Self-Help Strategies for Anxiety

Even if you do not suffer from a full-blown anxiety disorder, anxiety can still cause significant distress and suffering. There are a wide range of treatments available for anxiety including medications, psychotherapy, alternative treatments, meditation, and self-help strategies.  Below we offer some self-help strategies that can be used in everyday life:

  • Learn about the nature of anxiety so you can understand it better
  • Keep a record of your anxiety levels and the activities/events that go with these
  • Understand the typical ways you react and behave when you become anxious
  • Identify the specific situations or triggers that are making you stressed or anxious
  • Relieve times of high anxiety by exercise or physical activity
  • Expose yourself to what makes you anxious by using gradual steps that tackle one anxiety at a time
  • If a worry comes to your head, start by asking yourself whether it is a problem you can actually solve
  • When you are feeling anxious, ask yourself whether your thoughts right now are helping your anxiety or not
  • Write a list of ways that a thought helps or worsens your anxiety
  • Identify thoughts, belief, or images that are responsible for your anxiety
  • Evaluate your anxious thoughts to see how realistic or accurate they are
  • After evaluating your thoughts, come up with more realistic thoughts to use as substitutes
  • Generate some helpful thoughts and say these to yourself in anxious situations (such as “This is difficult, but I have gotten through it before”)
  • Carry a list of things that may help if you come frightened or anxious
  • Seek support from family and friends
  •  Talk about your problems and feelings with a trusted person who will listen and understand
  • Accept situations that cause anxiety that can’t be changed
  • Find ways to let go of your need to control
  • Practice acceptance by making yourself comfortable, taking a deep breath, letting it out slowly, letting your stomach muscles relax, giving way and trying to feel a willingness to accept
  • Practice accepting uncertainty
  • Practice meditation
  • Practice mindfulness regularly, not just as a way of coping at a time of anxiety
  • When feeling anxious, visualize yourself successfully coping with the situation that you feel anxious about

Learn more about Dr. Celia Trotta