To some degree, every person has anxiety. It's a perfectly normal emotion, according to WebMD. But for the 40 million people in the U.S. (18 percent of the adult population) with anxiety disorders, the feeling is so severe that it interferes with day-to-day life, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
If you're one of these people, then you know the struggles all too well, but here's the good news: There's a lot you can do to feel better. In fact, several hundred people on Reddit recently shared their tried-and-true activities for coping when worries become too much. To be clear, these activities don't treat an anxiety disorder, but they can be used to help manage stress, ease tension, and supplement medication and therapy.
Their best ideas were simple, straightforward, and some were even—dare we say it—fun! Here are some of the best ways to get your mind off of your worries and reduce your anxiety.
1. Meditate. This was one of the most popular suggestions, but commenters also recommended prayer and mindfulness too.
2. Exercise or go for a run. "It forces you to focus on a physical action and will exhaust your body to the point where you don't think about anxious thoughts," one poster explained.
3. Take a drive. Several Redditors emphasized how much driving helped them. One wrote that it helped them feel in control.
4. Listen to music. Put in some earbuds and crank up the music. This can be especially helpful at night when you're trying to fall asleep.
5. Clean and organize your home. Use your anxious energy to do something productive like tidying up around the house.
6. Focus on breathing. Several users shared this tactic. Slow and deep breathing seems to work best.
7. Spend time with animals. Take your dog for a walk, cuddle with your cat, or volunteer at an animal shelter.
8. Have sex. We doubt your partner will have any objections to this popular suggestion.
9. Express your creativity by coloring. There's a reason those adult coloring books are everywhere—they're fun and relaxing. Plus, there are coloring books specifically designed to help you feel better, like this "Don't Worry, Eat Cake" book filled with encouraging messages.
10. Read a novel. There's nothing quite like a good story to help you escape and get your mind off everything else going on.
11. Go outside. Sit under a tree, go for a walk, head to the beach, or make use of whatever pretty outdoor space is close by.
12. Do some yoga. This sequence was designed specifically to help participants de-stress.
13. Knit a scarf. Or crochet, or sew, or even paint—anything creative that requires your full attention will help you feel better.
14. Take a bubble bath. Enough said.
15. Do some gardening. There are a ton of reasons to try gardening, not least of which is to experience serenity. Practicing mindfulness while you garden is a proven way to reduce stress.
Jessica Leigh MatternWeb EditorJessica Leigh Mattern is a web editor and writer who covers home, holiday, DIY, crafts, travel, and more lifestyle topics.
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