Anxiety and stress are a normal response to various life situations, but when they are chronic, it can be detrimental to one's health and well-being. Thankfully, they can be managed, and there are multiple ways to calm anxiety. This article will show you different anxiety coping skills, techniques, and activities that you can start using right away to reduce anxiety and tension.
Learn How To Breathe Properly
In response to stressful situations, it is common for one's breathing to become quick and shallow, which can build-up, create more anxiety, and lead to health issues if it becomes a long-term problem.
One way to solve this is by practicing deep breathing techniques, which will help you become more relaxed.
By breathing through your nose and allowing your lungs and stomach to fill up with air, then slowly releasing it through your mouth or nose, you can create the relaxation response in your body. This is one of the simplest and easily applied anxiety coping skills.
By doing this, your body is receiving the full amount of oxygen that it needs, whereas with shallow breathing prevents this, and can make you feel shortness of breath and consequently, more anxious.  Deep breathing also helps to slow down your heart rate and regulate your body temperature, which mitigates other anxiety symptoms as well.
It takes some practice getting used to, but by finding a quiet place to practice deep breathing and being mindful, you can learn how to calm your anxiety.
Participate In Regular Exercise
The benefits of exercise have been well-documented for all aspects of health, and it should become a part of everyone's routine.
For anxiety and stress, exercise works to reduce it through various physical and psychological mechanisms such as :
It is recommended that you take the time and set aside around 2.5 hours per week of exercise to have any benefits and teach you how to calm down from anxiety; however, it is advised that you participate in it regularly. For example, the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) suggests that 30 minutes a day, five days a week is sufficient for a healthy lifestyle .
Make Sure You Are Getting Enough Sleep
Nearly all living organisms need sleep to function correctly, and in our busy lives, it can sometimes get neglected. If you want to learn how to calm your anxiety, getting more sleep is part of the solution; however, for many people, it is a challenge.
Unfortunately, sleep and anxiety are highly interrelated and affect each other significantly. Having too much anxiety can result in insomnia and other sleep disorders, but not getting enough sleep also contributes to anxiety.
College students, in particular, are especially prone to both sleep issues and anxiety, and a study involving 462 individuals with varying degrees of anxiety produced have reported many different concerns such as :
In addition to this, several specific characteristics of anxiety were rated, and the majority described having:
Not only can anxiety and sleep disorders create challenges related to performance and productivity, but they can also increase your risk for health problems such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes and also make accidents more likely .
If you have a hard time getting to sleep, you may need to practice better sleep habits, such as turning your electronics off well-before you go to bed, reducing or eliminating your caffeine intake, and creating a bedtime that is consistent and is not too late.
Finding ways to relax and manage your anxiety will have positive outcomes for your sleep quality, and vice-versa - your stress levels should decrease with adequate rest.
Put On Some Music
One of the most effortless methods for calming your anxious mind is music therapy. The ability of most people to create and enjoy music is one of the defining factors of human culture, and it allows people to express themselves.
Soothing music with a low tempo that is close to a normal heartbeat, such as classical music, smooth jazz, and even the sounds of nature will help induce relaxation; however, the music of your own choice can be just as helpful.
Compared to silence, music has demonstrated effectiveness in reducing hypertension in patients waiting to undergo surgery. In a study consisting of 40 volunteers with similar blood pressure that were awaiting cataract procedures, two groups were created: one who listened to self-selected music and another that did not have music at all. 
Those who were allowed to listen to their music throughout the entire operation showed an average decrease in blood pressure by 35 mm Hg systolic and 24mm Hg diastolic, whereas those who weren't exposed to music remained hypertensive.
In addition to this, surgeons in previous studies have also reported that they have felt less stressed and performed better when listening to music that they liked. 
In general, most people would recommend listening to slow, calming music for anxiety, but energetic music, while it is not intended to reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, can still help decrease stress and help put you in a better mood, especially if it's your preferred music.
Create A Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet
The relationship between nutrition and one's overall mental health is significant, and one of the ways to calm anxiety is by making good food choices.
First, your brain, especially your central nervous system, needs food and plenty of nutrients to function properly and to its fullest. Without them, there is an increased risk of mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety. 
It has been shown in a group of Appalachian college students that those with the aforementioned mental health issues had a diet characterized as being high in sugar but low in fruits and vegetables. Therefore, it was hypothesized that excess sugar and poor diet quality could be a contributor to depression and anxiety, or make it worse.
These students displayed symptoms that would persist from anywhere from a third to half of a month, which could also negatively impact not only their mental health but their physical well-being too. Consequently, this could also be detrimental to their academic performance. 
Poor diet choices can also be a cause of cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure, and when in a state of stress, this could make symptoms of anxiety feel amplified. Making some lifestyle changes, such as eating right and quitting smoking, might not be the cure for your anxiety, but these alterations should help reduce the severity of your symptoms by allowing your heart and lungs to work less hard and more efficiently.
Comfort foods might seem like a quick way to find relief, but in the long-term, it is likely that they may be making things more problematic. Therefore, if you have a habit of picking up junk food in times of stress, try replacing them with healthy alternatives - you should feel better.
Anxiety management does take work, but it pays off. Most of these tips, aside from the one related to your diet, work quite fast. For instance, being conscious of your breathing and getting a good night's rest can provide immediate benefits.
However, if you struggle with chronic anxiety, you might also benefit from counseling. At BetterHelp, licensed counselors and therapists are available to help get to the root of your anxiety. These strategies in this article can help show you how to calm down anxiety and its symptoms, but you may find that working with a therapist can help you get to the causes of your anxiety. And, you can learn additional coping skills and techniques specific to your needs.
Commonly Asked Questions:
What are some good anxiety coping skills?
One of the most effect coping strategies for anxiety is deep breathing. Deep breathing is great way for reducing stress in general, and it’s a strategy that you can use for in-the-moment anxiety management.
Reducing stress in your life overall is another way to help manage anxiety now and in the future. While you can’t just snap your fingers and stop worrying, there are a few lifestyle changes that can help with stress management, and in turn, help in reducing anxiety overall.
First of all, you need to get enough sleep. Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Spending time sleeping – even if it’s just an extra hour or two each night – can make a big difference in reducing anxiety. Getting enough sleep can help you focus better, and it makes you better prepared to manage feelings and emotions that can trigger anxiety.
Next, you should get exercise every day. This doesn’t mean you have to become a gym rat: even taking a stroll around the neighborhood or doing some stretching exercises at home is enough for reducing stress and calming your brain and body. Consistent exercise can reduce muscle tension and promote muscle relaxation; when you relax, it’s easier to manage your anxiety. Also, it’s best if you spend time in nature while you’re exercising to get the full benefit.
Additionally, cutting back on caffeine and alcohol has also been shown to help manage anxiety. Caffeine and alcohol impact both the body and the mind, and they have lasting effects on your physical and mental health. Even though you may drink these beverages to relax, consistent consumption can actually add to the tension in your life. While completely giving up caffeine and alcohol might not work for you, try to drink less each day. In its place, have a refreshing glass of water to stay hydrated and set your mind and body up for success.
Meditation is another great way to cope with anxiety. Meditation is the process of calming your mind and body so that you can rest and relax on a deeper level. For extra support with meditation, you can get help from a professional, or even start out with videos and resources available for free online. Spending time on meditation doesn’t have to be a difficult or serious thing: it’s just about getting into a restful space and taking the time to relax and reflect on your own nature.
Some medical professionals might recommend medications as a means of coping with anxiety. According to the International Journal of Depression and Anxiety, these medications are specifically formulated for treatment of an anxiety disorder, so before taking any medicine for anxiety management it’s crucial and necessary to talk with a doctor and get a clear diagnosis for an anxiety disorder.
Finally, seeking support from a mental health professional or a support group is a great way to tackle anxiety head-on. Most therapists will use a cognitive behavioral approach to help you identify the triggers for your anxiety, and to really recognize what causes the tension. Then, the therapy will focus on different ways to cope with anxiety. They will help you establish and maintain the support and coping skills that you need for a future without anxiety.
Support groups operate much in the same way. In a support group, you are free to talk with others who are also experiencing the tension and stress of coping with anxiety. You can and listen to the worries of others, and in doing so, contextualize and better grasp your own worries. You will also learn and different anxiety coping skills, and you’ll get to discuss the application and effectiveness of these different strategies with the support group over time.
What is the 333 rule for anxiety?
The 3-3-3 rule for reducing anxiety falls under the umbrella of mindfulness coping skills. When you start to worry or begin to feel anxious, you should first name three things that you can see. Then, identify three different sounds that you hear. Finally, move three different parts of your body, and pay careful attention to how moving them feels.
This 3-3-3 rule can help bring you back to the present, and make you aware of where you are and how you’re doing. It’s an effective way of dealing with anxiety when you feel worry or panic setting in.
How do you calm anxiety quickly?
When you feel anxious, or when you start to feel worry and panic taking over, there are some immediate coping strategies that you can apply to manage that anxiety. One of the most common coping skills for reducing anxiety is deep breathing. It is one of the more effective strategies for those who experience anxiety, because you can see the results of deep breathing very quickly.
Start by taking a deep breath through your nose. Make sure that you’re breathing all the way down towards your stomach; this is called diaphragmatic breathing. Then, hold the breath for several seconds. Finally, breath out slowly through your mouth. As you exhale, imagine that you are pushing out all of the worries and anxious feelings. Before you breathe in again, wait with your lungs empty for a few seconds. Then, repeat the exercise until your breathing is steady, your heart rate is down to normal, and you feel control over the worry and stress.
If you have a bit more time, you can also try progressive muscle relaxation. In this exercise, you start by breathing deeply. Once you’ve established a good rhythm of deep breathing, think about each one of your body parts. Start with your head, and scan slowly down to your feet. Relax each body part, and breathe out any feelings of stress or tension. Go slowly, and don’t stop until your whole body feels free of tension.
Hopefully, these quick coping skills can help you with any anxiety that you might experience in the future!
Is anxiety a mental illness?
In a word, yes. “Anxiety” is a colloquial way that people often refer to a series of mental disorders that have been defined, described, and diagnosed by medical and mental health professionals over the past several decades.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, there are six types of anxiety disorders. The most common is generalize anxiety disorder, and its symptoms are:
As you can see, these are clearly defined symptoms that go beyond mere feelings of worry or stress. These symptoms are long-lasting, and the person who has to cope with them exhibits these symptoms for a prolonged period of time.
If you or one of your friends or family is exhibiting these symptoms, you should talk to a mental health professional. They can help you identify any mental health or medical conditions underlying the symptoms, and help get the necessary treatment and support. This treatment often includes therapy.
Why do people develop anxiety?
People develop and experience anxiety for many different reasons. People often develop anxiety as a response to a major life change, or some external situation. Some of the most common causes of anxiety include:
All of these life events can trigger anxiety. A great way to address anxiety head-on is to take part in therapy that addresses these issues and teaches you ways to cope with the effects of these events.
What are the symptoms of high anxiety?
When a person experiences generalized anxiety disorder, they may exhibit a series of symptoms. Some of these symptoms can be seen in the body, while others are observed as behaviors that are a result of anxious thought patterns and/or beliefs.
Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety include physical tension in the muscles (especially the neck and shoulders), a higher heart rate, increased body temperature, and higher respiration rate. These physical symptoms – especially muscle tension – are also signs of stress.
There are also feelings and emotions causing anxiety in many cases. For instance, prolonged stress and worry can lead to anxious thoughts and behaviors. Such anxiety provoking thoughts can include fear about the future, a feeling of a directionless life, always imagining the worst case scenario, or feeling a lack of control in one’s own life. Racing thoughts and out-of-control worry can lead to high anxiety. Such thoughts are also linked to depression as well.
When a person has to deal with all of these anxious thoughts, it can lead to an anxiety attack in some cases. An anxiety attacks – also known as a panic attack – is an episode that a person experiences when their body reacts sharply, quickly, and extremely to the worries and tension that trigger their anxiety. During an anxiety attack, a person usually feels a tightness (or even pain) in their chest. Their breathing becomes rapid and shallow, and their muscles tense up tightly. They are often unable to speak during the panic / anxiety attack.
If you or one of your friends is experiencing a panic attack, coping strategies such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can help in the moment. In the long term, therapy is a great option for treating anxiety. With therapy, you and/or your friends can learn several coping strategies for anxiety. Plus, you’ll get support to work on ways to prevent anxiety attacks by managing the feelings and thoughts that trigger anxiety in the first place.