5 Dos And Don’ts For Calming Anxiety

You’ve had a long and stressful day, as a matter of fact, this whole week has been pretty crazy, now what? You finally have a chance to stop, have some time for yourself, but what you choose to do next could help or hurt you. Here is a list of what you should be doing, and what you definitely should NOT be doing.


DON’T: Have A Drink, Or Two – While drinking to deal with stress has shown to be more common in men than in women, the truth is it’s just not good for anyone. Research shows that alcohol use may compound the effects of stress, by changing the brain’s chemistry over time, causing higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Even though you think it’s making you feel better in the short term, in the long term you may be making your body more susceptible to the effects of stress. Not to mention the litany of other reasons alcohol is bad for your brain and body.

DO: Exercise – Besides the benefits of exercise for your heart, your muscles, and your memory, exercise has a long history of being a stress-buster. Even though you’re tired from your long day, a good workout can boost your energy, boost your mood, and help you sleep better.

DON’T: Watch TV – TV has become such a large part of our culture that for many of us, sitting down for a bit – or a lot – of screen time at the end of our day is an unbreakable habit. For some, the habit is so extreme that our day doesn’t feel complete without it. The problem is that being sedentary to watch TV isn’t a great habit to have. Even worse is what it can do to your brain and your stress.

Watching the news is one of the worst ways to relax. While staying informed is important, too much news and at the wrong time of day can give you major feelings of anxiety. Even entertainment that helps you “escape” your daily life can give you anxious feelings without you even realizing it. It’s not just from suspenseful or frightening scenarios; research has shown that watching TV to escape stress can make you feel guilty because you are not being productive.  Knowing you are procrastinating and leaving tasks to loom for later makes true relaxation difficult to achieve.

MAYBE: Eat Food – This one is entirely dependent on what food you choose to eat. Yes, we need food to survive; and yes, the right foods can improve our health. But no, that snickers bar and those three and a half servings of mac and cheese are not helping you with either of those. When you’re stressed, you often want food that will make you feel better right now. You probably crave sugar, salt, and simple carbohydrates, but these foods can make you feel worse by causing your blood sugar to spike and then crash. As difficult and unnatural as it may be for you at first, try to go for healthy foods when you’re overwhelmed. The omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts have many health benefits including boosting mood and cognition.

DO: Take GABA – GABA is an amino acid that controls excitability of the brain by suppressing the excessive firing of nerves cells. Research studies using EEG have shown the positive effects of GABA on alpha brain waves and its ability to decrease beta waves, which means that it induces relaxation and reduces anxious feelings. So when you can’t get your brain to settle down, GABA can help you calm down and feel more relaxed. Try GABA Calming Support and see the benefits for yourself. Abby said, “Zen- Absolutely love this product. Truly amazing how much calmer my mind became.”

Laura Nunes
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hello, Dr. Amen. I’ve used both your original and your new gaba calming support supplement. The old formula actually seemed to work better for me. The new formula seems to have a slightly adverse effect on me. Why do you think this would be? Could it have something to do with my particular brain chemistry?


I was considering purchasing this supplement but now that I’ve read your comment, wondering what the adverse effect is that you’re experiencing, if you don’t mind sharing.

Amen Clinics

Thank you for your question – please call our customer service department at 888-850-5287 to discuss your individual situation.


All of the research that I’ve done over the past fifteen years (tons) suggests that taking GABA orally will not work, because it can’t pass the blood-brain barrier. Why doesn’t Dr. Amen know this?