The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that somewhere in the ballpark of 40 million adults in the United States have some kind of anxiety disorder, which is roughly 18.1 percent of the population. That said, we all experience bouts of anxiety and stress in our lives, making it all the more important that we arm ourselves with coping mechanisms. If you're looking for new ideas to do just that, keep scrolling for 37 hacks for reducing anxiety that Reddit swears by.
While there are plenty of underlying causes of stress an anxiety, there are plenty of surface level ones, too: We have jobs we don't like that don't pay us enough. We have friends and family we don't see. We spend too much time in front of our computers and phones, and not enough time resting and recharging. And here's the real kicker: We stress about being stressed. Before you know it, it can feel like it has spiraled out of your control.
To make matters worse, stress and anxiety affect so many aspects of your life — your sleep, relationships, sometimes even your own sense of self. The first key to managing anxiety and stress is acknowledging it, and either trying to find a way to ease it with various methods, or reaching out for help from loved ones or a professional. In the meantime, consider these 37 hacks that worked for people who are also coping with anxiety and stress — one of them could very well help you the way it helped someone else.
1. Spend Quiet Time Outdoors
A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found that spending time outdoors can be good for your mental health. As challenging as it might feel, try to get outdoors for a little while, and see how it feels.
2. Work It Out
Although we think of fitness as something we do for our bodies, science says it's good for your mind, too. In fact, research published in The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychology notes that exercise can help you sleep better, reduce stress, give you energy, and improve your mood. It doesn't have to be a full-blown workout; even a quick stroll will make a difference.
3. Do Whatever The Heck You Want
This is such a good point. Many of us spend so much of our time doing things we really hate. Clear some of that time for the stuff you love.
Mental Health America notes that meditation is particularly effective in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
5. Get Some Rest
It's simple but powerful advice: Sleep it off. Sometimes, all you need is to close your eyes for a bit.
6. Take A Hot Bath
Maybe add some candles, bath salts, essential oils... some soothing music, a good book... You deserve a little "you" time, don't you think?
7. Listen To Music
You might very well be able to calm yourself down by listening to the right music. The University of Nevada, Reno suggests music of around 60 beats per minute. This helps you relax.
8. Drink Tea
Is there anything more comforting and soothing than a nice cup of tea?
9. Go For A Drive
Something about getting behind the wheel and taking off — even when you have no idea where you're going — is oddly calming. Open the windows and let the breeze hit you.
10. Do The 5 Step Sense
This is a grounding technique that can help take you from a moment of chaos to a moment of calm. Give it a shot.
11. Listen To ASMR Videos
Yes. Oh yes. Hop on YouTube and search through the endless ASMR videos for the very best in relaxation. Prepare to get the tingles hardcore.
12. Watch Something Funny
13. Give Your Pets Some TLC
14. Practice Mindfulness
Don't underestimate the power of being in the moment. Whether you're washing the dishes or taking a shower, really pay attention to what you're doing, how it feels, what it looks like, smells like, and let it sink in.
15. Bake Something Delicious
Spending time in the kitchen can be super therapeutic. I'm also referring to all the eating you get to do once the baking is done.
Whether it's journaling or working on a book or blogging or something else entirely, putting a pen to paper can be a lifesaver when you're struggling with anxiety or stress.
17. Play Video Games
If you need to check out for a bit, there's nothing like a couple games of Donkey Kong or Mario Kart.
18. Have A Good Laugh
There might be a benefit to laughing, even if you have to force it a little. Research published in The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine says that laughing helps the release of endorphins. As a result, it can help you when you're feeling stressed or depressed.
19. Spend Time Gardening
That herb garden is going to look so amazing in your backyard. As an added bonus, research in the Journal of Health Psychology says that gardening can help fight acute stress.
20. Talk To Yourself
Is your mind swirling with thoughts? Get them out of your head by talking them out — with yourself.
21. Get Reassurance From Someone
It can make a world of difference just to hear the words, "Everything is going to be okay." Sometimes, we need to know we're not alone, and we'll get past this, too.
22. Have A Good Cry
Sometimes there is nothing quite as cathartic as a good cry.
There's something satisfying and rewarding about taking a messy home and making it sparkle. Plus, according to a study published in Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, clutter can increase stress levels.
Crocheting (and knitting!) forces you to concentrate and use your hands, and at the same time, it's mindless. It's easy to get lost in it for hours.
Reading helps some people because it's an escape. For others, it's a useful way to keep their minds busy. Find a page-turner and dive right in.
This isn't American Idol, and nobody cares if you can't carry a tune. Belt one out and you might feel better.
27. Spend Times With Groups Of People
When anxiety takes hold of you and won't let go, throwing yourself into social situations can be the distraction you need.
Keeping your emotions bottled up can make you feel isolated and alone, when the truth is, plenty of people around you are also experiencing stress and anxiety. Let it all out, friend — odds are others will relate.
29. Get A Massage
There's nowhere I'd rather be than facedown on a massage table with drool coming out of my mouth.
30. Wander Around A Store
Getting lost can be the best therapy. Wandering aimlessly around a store with no real goal in mind can work wonders.
31. Snuggle Under A Weighted Blanket
Proponents agree that weighted blankets can seriously help ease your anxiety. Plus, they just feel really nice and relaxing.
32. Practice Yoga
Research in The West Indian Medical Journal says that yoga can help make us more resilient to stressful situations. Namaste.
33. Think In Small Time Blocks
Anxiety can make you feel like the world is on your shoulders. Make life feel more manageable by splitting it up into tiny time blocks. Simple.
34. Cut Back On Caffeine
There's nothing like a big cup of coffee, but if you're dealing with stress or anxiety, it might not do much to help you.
35. Stop And Count To 10
A few deep breaths plus counting can be all you need to get your mind to calm down enough so you can start functioning again.