I love feeling anxious. Said no one. Ever. Feelings of fear and anxiety range from uncomfortable to overwhelming at times. When experiencing fear and anxiety, we want to know how to calm anxiety fast. We want to escape immediately. Anxiety is quite persistent. But, you probably already know that. As a Christian counselor, I suggest hitting fear and anxiety from two sides.
First, when we are deep into an anxious moment, and want to calm anxiety fast, there are some ways to get a quick win (or at least some relief from the anxiety). This article will cover a list of things to calm anxiety fast.
Next, it’s important to know that there is a way to actually take anxious thoughts captive. This is the good news! However, it’s not a quick win. In fact it requires quite a bit of effort. Both routes are necessary in the battle of the mind.
Imagine your front lawn is packed with weeds. You can either pull the weeds out by the roots or you can mow the weeds down. Both ways lead to an improved front lawn, but pulling the weeds out by the root yields lasting results.
Same thing goes for anxiety. The list on how to calm anxiety fast, however, it’s like mowing the weeds down. It’s a quick win – both necessary and helpful. However, learning how to take anxious thoughts captive will get you longer lasting results.
Check out these articles for more on this topic…
Let’s dive into how to calm anxiety fast…
12 Ways to Calm Anxiety Fast!
1. Take Something Off Your To Do List
Anxiety runs higher when our schedules are overwhelmed with tasks and responsibilities. Our culture over schedules and we begin to believe we have no choice, but to say yes to everything. It’s okay to say no. Furthermore, it’s okay to put some of those tasks off to a different day. Or, even better – delegate it! Leave white spaces on your calendar.
2. Focus on Things You Can Control
Everyday, you’re faced with things within your circle of control and things outside of your circle of control. God has given each of us a Spirit of self-control.
… For God gave us a Spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. -2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
Self control means control over my own thoughts, feelings and actions. Anything outside of my circle of control gets moved to God’s circle. Whenever we try to veer into God’s circle of control, our anxiety shoots up. This is because we are trying to lift God weight.
Focusing on things that you can control, might be my favorite way to calm anxiety fast. Simply jot down what you would like to happen, then decide what action you can take and give the rest to God.
On that note, all the things outside your circle of control belongs to God. Choose to leave it at the cross.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. -1 Peter 5:7 NIV
God hears the prayers of His children (1 Peter 3:12). Furthermore, your prayers are powerful (James 5:16b). It’s time to begin casting your anxieties on the One who cares for you!
4. Be Still
Carve out time to be still. Meditate on things that are lovely, delightful and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). We can choose what we put our minds on. Science proves we can only think one thing at a time. Keep in mind- you will go where ever you steer. Choose to be still before God and combine that stillness with prayer.
Be still and know that I am God; -Psalm 46:10 ANIV
Shows that deep breathing tricks the cells in our body to relax. Try “box breathing”, credited to Navy Seal, Mark Divine. I love this because you can do it anywhere, anytime and it requires no tools. Simply breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, and hold four seconds. Do this as many times as necessary. This technique is used for relaxing, insomnia and pain management among other things.
6. Write Down Anxious Thoughts
Anxious thoughts have a way of looping in our mind. It’s like circling the same block over and over. The worst part is they seem to loop on turbo speed and it can feel very out of control.
Consequently, by writing down the anxious thoughts, everything slows to the speed of your pen. Writing brings chaos in to order. Once anxious thoughts are written down they are more manageable and we can challenge the thoughts.
7. Challenge Anxious Thoughts
We are way too polite to the thoughts looping in our head. It’s time to kick them out. Challenging your thoughts are part of taking them captive.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. -2 Corinthians 10:5
A great way to do this is to connect the fear with an attribute of God or one of His promises from the Bible. Check out this video for more on this topic.
8. Practice Gratitude
Practicing gratitude is great for calming anxiety fast (along with a whole list of other negative emotions). Earlier we talked about how to choose what we put our thoughts on. Science shows that practicing gratitude increases happiness by 25%. What if we traded 25% of our anxiety for the positive emotion of happiness? It’s worth a shot!
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God‘s will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:18
Turns out that God’s will is on point… He has been saying all along to practice gratitude!
9. Play Worship Music
Be purposeful about what your brain soaks in. When I watch news for hours on end, the future can look pretty bleak. However, soaking in things that are beneficial to your spiritual, emotional and mental health will calm anxiety fast.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. -Proverbs 4:23 NIV
When we listen to worship music, it helps us to fix our eyes on Christ (Hebrews 12:2). God’s Word promises that the mind that is steadfast on him will be kept in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).
10. Do the Next Thing
When your heart is overwhelmed and the daily grind or difficult season has your frozen – just do the next thing. Much of the time, fear is attributed to the future in someway. God knew today was enough to handle. When we worry about a pile of tomorrow’s, we get anxious and overwhelmed.
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow we’ll worry about it self. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -Matthew 6:34
Ask yourself, “what is the next thing?” …And do just that. Facing one day at a time. Some days need to be taken moment by moment.
11. Write Permission Slips
Give yourself permission to worry at a designated time. Schedule worrying to a particular time of day. This frees up your day to do the next thing and deal with concerns at an allotted time. Pro tip: schedule the end time as well so there is a finish line. Many find this to be an effective tool to come anxiety fast.
12. Seek Godly Counsel
It might be helpful to have a trusted person in your life that can support you in this journey to crush anxious thoughts. Choose someone seasoned in faith. This can be effective in sharing and processing fears. Prayer about the things you’re facing with a fellow believer is an encouragement. Christian coaching/counseling may be beneficial as well – more on that here.
Summary: How to Calm Anxiety Fast
Pare down the to-do list, creating white space on your calendar. Practice being still before God, meditating on His goodness. Focus on things you can control, rather than the things you can’t control. When you identify what is outside of your circle of control, pray and entrust it to God.
Be purposeful in carving out time to be still, meditating on things that are lovely delightful and true. Try box breathing as a way to calm down. Take the time to write your thoughts down and then challenge thoughts that are untrue. Practicing gratitude can increase your happiness by 25%, decreasing your anxiety at the same time.
Play worship music – soak in things that improve your spiritual, emotional and mental health. Focus on just doing the next thing rather than worrying about tomorrow. Give yourself permission to worry at designated times so it doesn’t consume the day. Find a trusted friend who is seasoned in faith to support you through feeling anxious.
What would you add to this list. What helps you to calm anxiety fast? Leave a note in the comments!