A lot of the time when people give advice intended to relieve anxiety, they suggest doing “relaxing” things like drawing, painting, knitting, taking a bubble bath, coloring in one of those zen coloring books, or watching glitter settle to the bottom of a jar.

This advice is always well-intentioned, and I’m not here to diss people who either give it or who benefit from it. But it has never, ever done shit for me, and this is because it goes about resolving anxiety in the completely wrong way.  

THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO when suffering from anxiety is to do a “relaxing” thing that just enables your mind to dwell and obsess more on the thing that’s bothering you. You need to ESCAPE from the dwelling and the obsession in order to experience relief.

You can drive to a quiet farm, drive to the beach, drive to a park, or anywhere else, but as someone who has tried it all many, many times, trust me–it’s a waste of gas. You will just end up still sad and stressed, only with sand on your butt. You can’t physically escape your sadness. Your sadness is inside of you. To escape, you need to give your brain something to play with for a while until you can approach the issue with a healthier frame of mind. 

People who have anxiety do not need more time to contemplate, because we will use it to contemplate how much we suck.

In fact, you could say that’s what anxiety is–hyper-contemplating. When we let our minds run free, they run straight into the thorn bushes. Our minds are already running, and they need to be controlled. They need to be given something to do, or they’ll destroy everything, just like an overactive husky dog ripping up all the furniture. 

Therefore, I present to you: 


–Go on a walk

–Watch a sunset, watch fish in an aquarium, watch glitter, etc.

–Go anywhere where the main activity is sitting and watching

–Draw, color, do anything that occupies the hands and not the mind

–Do yoga, jog, go fishing, or anything that lets you mentally drift 

–Do literally ANYTHING that gives you great amounts of mental space to obsess and dwell on things.


–Do a crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or any other mind teaser game. Crosswords are the best.

–Write something. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. Write the Top 10 Best Restaurants in My City. Rank celebrities according to Best Smile. Write some dumb Legolas fanfiction and rip it up when you’re done. It’s not for publication, it’s a relief exercise that only you will see. 

–Read something, watch TV, or watch a movie–as long as it’s engrossing. Don’t watch anything which you can run as background noise (like, off the top of my head, Say Yes to The Dress.) As weird as it seems, American Horror Story actually helps me a lot, because it sucks me in. 

–Masturbate. Yes, I’m serious. Your mind has to concentrate on the mini-movie it’s running. It can’t run Sexy Titillating Things and All The Things That are Bothering Me at the same time. (…I hope. If it can, then…ignore this one.) 

–Do math problems—literally, google “algebra problems worksheet” and solve them. If you haven’t done math since 7th grade this will really help you. I don’t mean with math, I mean with the anxiety. 

–Play a game or a sport with someone that requires great mental concentration. Working with 5 people to get a ball over a net is a challenge which will require your brain to turn off the Sadness Channel. 

–Play a video game, as long as it’s not something like candy crush or Tetris that’s mindless. 


–List the capitals of all the U.S. states

–List the capitals of all the European countries

–List all the shapes you can see. Or all the colors. 

–List all the blonde celebrities you can think of.

–Pull up a random block of text and count all the As in it, or Es or whatever.  

Now obviously, I am not a doctor. I am just an anxious person who has tried almost everything to help myself.  I’ve finally realized that the stuff people recommend never works because this is a disorder that thrives on free time and free mental space. When I do the stuff I listed above, I can breathe again. And I hope it helps someone here too. 

(Now this shouldn’t have to be said but if the “do nots” work for you then by all means do them. They’ve just never worked for me.)

This would’ve been great an hour ago

This is good advice for anxious peeps and peeps with anxious friends. Seems obvious now but I hadn’t thought about it this way before.

For real, this is the greatest advice I’ve ever seen concerning aniexty