How to Calm Anxiety: The Secret to Calming Your Anxious Mind
Before we begin, I want you to know something…
I’m just like you.
I’ve sat in corporate meetings or first-date coffee shops with my heart beating out of my chest, thinking of everything that could possibly go wrong. I’ve felt the same signs and symptoms of an anxiety attack that you feel: the feverish heat, the light headedness, the shortness of breath, the chest pain that feels like a 40 pound pug is sitting on your chest…
What I’m saying is this: you’re not alone.
I’ve been there, and stressed that. I’ve panicked enough for 10 life-times. I’ve had anxiety attacks that have brought me to the brink of passing out. Panic attacks that have made me want to eliminate any and all pressure and responsibility in my life. And at the end of all this needless suffering, I’ve realized that the cure for an anxious mind is not to keep worrying about when (or if) these feelings will go away...
In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
I’ve learned how to calm anxiety through a simple mindset-shift. And in this wonderfully short blog post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know to do this. But before we talk about the cure, let’s answer this basic question...
What is anxiety?
What is Anxiety and How to Recognize an Anxiety Attack
There’s really no need to ever google search, “do I have anxiety?”, because in the words of the great Pusha T…
If you know, you know.
If you check out the more traditional resources like healthline or wikipedia, you’ll find some clinical definitions and generic descriptions. Things like, anxiety is a natural response to stress; or, anxiety is characterized by excessive fear or worry. And you know what...yeah, these are objectively true.
But it’s one thing to describe anxiety clinically, and it’s a whole ‘nother thing to actually feel it.
Everyone is different. But to make things easy, anxiety is best characterized as a physiological stress response that’s amplified and/or sustained by imagined hypothetical failures.
Let me explain…
If you get in a minor car crash and are now stressing out about the annoying task of getting your car fixed...that’s not anxiety. Anxiety is getting in your car in the morning and feeling your heart flutter, your blood pressure rise, and your head start spinning, because you’re terrified that if you pass out on the freeway, you’ll die.
It doesn’t matter that you’ve driven this route 600 times, or that you’ve never actually passed out once in your life. What matters is the objective fact that if you pass out going 80 miles-per-hour in the fast lane, you’ll probably die.
So...your brain spends the next 15 minutes doing everything it can to ironically improve the possibility of this catastrophe happening - by manifesting physical symptoms (chest pain, lightheadedness, feeling faint) that cause your mind to worry even more about your impending demise.
That’s anxiety :)
Or how about this...
You’re on a date and ready to meet this person for the first time. You sit there waiting for them, trying to look cool and confident, and all of a sudden a thought comes into your mind…”what if I can’t catch my breath during the conversation?!”
Your date shows up. And despite your complete lack of physical exertion in the last 10 minutes...you fight to catch your breath for the next hour. You ask questions to buy you some time and do your best to hide breaths in between words.
It’s the distinct power of an anxiety attack to acutely manifest racing thoughts and troubling physical symptoms like no other condition I’ve ever encountered. But here’s some amazing news: that same distinct power is what we can harness to create the ultimate anxiety solution.
How to Calm Anxiety
Congratulations! You made it to the section of this blog that can actually change your life. Here’s how this is gonna work:
First, we’ll start with 2 anxiety remedies that I would classify as “quick fixes” for anxiety. While I wouldn’t classify these 2 examples as long-term cures for an anxious mind, they are both things I see people using all the time. And so...I’m obliged to mention them and give you my honest assessment of their viability
Once we get those out of the way, we’ll cover the strategies I recommend to anyone who is struggling to calm their anxiety. OK then, here we go!
Quick Fix #1: Anxiety Drugs, Gabapentin, Xanax, Propranolol, etc.
Let me be clear: I don’t recommend anxiety medication. That’s for you and your doctor to decide. If you use an anxiety drug and it works well for you, I won’t tell you to stop. That’s not my place. But i will give you my honest opinion.
Using anti-anxiety drugs could be a great short-term fix or a helpful tool in your anxiety tool box. But like all drugs, these things have real side effects. And ultimately, since anxiety is a physical manifestation of the mind, I think you’re in better shape if you can find a way to beat anxiety without relying on a powerful drug for the rest of your life.
The key word there is “powerful” - because there are natural anxiety easing molecules that I do recommend using each day for anxiety relief (you’ll see one down below). But these molecules aren’t powerful beta blockers or benzodiazepines. Molecules of that strength I must leave to the discretion of you and your doctor. So...enough medication talk. Let’s move on :)
Quick Fix #2: Essential Oils for Anxiety
I’m not an expert on essential oils, and frankly...I don’t need to be.
I’ve never tried essential oils or aromatherapy for anxiety relief. And based on where I am in my life now (mostly anxiety-free), I have no interest in sampling the world of lavender and chamomile etc.
If you want to learn the basics of essential oils, then check out the video below.
But here's the truth: there’s not much science on aromatherapy or essential oils. These compounds can be rather costly. And there are A LOT of less-than-reputable companies in the space. So...venture into the world of essential oils at your own risk.
But again, if they work for you - even as a placebo effect - then go for it. More power to you! Just don’t drink the essential oils or spend too much money on them and you’ll be fine :)
Best Tip #1: L-Theanine for Anxiety
Oh l-theanine, how I love you. Let me count the ways…
Sorry, this little molecule really brings out the romantic in me. And that’s because l-theanine can seriously change your life.
L-theanine is an amino acid found mainly in tea leaves - but that’s not why I love it. I love l-theanine because it really does promote mental calmness and clarity without making you tired. It also modulates your body’s response to caffeine so that you can enjoy the caffeine-induced alertness without the caffeine-induced anxiety or jitters!
If you only try one molecule or supplement to ease your anxiety, please make it l-theanine. I recommend using our nootropic blend, DeyBrain, which contains 300mg of l-theanine per serving along with some other amazing anxiety-busting molecules. But if you just go out and buy an isolated l-theanine supplement, that’s a great place to start.
Best Tip #2: Read “Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks”
I’m a prolific reader of non-fiction. And yet...despite the many claims of supposed self-help books, few have ever changed my life.
The book is called, Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks, and reading it is the single greatest action I ever took to calm my anxiety and take control of my anxious mind.
Let me be clear. I don’t know the author. I have no affiliation with him or this book. And I don’t get paid anything to recommend it (although I wish I did). I just truly enjoy how much this book got me thinking - and how much those thoughts changed my life.
The central message of this book is that a simple mindset shift can fundamentally change your relationship with your anxiety. And because I don’t care about selling books, here’s the SparkNotes version:
Stop viewing your anxiety as a crippling weakness, and start viewing it as a SUPER POWER. Those feelings: the pounding heart beat, the anxious energy, the racing thoughts...people pay lots of money for drugs to make them feel this way. You and me? We get it for free!
I don’t need caffeine, because I have unlimited energy. Anxiety is not a curse, it’s a weapon! And as soon as you start viewing it this way, it stops becoming a problem in your life. But I know…you’re skeptical. And you should be.
So don’t take it from me. Take it from the author of the book, who probably has “Dr.” in his name now. Read the book. Take some l-theanine. And start enjoying life as a calm, cool and collected individual.
That’s how you calm anxiety and take control over your life.
(insert muscle arm + brain emojis here)