The anxiety guide. What calms and triggers anxiety.

Health,personal,6 January 2019

I’m amazed, grateful but of course sad at the same time. It saddens me, that so many of you also struggle with anxiety, but to stick to my new year’s resolution to always look at the bright side, I’m happy to see that most of you work on yourself and recognize these tough feelings. I’m also happy that you feel comfortable sharing your stories and feelings with me. It’s not always easy to bring out your darkness and weaknesses for everyone to see and take part of. At least it isn’t for me, because I feel like it sometimes makes it tougher when I know people will have opinions about things that are so personal to me. Feelings are normal but scary, because they are out of our control and we don’t know where they will take us. It’s much easier to handle opinions and criticism, if someone doesn’t like a pair of shoes I’m wearing.

I try to look at mental illness just like physical illness. It’s just as normal to feel down, dark, anxiety and ill mentally as it is to get a flu, fever, stomach pain or cancer even. Some are more serious, life threatening and long lasting than others, but it’s as much out of our control. We can visit a doctor or therapist and take care of ourselves the best we can, but the rest is a lottery.

Since you have countless of good advice, I think they deserve to be shared for everyone to take part of. In this post, I’ve gathered yours, and my tips and tools on how to handle, decrease and calm anxiety. I also decided to add triggers I try to stay away from.

Here is your list:

Spend time in nature. Take a walk in a calming surrounding and let your thoughts come as they are.



Yoga. So happy to see that many of you have found yoga!


Traveling to calm and slow destinations.

Breathing. Concentrating on exhaling calmly helps to calm anxiety.

Practice acceptance.  Accept your anxiety and let the feelings come and stay. Blocking feelings won’t make them go away, so let them come and understand that painful feelings won’t kill you.

Therapy. Many of you have reached out to therapy in one way or another. I am a big believer in therapy, self-searching and personal understanding and construction work.

Do neutral things like scroll through Instagram, watch a feel- good movie or episode, online shopping.

Stay away from reading/ consuming the news.

Be creative. Paint or create art.

Write. Keep a diary.

Talk to your friends. Many of you mentioned your mothers <3.


Spending time with animals.

Find comfort in spirituality or religion.


The ocean. Someone said that the fact that the ocean always keeps doing its thing, no matter what’s going on inside our heads and in the world, feels comforting.

Physical closeness. A hug is so much more calming and healing than we give it credit for.

The forest.

Peace and quiet. Calmness. This really works for me too, but not loneliness. There is a huge difference. Summer cabin and living in a bubble keeps my anxiety away. The more I do the more I experience anxiety.

Tell yourself it will be ok over and over again.

Do everyday chores.


Read a book. Tools I use and find helpful:

Talk. Speak up. Write. If something bothers me so much that it gives me anxiety, I can’t pretend that everything is normal even though I decide I will. During these past weeks, I’ve talked to everyone I’ve met and, in the past, as well. I’ve opened up to my hairdresser, at work, at meetings, with friends and family over and over again, day care teachers etc. Not to even mention my husband. I need to get it out of my system. But, I always put a timeframe on it. It’s ok to talk and dwell, but not forever. I give myself a couple of weeks, months or a year even, but when the time expires, I seek for professional help, so my near and dear ones don’t have to put up with my negative and heavy energies anymore. I find it important to surround myself with positivity, therefore I try to be that for others as well.

I stay away from consuming news completely.

Podcasts. If I’m alone, I get anxious more easily. I try to escape from my own head right before going to bed by listening to a happy podcast and scroll through Pinterest, online shops, fashion blogs or positive Instagram accounts.

Spirituality. Whether its yoga, inspirational quotes, a prayer or rocks, I find comfort in believing in something.  For me it changes, but most often I believe in everything at once. I’m open minded. I just find it easier to accept life as it is, and I feel more grounded and like I’m just part of a big puzzle.

Yoga helps me to calm down, find peace, understanding and kindness towards myself and others. It releases worry and stress and it helps me feel stronger.

Physical activity. Doing bodily activities and exhausting myself physically calms me down and makes me less restless mentally.

Neat and clean surroundings. A messy home stresses me out and puts me in a bad mood easily.

Fresh air, preferably away from home.My anxiety triggers:


Stressful environments.


Ocean. For me however, the ocean often increases my anxiety, but it’s very individual of course.


Staying up too late.

Darkness is probably my worst. Anxiety comes sneaking up on me just like the darkness. I can sleep during the day, but not during the night.

News are second to worst.

Negative energy.

Poor diet.

Being alone.

Hope these tips and tricks can help someone in some way. At least you helped me a lot in many ways. I felt less alone instantly and I’m going to try many of your tips. I just want to say, that my anxiety very much comes and goes. This terrible happening just touches me so much and triggered the anxiety in an unusually heavy way. I’ve been crying every day and although I’m sensitive, I rarely cry. My sensitivity usually bursts out in heavy thoughts, but not so much in strong emotions like this. Usually it’s very much bearable and just a part of who I am. I would more describe me as a highly sensitive person. I think a lot and analyze myself, my thoughts and life. And I worry. I’ve always been this way and I’m thankful for that. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes a bit tricky, but that’s how it is with everything.

Live update

personal,4 January 2019

Greeting from my own home! Feels amazing to be back. 6 kids and two eager puppies was more than a handful to say the least, and oh how I’ve missed my own bed! It’s the best place in the world, although I couldn’t sleep tonight either.

Yesterday, I invited friends over. I cooked for everyone and the kids had a blast all day! As I already told you, we took some of the kids toys up to the attic for storage, and I have to tell you it has payed off. The kids come up with more innovative ways to play with each other and that makes me really happy. Playing is extremely important and developing for children. What could ever be more important than to learn how to interact with others?!

In case you are wondering why I constantly surround myself with people, I want to be honest with you since openness is the most comforting and biggest relief I know- personally. During this holiday the terrible news of the terrible, terrible thing that happened on Christmas eve here in Helsinki reached me.  That’s when the feeling of unbearable anxiety took over. I’ve always been sensitive and, on the verge to overly empathic (if there is such thing) but these news got a bit too much for me to handle. I want to be honest about my anxiety, since I know I’m not alone feeling this way. Anxiety to me, is a feeling of pressure in my chest, numbness and trying to escape my own head. I can’t sleep, and I can’t engage emotionally in my everyday life and not a single minute pass by without my thoughts wondering into all the things I so hardly try to keep myself from thinking. It’s “worry” times a hundred.

My mum is the best when it comes to understanding and calming my anxiety. She told me my painful thoughts and feelings will stay, but eventually time will wrap them up in a layer of cotton that will protect me from those painful feelings and make them a bit blurrier and a bit softer. I am so thankful for everyone I have around me to talk to, who offers their support in one way or another. It means the world.


knit Secondfemale// pictures by Juuli Rönkä