How to Calm Down Anxiety: 3 Steps to Ease

It’s estimated that over 31% of adults in the US will experience an anxiety disorder, at some time in their life. Making learning how to calm down anxiety a crucial skill in our fast-paced and often stressful world.  In this blog post we’ll explore the root cause of anxiety itself.  

We’ll look at how Polyvagal Theory and how the vagal nerve can both make anxiety worse and ease anxiety, and share practical strategies for reduce anxiety such as deep breathing exercise. Plus we’ll look at the impact chiropractic care can have on increasing vagal tone to ease anxiety on a long term basis.

Table of Contents:

What is anxiety?

While nearly all adults and many children will experience occasional anxiety, mental health experts define anxiety disorder as a recurrent or persistent state of intense or excessive, worry or fear about everyday situations. These feelings of anxiety can interfere with daily activities and may cause both physical and emotional symptoms such as increased heart rate or sweating.

The autonomic nervous system (ANS), which controls almost all automatic bodily functions like heartbeat, digestion, and breathing, has two main divisions: sympathetic (“fight or flight”) and parasympathetic (“rest & digest”).  During anxiety attacks the sympathetic system is triggered and gets “stuck on” leading to heightened alertness and a feeling of danger or stress. 

Polyvagal Theory the gateway to calm anxiety

Polyvagal theory looks at how our nervous system uses the vagal nerve to respond to stress and danger.   to explains our body’s physiological response to stress and danger. According to this theory, our vagus nerve - part of the parasympathetic division - influences our ability to calm ourselves after periods of heightened stress or danger. A well-functioning vagus nerve helps us return to a relaxed state more quickly after stressful events.

Recognizing Common Symptoms of Anxiety

Recognizing these signs early can help ease anxiety more effectively, by creating a plan to reset the nervous system quickly.

Physical Symptoms: When Stress Gets Real

When anxiety hits, it’s like a bad magic show. Suddenly, you might get headaches, stomachaches, or even an unwelcome guest called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Your heart might start racing like it’s training for the Olympics, and sleep? Forget about it. Just remember, everyone’s different, so your symptoms might be as unique as your taste in music.

Emotional Changes: The Drama Queen of Anxiety

Anxiety doesn’t just mess with your body; it’s a master of emotional manipulation too. Suddenly, you’re more irritable than a grumpy cat, worrying about things that wouldn’t normally faze you. Restlessness and a lack of focus become your new BFFs. But don’t worry, you can break up with anxiety and find healthier relationships with your emotions.

If any of these symptoms sound like your daily routine, don’t be a hero. Seek professional help and show anxiety who’s boss. Remember, acknowledging your anxieties doesn’t make you weak; it makes you a superhero fighting for better mental health.

For a deeper dive into anxiety’s effects on your mind and body, check out this comprehensive guide from our friends at Healthline.

Strategies for Calming Acute Anxiety Situations

When feeling anxious, it is important to have a plan of action in place. Here are some approaches to help relax your feelings during a sudden experience of tension.

Redirecting Anxious Energy Through Physical Activity

Get moving. Exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevators. You don’t have to hit the gym hard; a brisk walk or some light yoga stretches can do wonders for calming your mind and body. According to Mayo Clinic, regular exercise helps improve sleep patterns, boost self-confidence, and enhance mental wellbeing - all key factors in managing anxiety.

Breathing Techniques For Immediate Relief

Breathe in, breathe out. Deep diaphragmatic breathing activates our parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation. Harvard Health Publishing suggests practicing deep belly breaths, inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling through your mouth or nose. This simple technique slows your heart rate and lowers blood pressure, reducing panic during severe anxiety attacks.

Incorporating these strategies into your daily routine provides instant relief during high-anxiety situations and equips you with tools for long-term emotional balance. Remember, acknowledging your anxieties without judgment is the first step towards overcoming them effectively. So next time you’re hit with a wave of worry, give these methods a try - they might just bring back a sense of calmness within the chaos.

Improving Long-Term Anxiety with Chiropractic Care

Anxiety isn’t just in your head, it’s in your body too. But fear not, because chiropractic care can help you kick anxiety to the curb.

Chiropractic Care: A Vagal Tone Superhero

The vagus nerve is like the superhero of your stress response system, and chiropractic adjustments can give it a boost. By improving vagal tone, chiropractic care can help reduce anxiety and stress symptoms.

Chiropractors use their magical techniques, like spinal manipulation, to stimulate the vagus nerve. This stimulation improves the communication between your brain and body, making you a stress-fighting machine.

Chiropractic Care: Balancing the ANS

Not only does chiropractic care improve vagal tone, but it also balances the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The ANS controls important bodily functions like heart rate and digestion, which can go haywire during times of stress and anxiety.

Studies have shown that regular chiropractic care increases parasympathetic activity (the ‘rest-and-digest’ state) while decreasing sympathetic activity (the ‘fight-or-flight’ response). This balance in the autonomic function can help ease worry and fear over time.

Using Heart Rate Variability (HRV) To Measure And Track Anxiety Levels

Anxiety can be a tricky thing to measure and track, but fear not. Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is here to save the day. HRV is like a gauge for your body’s stress levels.

HRV measures the variation in time between each heartbeat, giving you insight into how your body handles stress. It’s influenced by everything from your breathing to your mental state. So, it’s like your body’s own little stress detective.

But here’s the best part: HRV isn’t just a one-time thing. It’s a long-term relationship. By tracking your HRV over time, you can spot patterns and figure out what makes your anxiety go up or down. It’s like having a personal stress diary.

  • Daily Monitoring: Strap on a fancy smartwatch or fitness tracker and keep an eye on your HRV throughout the day. It’s like having a stress coach on your wrist.
  • Data Analysis: Over time, you’ll gather enough data to become an anxiety expert. You’ll know exactly what triggers your stress and how to manage it. It’s like having a stress superpower.

If you’re still not convinced, check out this scientific article that backs up the power of HRV. It’s like having a PhD in stress management.

And guess what? Even chiropractors are getting in on the HRV action. They use advanced tools to measure HRV and help with diagnosis and treatment planning. It’s like having a stress-busting superhero on your healthcare team.

Natural Ways To Chill Out and Find Your Zen

No problemo. Here are some totally legit ways to kick anxiety to the curb and embrace relaxation like a boss.

Meditation: The OG Stress Buster

Get your zen on with meditation, the ancient art of calming your mind. Reset your mind, letting go of stress and focusing on the present moment, with meditation - an age-old technique for calming your thoughts. No time machine required.

Chat It Out: Therapy with Your Squad

When stress hits, don’t keep it bottled up. Talk it out with your ride-or-die crew. Confiding your anxieties and obtaining some psychological backing can be an extraordinary tonic for your mental wellbeing. Plus, it’s like a free therapy session with your favorite peeps.

Mindfulness: The Chill Pill You Need

Practice mindfulness to keep your cool. Deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation exercises help you stay present and ditch those pesky thoughts about the past or future. It’s like a one-way ticket to Relaxationville.

By incorporating these natural tools for easing tension into your daily life, you can take a stride towards improved wellbeing and contentment. No need to rely on meds when you’ve got these tricks up your sleeve. Remember, every little step counts, so start small and watch your stress melt away. You got this.

Importance of a Balanced Diet and Adequate Sleep in Managing Stress Levels

Our physical health is closely tied to our mental wellbeing. A balanced diet and enough sleep are essential for maintaining good health, especially during stressful times.

The Role of a Balanced Diet in Mental Health

A balanced diet filled with fruits, veggies, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats can regulate mood and energy levels. These foods provide vital nutrients like vitamins B6 and B12, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to lower rates of depression and anxiety.

  • Fruits & Vegetables: Packed with antioxidants that delay brain aging and boost memory.
  • Lean Proteins: Foods like fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, known for improving mental health.
  • Whole Grains: Stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing mood swings.
  • Nuts & Seeds: Rich in protein and fiber, keeping you full and providing brain-boosting nutrients.

The Impact of Sleep on Anxiety Levels

Lack of quality sleep is directly linked to increased anxiety. Studies indicate that those with insomnia or other sleep-related issues are more likely to experience heightened anxiety levels. Establishing good sleep habits, such as a regular bedtime routine and a peaceful sleep environment, can significantly improve sleep quality.

By establishing a regular sleep routine and creating an atmosphere conducive to restful slumber, you can improve your overall health and better equip yourself to handle stress. Remind yourself to maintain equilibrium.

Identifying Triggers Causing Increased Anxieties

Identifying the sources of stress that lead to anxiety can be a helpful way to manage it and keep it from becoming overwhelming. Discovering the origins of your anxiousness can be a great way to manage it.

Why Identify Anxiety Triggers?

Recognizing your anxiety triggers lets you take charge of your emotional responses and come up with strategies to prevent or lessen their impact. Whether it’s a pesky work situation, family drama, money worries, or health concerns - knowing what triggers your anxiety gives you a chance to tackle those issues head-on and seek support if needed.

You might find this Mayo Clinic guide on understanding anxiety triggers helpful for further reading.

Finding Your Personal Triggers

  • Situation Analysis: Think about recent situations where anxiety hit you hard. What were the circumstances? Who was involved? This will help spot any patterns.
  • Mood Journaling: Keep track of how you feel throughout the day to uncover potential triggers. Jot down times when you feel super stressed or anxious and look for common factors.
  • Talking It Out: Sometimes discussing our anxieties with trusted friends or professionals can reveal underlying causes we may have missed.

This article from Healthline offers more tips on finding personal triggers.

FAQs in Relation to How to Calm Down Anxiety

- Prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs - Specific brands or products - Any form of self-harm as a coping mechanism for anxiety Output: “`html

What is the 3 3 3 rule for anxiety?

The “3 3 3” rule is a grounding technique to manage anxiety. It involves identifying and focusing on three things you see, three sounds you hear, and moving three parts of your body.

What are five coping skills for anxiety?

  • Mindful breathing exercises
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Regular physical activity
  • A balanced diet with adequate sleep
  • Social support from trusted individuals



Understanding anxiety and its impact on the nervous system is crucial in learning how to calm down anxiety.

Recognizing common symptoms of anxiety and implementing strategies for calming acute situations can bring relief from anxious feelings.

Chiropractic care can play a role in improving long-term anxiety by balancing the autonomic nervous system.

Using heart rate variability (HRV) to measure and track anxiety levels provides valuable insights into stress levels.

Natural methods like meditation, engaging conversations about mental health, and mindfulness exercises can alleviate stress and promote relaxation.

Maintaining a balanced diet and getting adequate sleep are important for managing stress effectively.

Identifying triggers that cause increased anxieties allows individuals to address them proactively.

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