20 healthy habits to reduce anxiety

Everyone experiences anxiety at times. 

We might experience performance anxiety before doing a presentation or an athletic event or social anxiety before meeting new people, or we might feel more of a general anxiety about something uncertain in our future. 

Whilst we can’t eliminate anxiety entirely, there are lots of little things we can do throughout the day to help us feel calmer and more grounded. 

We spoke to Nicola Jane Hobbs, Stress & Rest Researcher and Reflex Ambassador for her little calming habits that you can try weaving into your day: 
  1. Before you get out of bed in the morning, ask yourself, ‘What am I looking forward to today?’
  2. Avoid checking your phone for at least 30 minutes after waking up so you don’t bombard your brain with sensory stimulation. 
  3. Eat your breakfast mindfully without any unnecessary distractions. 
  4. Choose comfortable clothes with soft fabrics to reduce sensory stress.
  5. Set realistic expectations for how much you can get done in a day and how long each task will take you. 
  6. Do one thing at a time and avoid multitasking. 
  7. Turn off the notifications on your phone and/or put your phone in another room when you’re not using it. 
  8. Close your eyes for a few seconds throughout the day to reduce sensory overwhelm. 
  9. Check in with your body throughout the day and relax any areas you’re holding tension. 
  10. Check in with your breath throughout the day and take a few deep breaths, letting your belly expand as you inhale and lengthening the exhale. 
  11. If you notice your inner critic getting loud, speak to yourself with compassion. 
  12. Pay attention to the things that bring you joy. 
  13. Create a transition ritual between work and non-work time to help your brain switch off from thinking about work tasks e.g. doing a five minute meditation when you get home. 
  14. Notice any stress-inducing thoughts such as ‘I haven’t got time’ and let them go instead of getting sucked into them.
  15. Do some kind of physical activity each day. This could be anything from a walk around the park on your lunch break to a gym session or yoga class.
  16. Have at least one emotionally intimate conversation each day where you can share how you’re feeling. 
  17. Create a 10 minute ‘worry window’ where you can note down all your worries in a journal or diary in that time slot instead of thinking about them all day.
  18. Aim to go to bed around the same time each night. 
  19. Stop using screens about an hour before going to sleep and choose calming activities instead such as reading, gentle stretching and having a bath.
  20. At the end of the day, ask yourself, ‘What am I grateful for today?’

At Reflex, we value mental health just as much as physical health. Science tells us that exercise and mental health are intertwined and we believe that making quality sports nutrition isn’t just about enhancing body condition, strength and fitness but also about helping reach goals, enhancing wellbeing and ultimately making people feel good.️

Sometimes we feel that the fitness world can forget that it’s about more than just looks. We want to bring mental health to the forefront so start conversations, break down barriers and come together as a community to support one another. We don't want anything to stop you reaching your goals and feeling your best! 

For more wellbeing reading, check out our blog, The Locker. Or for a list of resources and support services see here