Reducing anxiety is a common goal among a lot of people. We all deal with some anxiety from time to time, but others of us deal with it so much that it starts to seriously impact our lives. When anxiety gets this bad, you’ll want to examine your current habits and think about how they might be contributing to the problem. Here are 6 habits you’ll want to change to reduce your anxiety levels.

#1 – Sleep
Sleep is an important part of reducing anxiety. When we’re tired our minds don’t work as well, and they are more susceptible to anxious thoughts. It’s important that you get enough sleep at night, and that the quality of this sleep is high. Are you going to bed at an early enough time and are you sleeping throughout the night? If the answer to either of these is no, you’ll want to change your sleep habits.

A great place to start is with a new mattress. We spend a third of our lives sleeping, so it’s important that you do it on a comfortable surface. If you’re in need of a mattress upgrade, start researching the types of mattresses available to you. Nectar vs Tuft and Needle is a great place to start, or you can just head to your local mattress store and try out a few models. Every person is different, so find a mattress that’s just right for you. 

#2 – Exercise
Changing your exercise habits can go a long way towards reducing anxiety. For starters, when you exercise, your mind becomes preoccupied so you’re unable to focus on the anxious thoughts. Second, exercise releases endorphins into your blood, which promote a positive feeling that lasts well beyond the workout. Finally, exercise will help you sleep better at night, which gets back to point #1. With a solid exercise routine you can lose weight, have more energy throughout the day, and improve your mental health, making it an excellent habit to work on. 

#3 – Your Diet
Along with exercise, you should also focus on what you’re eating. A proper diet will help you to feel better during the day. With a better mood you’re less likely to focus in on the anxious thoughts. With better eating habits you can start to look and feel better, which are key ingredients towards fighting anxiety and depression. To get started, here are some tips you can use to improve your eating habits

#4 – Organization
Sometimes we have anxiety because everything in our life is out of order. It’s hard to focus on work if your desk is a mess and it’s hard to relax at home when you have a ton of chores to do. Taking the time to organize your life can help to reduce stress, which will then lead to reduction in anxiety. Think about which areas of your life are the most chaotic. Is it your kitchen? Your office? Or perhaps it’s just your daily schedule. Whatever it is, find some ways to add some structure, then change your habits to keep things organized as you go forward. 

#5 – Avoidance
Anxiety grows when we start to avoid our problems. Let’s say you have anxiety because you want to ask your boss for a raise. The thought is so scary that you keep putting off, imagining all the ways the meeting could go wrong. The longer you put this meeting off, the worse your anxiety will get. When we put things off, it tells our brain that there is in fact something to worry about, and we enjoy the feeling of procrastination. To start reducing your anxiety levels, you need to start doing things right away. Remind yourself that the anxiety will only get worse the longer you wait, so it’s best to get it done with. Once you do, the tremendous feeling of relief will make diving in worth it. 

#6 - Catastrophizing
Finally, a lot of anxiety comes from catastrophizing. Catastrophizing is when we play out a scenario in our heads and assume the worse. Instead of imagining a simple meeting with our boss to ask for a raise, we imagine all the tough questions they’ll ask, how they’ll laugh in our face, or how they’ll fire us on the spot. It’s important to regularly remind yourself that the worst case scenario is unlikely to happen, and that it’s all in your head. If you can start to bring your thoughts back down to reality, you’ll have a much easier time managing your anxiety. 

Changing these 6 habits will take time, but you’ll be much better off in the long run. Think about which ones are currently your biggest problem, then take some small steps to address them. Stick with it, and before long your anxiety will be at a much more manageable level.