Want to Get Rid of Anxiety? 3 Strategies Missing from Most Anti-Anxiety Advice

Want to get rid of anxious feelings, a.s.a.p.? If you have been feeling anxious, no one needs to tell you that anxiety is a profoundly unpleasant feeling.

There’s a reason why anxiety feels so unpleasant. Anxiety is your body’s way of trying to catch your attention. Like a blinking yellow traffic light, anxiety aims to warn you of danger ahead. Anxiety tells you “Please stop to scan for a potential something out there that could hurt you.” Anxiety in this way tries to protect you.

Unfortunately however, anxious feelings sometimes run amuck.

It may feel impossible to get rid of anxiety when the feelings go on and on without turning off. Have no fear…there are more options that you may have thought.

Here’s the standard advice for how to feel calmer:

• Breathe deeply,
• Be mindful, that is, allow yourself to accept and watch the anxious feeling, without judging yourself negatively, just accepting that you feel what you feel
• Distract yourself with a project that absorbs your attention,
• Find the cognitive errors in your thinking. Cognitive errors are thoughts that generate needless anxiety, thoughts like what if’s, looking ahead and thinking of —and then believing—worst case scenario outcomes, all or nothing thinking, should, and catastrophizing, i.e., believing that what lies ahead is not just a problem to be addressed but a total disaster.
• Get rest. Sleep deficits increase emotional reactivity.
• Get exercise. Exercise generates mood-elevating chemicals.
• Take anti-anxiety mediations. Like an aspirin reduces physical pain, medications can relieve anxious feelings quite quickly and for a number of hours. They can be highly addictive, so beware.

Other advice focuses on thinking habits that invite and perpetuate anxious feelings in order to help you get rid of the anxiety.

So-called cognitive therapy approaches help you identify thoughts like:
• what if’s, looking ahead and thinking of —and then believing—worst case scenario outcomes,
• all or nothing thinking, “I’ll always lose in competitions.”
• should and should have’s, “That was dumb; I should have…”
• catastrophizing, i.e., believing that what lies ahead is not just a problem to be addressed but a total disaster.

Here’s 3 strategies that go beyond the standard advice listed above, aiming to get rid of the anxiety at its source.


This anxiety-reduction technique is based on the idea that anxiety comes up when you see something ahead that looks potentially hurtfu, and then continues if you freeze, like a deer in headlights, instead of moving into problem-solving mode.

The following four steps can enable you to get rid of your anxiety by solving the problem that had triggered your fear reaction.

1. Clarify the life bump. What is the challenge ahead that looks like it could be potentially hurtful to you?
2. List the specific concerns that dilemma is producing.. Write out a numbered list of all the thoughts that make your anxiety feel even worse. Those are your underlying concerns.
3. The best antidote to anxiety is information, so figure out where you can get information that will help you to solve the problem you’ve bumped up against.
4. Design a plan of action. Often, even just having a plan to move forward in itself will end the anxious feelings. Solving the problem, of course, will be the ultimate way to get rid of the anxiety altogether.

If the problem-solving strategy above still leaves some lingering anxiety that you still want to get rid of, especially anxiety of the type that seems to recur without a clear trigger, here’s two more treatment options.

EFT: Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as acupoint tapping

Believe it or not, tapping on specific acupuncture spots on your face and chest can quickly reduce current strong anxious reactions. It can get rid of anxiety with surprising speed and potency.

By specifying triggers, e.g., “when I am in a plane and taking off…”, also gets rid of phobias. And bringing to mind an incident that left you wit ptsd will eliminate your post traumatic stress reaction. Sound unlikely? Give it a try. A survey of research by psychologist David Freedman found that EFT is the number one treatment for ptsd—the fastest and the longest-lasting. Do the treatment yourself or google to find a local practioner. For specific instructions and video example, see Gary Craig’s “Gold Standard” EFT treatment.

Emotion Code

Emotion Code, a creation of Bradley Nelson, offers a speeded-up version of psychoanalysis. It does in 20 minutes what might take years of the older technique. For this treatment though you need a therapist: google to find an Emotion Code practitioner in your area.

The bottom line: you can get rid of anxiety. Try these options, and enjoy your return to the land of comfortable well-being.

(c) Susan Heitler, PhD
Visit my Facebook Page