The 21-Day Anxiety Challenge: Take Control of Your Nerves

POPSUGAR Photography / Mark Popovich
POPSUGAR Photography | Mark Popovich

When you're a nervous person, sometimes it's hard to explain or control your anxiety. Nervousness is a healthy emotion, but for many people, it's difficult to manage all your worries on a day-to-day basis. If you suffer from anxiety, know that there are many other people out there who feel the same way. There are lots of methods out there that help to harness your emotions.

Make this the year you push all those worries aside. Take our challenge and try a new method to calm your nerves every day for 21 days. By the end, think about which activities and exercises most effectively helped you to harness your anxiety. We promise you'll be feeling better!

POPSUGAR Photography | Macy Williams

  • Day 1: Fill in a coloring book. Taking some time out of your day to color has been scientifically proven to calm nerves.
  • Day 2: Try breathing exercises. Breathe in and out slowly, holding in your breath for a few seconds after each inhale. Try doing this for five to 10 minutes when anxiety kicks in.
  • Day 3: Listen to mood-boosting music. Whether it be your favorite playlist or an upbeat band you love, put your headphones in and turn up the volume when your worries creep up on you.
  • Day 4: Meditate. Take 15 minutes out of your morning to sit in a quiet place and focus on meditation.
  • Day 5: Get on the phone. One of the most effective ways to combat anxiety is distraction, so call a good friend or family member and catch up when you're feeling nervous.
POPSUGAR Photography | Macy Williams

  • Day 6: Go for a jog. It's proven that exercise, especially running or jogging, can put you at ease.
  • Day 7: Say positive affirmations to yourself. Choosing a phrase and reminding yourself of it when you get nervous can help to keep you calm. Here are some great affirming phrases to use.
  • Day 8: Let it all come out. For some people, suppressing anxiety can make it worse. When you're nervous, try letting it all out. Punch a pillow or scream — seriously.
  • Day 9: Write in a journal. Write down everything you're feeling as the nerves come on. You don't even have to keep your writing when you're done — just put it down in words.
  • Day 10: Do a crossword puzzle. Games that require lots of brainpower and concentration are shown to help people with anxiety.
POPSUGAR Photography | Macy Williams

  • Day 11: Remove caffeine from your life. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it can trigger anxiety attacks. You may see a big difference if you cut it out.
  • Day 12: Dance like nobody is watching. Dance it out, dance as much as you can when you start to feel worried. Dancing alleviates stress and nerves, so even if you're alone in your family room, give it a try.
  • Day 13: Use a stress ball. Get your hands on a stress ball and repeatedly squeeze it. It's known to relieve tension.
  • Day 14: Take a hot bath. For more immediate relief, taking a hot bath will cause your body to relax, calming you down.
  • Day 15: Laugh. Occupying your brain with humor not only improves your mood, it distracts your mind. Watch some funny videos when you have worries.
POPSUGAR Photography | Macy Williams

  • Day 16: Work on an art project. Studies show that doing arts and crafts projects can significantly lower anxiety levels.
  • Day 17: Try yoga. Whether you take a class or follow an online video, give stress-relieving yoga a try.
  • Day 18: Go on a digital detox. Alleviate your stress by leaving your work behind at the office when you go home. Don't look at your smart phone for any emails or work updates.
  • Day 19: Step outside and take a walk. A change of scenery somewhere secluded can calm your nerves. Whether you are at work or home, take a moment to get some fresh air and take in your surroundings.
  • Day 20: Schedule your worrying. Many psychologists recommend scheduling an hour out of your day for worry time. That way, your stress is not open-minded; you're only allowed to worry in that time period.
  • Day 21: Accept your feelings. It's OK to have anxiety. Once you recognize your symptoms and nervousness, you can then learn how to control it.
POPSUGAR Photography / Mark Popovich