The hindrance of restlessness and anxiety is fed by frequent improper attention to unsettled mind states. To discourage that look at the choice of how you regard non-stillness of mind with horror, repulsion, and disgust, and dedicate the repulsion to future self restraint, but only when you can see that the way you look at non-stillness of mind is feeding anxiety. Be careful, you can “sprain” horror, and disgust. Restlessness and anxiety is starved by frequent proper attention to “there is the settled mind”. So start starving it and then stop feeding it. The feeding and starving knowledge is from SN 46.51, the ahara sutta. The correction of mental action using horror repulsion and disgust comes from MN 61 the “advice to Rahula at Mango Stone” sutta. This is how I went from shaking with anxiety several days a week to not having any. (I do still have to starve it a few times a week for a few minutes each, but it’s not really a burden.) May you free yourself from suffering with this knowledge. This is my best advice in brief, I will now explain in detail.
When you feel anxiety building, that means you are feeding it. The way you are feeding it is by the type of attention, intention, and other mental actions, like the generation of mental images for example, toward the mental shaking, agitation, vacillation due to doubt, quavering due to fear, or other non-stillness in your mind. You may not have meditated enough to separate the non stillness from the anxiety produced by the attention and intention toward the non stillness. You will benefit if you can see with wisdom for yourself the way wrong attention and intention and the rest feeds restlessness and anxiety. This is what I meant by the feeding section.
Out of ignorance, beings make bad choices. One of your repeating bad choices is to feed restlessness and anxiety. The way you “look” at those choices can influence your mind to make more choices like that or fewer choices like that. The Buddha teaches to look at mental actions that have been finished, and evaluate them. If they hurt you, or others, or both, then they are rightly said to be unwholesome, unskillful, and siding with darkness. So you want to discourage such actions. So when you can see for yourself that the way you are focusing on mental shaking, or unsettlement, or thought creation, in short, non-stillness of mind, feeds restlessness and anxiety, use looking at the choice that led to that attention, intention, etc. With horror, followed by repulsion, followed by disgust. Then dedicate the repulsion towards future self control. After you do this a few times, you will naturally start catching yourself doing it earlier and earlier. Eventually you will stop feeding restlessness and anxiety. In case you are not Buddhist, I should add here that you never focus this tool on your self, only on your actions. By sprain, I mean you can hurt the parts of your mind that generate horror and disgust by overexertion, so I recommend starting gently and learning your limits with goodwill for yourself by being gentle. That is what I meant by that section.
When you want to reduce restlessness and anxiety, or want to prevent future restlessness and anxiety, one way to do those things is by repeating the phrase “there is the settled mind”, and remembering the way you felt when your mind was calm and settled, and using your mind to recreate that stillness. This, roughly speaking is the skill you learn by most meditations. That is what I meant by that section. The rest should be obvious.
I will add here a suggested meditation. This meditation is useful if you cannot stop the feeding even though you see the connection. For this meditation, sit fifty feet from a tree, and practice making your mind like the space between you and the tree. When you are in the middle of your meditation session, generate the desire to think a thought and hold it there by alternately strengthening the desire, and making that part of mind more like the space between you and the tree. Finally apply this tool when you are feeding R&A to catch the desire to perform the problem mental action, and desist from it.
May all beings be wisely happy. May all beings be free from suffering. May all beings keep the successes they have attained. May all beings realize that we are each the heirs to our actions, whatever we do for good or for evil, to that we fall heir.