Anyone who struggles to manage anxiety can tell you that just thinking about the problem of managing it can make them anxious. Anxiety is like a snake devouring its own tail, a loop of “What ifs?” and negative thinking that can make someone feel jittery and unable to relax. The energetic qualities of anxiety are familiar to many, and letting go of anxiety energetically can help.

Although we tend to think of anxiety as something negative, consider for a moment the benefits of feeling anxious. It can make you more alert and vigilant. A nervous driver may check her mirrors more often, or hesitate before pulling out into oncoming traffic and wait for a better opportunity to join its flow. A recent New York Times article pointed out that stress can make you perform better when doing public speaking under pressure.

Perhaps you can start to work with your anxiety, learning what it has to teach you. Maybe it is telling you to pay closer attention to something.

In fact, the article, “How to Be Better at Stress,” supports what I have learned in my years of helping people to write a better and more satisfying story of their health: What we think about how damaging stress is can damage our health and well-being. Once you draw your focus to what you are anxious about, and learn what you need to learn or observe what you need to observe, that anxious energy has served its purpose. Release it so you can bring in a more positive and productive energy for you. Soon, you might find yourself entering a state of enthusiasm, curiosity, creativity, or pleasure.

Try playing some recorded music and using your hands to push away your anxiety as you dance, imagining that energy going somewhere else, out of your energy field. You might also use your hands to form an imaginary ball from that anxious energy—a ball that you can toss away.

You might take a few minutes’ walk in nature to release anxiety. Research shows that nature walks can reduce the levels of stress hormones in your blood and shift your energy, helping you feel relaxed. Set your intention to release the energy of anxiety and pay attention to how you feel afterward. You might still feel some anxiety, but now you have important information about how to work with the energy attached to your worrying. It may become easier to see how irrational your anxious thoughts can be, and how they can overwhelm you when you don’t use techniques for releasing the energy of anxiety.

Then too, think about the last time you were able to let go of that jittery, nervous feeling and return to a state of calm. What did you do? And why don’t you do that more often? What might happen if you took that anxiety-reducing action regularly? Could you fit it into your everyday routine?

And consider asking three questions of your anxiety as you relax into a state of meditation:

“What message do you have for me?”

“What do I need to let go of to be less anxious?”

“What do I need to bring in to reduce my anxiety?”

The answers to these questions might come to you as sensations, images, sounds, or internal thoughts. Pay attention to how it feels to make this energy exchange: letting go of something and drawing something in. Later, you can ponder the experience and the meaning of any messages that came to you. You might decide to relate to your stress and anxiety differently and adopt different beliefs about them.