While managing an anxiety disorder is most effective with the support of a mental health professional, there are things you can do to help deal with anxiety in your daily life. Here are some tips for overcoming anxieties. If these strategies aren’t working for you, don’t get frustrated — be proactive and make an appointment to meet with a counselor to develop a plan for controlling your anxieties.
Breathe: It seems so simple, but when anxiety hits we often tense up and forget to breathe. Taking a few seconds to take deep breaths can help calm the body and the mind. If you are about to walk into a room that makes you anxious because of someone you have to see or something you have to do, step aside and take a few really deep breaths before walking through that doorway.
Relax: Again, relaxing is sometimes easier said than done, especially if you are experiencing a lot of stress or anxiety. What makes us relax differs from person to person. For some people meditation or yoga is calming. Others have a hobby like painting or a favorite physical activity like jogging that brings a peaceful, relaxed feeling. Maybe it’s a song you like to listen to or a favorite movie that is comforting. Make a list of the things that actually relax you and then try to incorporate these activities into your daily life — especially when you’re feeling tense and anxious.
Plan: Some anxiety is due to stuff that we have control over. Maybe you’re anxious about always being late. Better planning and scheduling can reduce that anxiety. If you’re anxious because you’re behind at work or in school, that’s a problem that you may be able to solve by delegating, prioritizing or thinking of ways to improve your time management.
Challenge Negative Thoughts: A lot of anxiety comes from that voice in our heads telling us that we’re going to fail, something bad is going to happen, or that people are judging us. Sometimes it helps to challenge these thoughts that fly through our heads. For example, if you’re going to a social event and become anxious that no one will talk to you or that people will make fun of you, try to think back to an event where you had a good time to remind yourself that things usually go well despite your fears. You can even store pictures from those events on your phone as a visual reminder that you can overcome anxieties and have a good time.
Talk About It: Perhaps the best thing you can do to manage your anxieties is to talk about them with someone. Whether it’s a friend or a mental health professional, expressing your worries will help you feel less alone and is an important first step to feeling better.