatever you find stress- and anxiety reducing.
  4. Follow a routine. Predictability reduces anxiety.
  5. Determine your values. When you know what’s important to you, you can take action to make it happen. This goes a long way in reducing anxiety that comes from feeling adrift or out of sync with your values.
  6. Take committed action. Determine what you will do to kick that anxiety ball away from you.
  7. Accept that anxiety can’t fully disappear. When you accept this, you stop struggling against it and thus free up energy and time to do other things. This, ironically, reduces anxiety.
  8. Separate yourself from anxiety so you’re not fused with it. You aren’t your anxiety, nor are you your thoughts. There’s a big difference between “I’m terrible in social settings,” and “I’m having the thought that I’m terrible in social settings.”
  9. Take small steps. Determine what little steps you can take every day to move toward your vision and values and away from anxiety.
  10. Know yourself. Anxiety tries to take over our identity. Take it back. What are your strengths? How can you use your strengths to move past your anxity?
  11. Reduce stress. Stress contributes to anxiety, so monitor your stress levels. Make adjustments and changes where needed.
  12. Know your passions. What do you love? What brings you joy? Anxiety makes us avoid things, but concentrating on your passions gets you moving in the right direction.
  13. Know your purpose. Why do you want to reduce anxiety? Knowing the reason provides extra motivation.
  14. Do something every day (or almost every day) that takes you a bit out of your comfort zone. To beat anxiety, you have to face it, and that takes courage.
  15. Meditate. Quiet your anxious thoughts by sitting in silence, letting your thoughts drift by.
  16. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Physical heath is vital to mental health and anxiety reduction. Take care of your mind and body through nutrition, hydration, and sleep.
  17. Laugh. When it comes to anxiety, laughter really is one of the best medicines. It positively impacts the brain and our mind.
  18. Exercise. Twenty- to 30 minutes a day a few days a week will impact the brain positively and reduce anxiety.

Perhaps start with one or two on the list and gradually add more as the year progresses. Trying to do them all at once might increase anxiety, which of course you don’t want. Use these methods as you wish so they can be helpful to you. That way, you will reduce your anxiety in 2018.

 

 

Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of four critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges as well as a self-help book on acceptance and commitment therapy. She speaks nationally about mental health, and she has a curriculum for middle and high schools. Find her on her websiteFacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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