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15 Coping Skills for Anxiety You Need To Know Now

Looking for ways to deal with your anxiety? Well, you are in the right place. This post shares 15 coping skills for anxiety you should know. 

coping skills for anxiety

Most of us have experienced feeling overwhelmed by anxiety at some point in our lives. Whether it's the stress at home, work deadlines, the never-ending to-do lists, or just general uncertainty about the future, anxiety creeps into our lives and can take over.

In this post, we will explore 15 coping skills for anxiety that you can start using today. From grounding exercises and mindfulness practices to seeking support and taking breaks, this post will have something for everyone.

So, grab your notebook and start creating your own coping tool kit to navigate your anxiety and find some much-needed relief.

PHYSICAL

  1. 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Exercise 
  2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  3. Move your Body 
  4. Deep Breathing Exercises
  5. Find a Creative Outlet

EMOTIONAL

  1. Practice Mindfulness Meditation 
  2. Write Down Your Feelings
  3. Engage in a Distraction Technique
  4. Practice Mindfulness
  5. Go back to the Basics

COGNITIVE

  1. Use CBT Techniques
  2. Thought Stopping
  3. Practice Self-Compassion 
  4. Practice Affirmations
  5. Schedule Worry Time

What is Anxiety? 

Anxiety is an emotional state of fear, uneasiness, worried thoughts, and dread in response to daily stressors. It is often accompanied by physical symptoms like increased heart rate, sweating, feeling restless, headaches, etc. Anxiety can help you cope and serve as a natural response in navigating challenging moments like feeling anxious before a job interview or waiting for college acceptance letters. These are common and often helpful reactions. 

Anxiety can help you prepare, stay alert, and ultimately help you with important life events. It is normal, and everyone at some point experiences some level of anxiety.

Anxiety or Anxiety Disorder- Know The Difference

Anxiety is a normal response to our life events and a common human emotion that tends to be time-limited and manageable. It serves as an internal warning, alerting us to potential dangers and preparing our body to respond appropriately, often referred to as the 'fight, flight, or freeze' response. When the stressors resolve or pass, it usually subsides.

Anxiety disorder, on the other hand, is a mental health condition that is characterized by persistent and uncontrollable feelings of anxiety. It gets in the way of your daily functioning and needs specialized interventions and treatment. You may experience symptoms such as worry, restlessness, avoidance behaviors, and a range of physical sensations that disrupt the quality of your life. You may also realize your anxiety is often unrelated to specific stressors but rather a ruminative thought loop of anxious thoughts.

Anxiety disorders manifest in many different forms, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and panic disorders, among others.

The main difference is the severity of the anxiety and the interference with daily functioning. Normal and healthy anxiety is a response to a specific event and is usually proportional to the event at hand, meaning your worries about something that could happen are realistic but time-limited, as mentioned earlier.

Anxiety becomes a problem when it comes up for no reason, or the intensity of your response is much stronger than the situation at hand. From unrealistic worries about situations that may never happen to avoidance behaviors that trigger symptoms, problematic anxiety may last for a longer time despite the situation being resolved. Many people feel like they can't control their anxiety at all before getting treatment.

Normal Anxiety Cycle:

  • Trigger: A situation or event 
    • Tension during a family gathering due to disagreement on something. 
  • Response: Mild or moderate anxiety, worry, being alert 
    • Feeling anxious about the situation but trying to stay present and engaged. 
  • Resolution: Situation becomes more manageable or resolves = anxiety decreases.
    •  Disagreement is resolved and you move on to another topic. As situation becomes more manageable and environment becomes relaxed, the anxiety decreases. 
  • Adaptation and Recovery: You are able to use coping skills and learn from the situation. You also return to baseline emotional state. 
    • You learn about how to navigate similar situations in the future and cope with occasional tension. You are able to go back to your usual emotional state and ready to handle future situations.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety symptoms can be categorized into physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. It's important to note here that this list is not exhaustive, some may experience a combination of these symptoms, and the severity can vary. 

Physical symptoms: 

  • Muscle tension
  • Fatigue
  • GI Issues (Upset stomach, nauseous, etc)
  • Sweating
  • Racing Heart
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Shortness of breath
  • Changes in sleep patterns 
  • Having panic attacks
  • Feeling restless or unable to sit still 

Emotional Symptoms: 

  • Frequent and uncontrollable thoughts
  • Fear or dread without knowing the clear cause 
  • Irritability 
  • Worry that something terrible is going to happen 
  • Low mood 

Cognitive Symptoms:

  • Racing thoughts
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Catastophizing
  • Overanalyzing or ruminating on a situation 
  • Problems with memory
  • Mind going blank 

Behavioral: 

  • Avoidance
  • Compulsions
  • Procrastination
  • Seeking reassurance 

Experiencing occasional anxiety is normal, but when these symptoms start becoming chronic or interfering with your daily life, it might be time to check in with your doctor or mental health professional to seek appropriate diagnosis and treatment options. 

What Exactly Does Coping Mean?

So, what exactly does coping mean? Well, coping means your ability to manage and cope with different challenging situations and all the emotions that come your way because of it. Your coping skills for anxiety are developed over time through your personal experiences, learned behaviors, and external influences.

A dysfunctional family often involves high levels of stress, unpredictability, and unhealthy patterns of communication. In order to adapt to these circumstances, individuals develop maladaptive coping strategies, including avoiding emotions, using substances, denial of problems rather than addressing the root cause, not knowing how to cope healthily, challenges with communication, etc., as a means to cope. When you carry these unhealthy ways of coping into adulthood, it can make it harder to respond to anxiety constructively.

Let's use an example: A person raised in a family environment where they were discouraged every time they tried to share an emotion. Things constantly got brushed under the rug. To cope with their situation, they developed a coping mechanism where they learned to suppress how they were feeling and avoid confronting the actual issue. Now, as an adult, they struggle with anxiety because they don't have the tools they need to express emotions or seek support when needed. They might find it challenging to manage their anxiety as they were conditioned to suppress rather than address it directly.

Think of coping as your personalized toolkit. In this toolkit, you have tons of tools that you use to get through life. Some tools may have been helpful and necessary when you were a child, but as you unlearn some patterns, you may realize you need healthier coping skills as an adult.

You will know your ways of coping are maladaptive when they mask the problem temporarily but do not necessarily provide long-term relief. You may continue feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or emotionally drained. Replacing some old maladaptive ways of coping with adaptive ways of coping will help you manage your anxiety more effectively. Adaptive coping should foster personal growth and help build resilience.

15 Coping Skills for Anxiety You Need To Know Now

Here are 15 coping skills for anxiety to help you navigate life's challenges more effectively: 

1. Physical Coping Skills for Anxiety

1. 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique 

The 5-4-3-2-1 is a very popular grounding exercise used to manage stress and anxiety. This grounding technique can bring awareness to the present moment and create some distance between the thoughts you are having. It's my go-to exercise when I need to calm my nervous system.

Start by bringing your attention and awareness to your breath. Focus on taking a few slow and deep breaths. You can keep your eyes closed or keep a soft gaze on the floor as you get centered.

1) Notice and name FIVE things in your surroundings.
2) Notice and name FOUR things you can touch in your surroundings.
3) Notice and name THREE things you can hear in your surroundings.
4) Notice and name TWO things you can smell in the space you are in.
5) Notice and name ONE thing you can taste.

When you shift your attention from thoughts that are making you anxious to connect with your present environment using your senses, you are able to decrease the intensity of the flight or fight the system that causes anxiety.

2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Coping skills for anxiety often include the popular progressive muscle relaxation technique to manage anxiety by tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in the body. Here's how to practice it:

1) Find a comfortable space where you won't be disturbed. You can choose to lie down on your back or stay seated.

2) Bring your attention and awareness to your breath and focus on becoming present. Breathe in slowly through your nose, hold your breath for a few seconds, and slowly exhale through your mouth. If your mind gets distracted by the thoughts, it's okay. Gently bring your attention back to your breath.

3) Start with your feet and work your way through the rest of your body by focusing on specific muscle groups. Focus on tensing your toes and arching your feet for 5-10 seconds as tightly as you can without straining or causing pain. After tightening, release the tension and allow the muscles to relax. Really pay attention to the feelings of how your body feels when it relaxes.

4) Move upwards through your body, progressing from your feet, calves, thighs, abdomen, arms, hands, and face. Repeat the process of tensing for 5-10 seconds and releasing. Throughout this practice, continue to focus on your breath. Inhale slowly before each muscle tightens, and exhale as you release the tension.

5) The full practice takes 15-20 minutes. Repeat if needed.

This exercise will help you become aware of your physical tension and teach your body how to relax. By learning how to control your muscle tension, you can learn to reduce overall bodily tension and reduce anxiety levels.

3. Move your Body 

Have you ever heard the saying, motion produces emotion? Moving your body can impact your emotional state and serve as an effective coping skill for anxiety. Moving your body, such as jogging, dancing, and stretching, releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters.

When you are feeling anxious, you might ruminate on the situation, leaving you feeling worse. Diverting your attention away from your anxious thoughts and worries can help break the cycle of rumination. You want to choose an activity that you enjoy and meets the needs of your fitness level. I like weight training and pilates. When I need to create distance from my thoughts, I go to a gym class or lift weights that require me to connect with my environment, allowing me to pause before responding.

Whether you choose to go out for a long walk or go to a gym class, the key is to find coping skills for anxiety you can incorporate into your routine.

4. Deep Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing exercises are simple yet effective ways to manage anxiety. It helps calm your nervous system and brings a sense of relaxation. Here's a step-by-step on how to practice deep breathing exercises:

1) Start by finding a comfortable place. You can keep your eyes open or closed, whichever feels more relaxing for you. 

2) Bring attention and awareness to your breath. Start by taking a few natural breaths without trying to change it to center yourself. 

3) Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, focusing on filling your lungs and allowing your abdomen to rise. Aim for a count of 4-6 seconds. 

4) Hold your breath for a moment without forcing it and gently count for 1-2 seconds before exhaling entirely through your mouth. The goal is to make exhalation longer than the inhalation, so as you exhale, count 6-8 seconds and feel the release of tension and stress. 

5) If your thoughts wander off during this practice, gently bring your attention back to your breath. Repeat this practice as many times as you like. 

  • 4-7-8 Breathing Technique (Optional coping skills for anxiety): You can combine this exercise with the 4-7-8 breathing technique by breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds.

5. Find a Creative Outlet

Finding creative outlets can be an effective way to manage your anxiety. It allows you to express your thoughts and emotions constructively. Allowing yourself to get lost in a creative activity can help you create distance between your anxious thoughts, breaking the cycle of rumination.

Whether you choose to do some artwork, repurpose your space, write, try a new recipe, or garden- the simple act of creating something can be therapeutic coping skills for anxiety.

2. Emotional Coping Skills for Anxiety

1. Practice Mindfulness Meditation 

Things can feel pretty out of control when you are anxious. It can be hard to think about your to-do lists or even know where to start, for that matter. In those moments, it can be helpful to rely on your breath. I always tell my clients that your breath is your anchor. It keeps you grounded when things feel overwhelming.

When you practice focusing your attention on your breath, it's like hitting a pause button on your worries and giving yourself an opportunity to understand better what's going on inside. One way to practice this is mindfulness meditation.

Bring your awareness to breathing and notice the inhalation and exhalation. If you notice your thoughts getting in the way, acknowledge them without judgment and redirect your focus back to your breath. When we are anxious, we tend to avoid noticing the thoughts that are passing through our mind. We start scrolling or engaging in other maladaptive ways of coping.

This technique will help you become aware of your thoughts or feelings without becoming overwhelmed by them. If you are new to connecting with the present moment or acknowledging your thoughts, this practice can take time. Start with 1 minute and notice how you feel. When you continue to practice this regularly, you will increase your ability to stay present longer and reduce the intensity of your thoughts.

2. Write Down Your Feelings

When you are feeling anxious, there are so many thoughts running through your head. Putting some of those thoughts and feelings down on paper can provide some clarity. It allows you to organize your thoughts in a more manageable way and slow down before making decisions.

There is no wrong or right way of writing down whatever is on your mind, so let go of worrying about grammar, spelling, or making it sound perfect- this is for YOU.

Start by taking a few deep breaths and center yourself. Start writing about your thoughts, feelings, and worries. Write about what you think is making you anxious, any triggers you can identify, how you are feeling, and how your physical body feels in response.

Once you have written everything down, take some time to reflect on your words. When I am writing my feelings and thoughts, the simple act of writing helps me feel so much better. It gives me a perspective that I would not have considered otherwise, allowing me to make more mindful choices.

As you continue to write, you will notice patterns in your thoughts and understand your anxiety better. This is another simple yet very underrated coping skills for anxiety.

3. Engage in a Distraction Technique

Sometimes, the anxious thoughts move so fast that you need to distract yourself and focus on something else to create some space between your thoughts. Distraction isn't always a bad thing, and it helps you redirect your attention away from your anxious thoughts while you engage in a different activity.

Think about an activity that you enjoy and that will capture your attention. It could be painting, going to the gym, reading a good book, or playing with your dog. My favorite go-to distraction strategy is watching a funny show or working out. It's something I enjoy and keeps my focus away from my anxious thoughts.

Once you choose an activity, set some time aside to engage in that activity and commit to letting go of your anxious thoughts during this time. If you set your time for 30 minutes, really challenge yourself to engage in your chosen activity. If your mind starts to drift back to your worries, gently bring your attention back to the activity at hand.

The goal of distraction is to help you break the cycle of anxiety. When you are able to distract yourself, you create a mental 'time-out' from your anxious thinking. It will help with reducing the intensity of your emotions and improve your ability to manage your anxiety more efficiently.
So, the next time your mind needs a break, think about adding a distraction strategy to your coping toolbox.

4. Practice Mindfulness

Similar to mindfulness meditation, I added another coping skill that is more general to practicing Mindfulness. If you are someone who does not enjoy meditation, consider practicing Mindfulness in another way.

At its core, Mindfulness is about staying in the present moment. It's about being able to non-judgementally observe your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations to gain a deeper understanding of your anxiety. When you start to understand what triggers your anxiety, you are able to create a more balanced and realistic perspective for yourself. 

A few ways to practice Mindfulness include: 

  • Taking a mindful walk
  • Observing your thoughts like clouds passing in the sky
  • Focus on the sensory experience while washing dishes
  • Mindfully savor each bite
  • Connect with nature
  • Practice active listening

Being able to engage with your surroundings when you are anxious will allow you to take a step back and cultivate clarity and emotional balance. This is a must-add to your coping skills for anxiety toolbox.

5. Go back to the Basics

When my anxiety is super high, and I don't know where to start, my favorite go-to coping skills for anxiety is focusing on the basics. 

Think about a particularly anxious period in your life where you found it challenging to get adequate sleep, engage in physical activity, hydrate, or maintain regular meals. It feels like a bit of a chicken-and-egg question- did your anxiety cause these disruptions, or did these disruptions make your anxiety worse?

When you are anxious and don't know where to start- start with the basics of self-care, which includes movement, eating nutrient-dense meals, sleep, and hydration. If you have been struggling to exercise or hydrate, for example, think about a way to incorporate movement into your day. Instead of going to the gym, you decide to stretch your body at home; instead of drinking 2 liters of water, you choose to start with 1 L.

When you start focusing on some of the basics, your mind and body become better equipped to handle stress and anxiety.

3. Cognitive Coping Skills for Anxiety

1. Use CBT Techniques

CBT is a form of therapy used to manage anxiety. It focuses on identifying, labeling, and challenging your unhelpful thought patterns and behavior that are making you anxious. Here's how to practice CBT when you are anxious:

1) Identify Negative Thoughts: Recognize and write down thoughts that fuel your anxiety, like something terrible is going to happen. 

2) Label Your Thoughts: When you write down the unhelpful thoughts that are making you anxious, you can label the type of thought pattern you are having, and these patterns are called distortions. There are many different types of thinking traps, like catastrophic thoughts, black-and-white thinking, should-based thinking, etc. When you learn to label the thoughts you are having, you can start questioning the validity and accuracy of the thoughts.

3) Challenge Your Thoughts: Now, you are going to challenge your thoughts and create a more balanced/realistic way of looking at your situation. To challenge your thoughts, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I factually know to be true for my thoughts, and what am I assuming or fearing?
  • What is the evidence for and against this thought? (factual information) 
  • Have I experienced this before? If yes, how did it turn out?
  • What is the worst that could happen if my thought came true, and how would I cope with it? 
  • What's the more likely and best-case outcome? 
  • What would I tell a friend if they were in the same situation? 
  • What's an alternative way of looking at this?

Use these CBT questions as effective coping skills for anxiety the next time you find yourself ruminating.

2. Thought Stopping

Thought-stopping is another simple way to manage anxiety by interrupting and redirecting your anxious thoughts to a more calming alternative. Think of thought stopping like hitting a pause button on your thoughts.

The first step in engaging in thought-stopping is becoming aware of your anxious thoughts. You can choose to write them down or notice thoughts that are causing you distress.

Next, you are going to interrupt your thoughts by either saying 'stop' to yourself or bringing your immediate attention to another sensation. I tell my clients to have a rubber band on their wrist and pull on it when they are trying to divert their attention.

Once you divert your attention, replace your anxious thought with something more calming, like repeating an affirmation, practicing saying the opposite of the thought, focusing on your breath, or simply bringing your attention to a distracting activity. Anytime the anxious thought resurfaces, repeat the process of interrupting your thought cycle and replace it with something more calming.

3. Practice Self-Compassion

Practicing self-compassion is definitely a skill that takes practice, but it serves as a valuable way to cope with anxiety. Extending kindness and understanding to yourself when you are anxious allows you to center yourself and makes it easier to cope.

When anxiety hits, it's easy to be critical of yourself and your feelings, but when you acknowledge the universal experience of feeling anxiety, it helps you feel less alone. For example, instead of saying, "I need to get it together.", you might choose to say, "I am doing the best I can today, and that is enough."

I like to pair self-compassion with deep breathing. Practicing a self-compassionate statement with a deep breath can really help ease the anxiety.

So next time you find it hard to be kind to yourself during challenging times, practice self-compassion as one of your coping skills for anxiety 

4. Practice Affirmations

Affirmations are positive statements you can say to yourself to calm your mind when you are feeling anxious. It's a simple yet effective tool to change your mindset and remind yourself of the inner strength and resources you have to cope with your situation.

For example, if you are feeling anxious about your circumstances at home, you might repeat to yourself, "I am not defined by my family's dysfunction." When you practice affirmations, it can help counteract the negative thoughts that you may be experiencing.

So, next time you are anxious, think about giving yourself a message of self-belief.

5. Schedule Worry Time

Another effective strategy for managing anxiety is implementing worry time as part of your coping skills for anxiety routine. 

Worry time is one of my go-to strategies for managing anxiety. Worry time is like setting boundaries for your worries, making sure the thoughts do not dominate your entire day. When you are able to do that, you are able to regain a sense of control over your thoughts and emotions.

To practice worry time, choose a time during the day that is designated to 'worry.' You can select anywhere from 15-30 minutes or longer if needed. During this period, you are allowed to worry as much as you want about whatever is making you anxious. You can choose to write down your thoughts, discuss them in therapy, or talk to a friend about it. The goal is to give your worry thoughts your full attention for a limited time.

Once worry time is over, if anxious thoughts pop up, remind yourself that it is not worry time right now, and you will acknowledge your thoughts during your scheduled session. By doing this, you can prevent your anxious thoughts from intruding into your daily life and not feeling overwhelmed by the constant worrying.

coping skills for anxiety

Coping skills for Anxiety

Additional Skills to Help You Cope With Anxiety

Whether you are trying to manage your work anxiety or need coping skills for anxiety in relationships, these are additional skills to help you cope: 

1. Managing Stress in Everyday Life

1) Plan Your Day

Your brain loves structure and predictability. Planning your day allows you to create a sense of order and control, so when you feel anxious, your brain knows to rely on a consistent routine. If you start your day without a clear plan or agenda, it can be very easy to go with the motions of the day and react to your feelings. 

For example, let's say you wake up feeling anxious about an upcoming work presentation. If you planned out your day, you know exactly how to manage your anxiety. You wake up at a consistent time, eat a nutrient-dense meal, and journal your thoughts before you go to work. 

On the other hand, if you don't have a plan for your day, it's easier to fall into a cycle of rumination about the upcoming presentation. You might skip breakfast, mindlessly scroll on your phone, or distract yourself in other unhelpful ways. 

Planning your day will help you maintain a sense of balance.

2) Take a Mindfulness Break

There are some days I am so zoned into my day that I realize I haven't taken a single break. When that happens, I feel groggy, checked out, and tired. Practicing taking a mindful break is like pressing pause on your busy day and checking in with yourself.

You can set a reminder on your phone or make a note somewhere to remind yourself to take a mindfulness break anywhere from 5-15 minutes. During this time, you can choose to focus on your breathing, step away from your devices, or do a little stretch. The goal is to bring awareness to the present moment.

So the next time you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, think about taking a mindfulness break as one of your coping skills for anxiety. 

3) Have Boundaries With Yourself

Having boundaries with yourself is SO important. It helps you set limits with yourself and keep your stress levels in check. Boundaries with self can include:

  • Taking breaks.
  • Saying no to things.
  • Having a work-life balance.
  • Boundaries with technology.
  • Balancing needs vs. wants. 

4) Maintain Social Connections

Your support system is your safety net for managing everyday stress. It plays a significant role in managing everyday stress. They can offer advice, a listening ear, or be there for you when you are feeling down.

Maintaining social connections provides a sense of belonging and reminds you that you are not alone on this journey. So, find your tribe and make a consistent effort to remain connected and present.

5) Have Hobbies and Creative Outlets

Having hobbies and creative outlets acts as a personal escape from everyday stress. It is important to pursue things you enjoy and experience the joy of just being present with them.

So whether you choose to find a new hiking spot, explore a new hobby, or cozy up with your favorite book, remember to do things you enjoy.

2. Coping Skills for Anxiety in the Moment

1) Breathe & Ground Yourself 

When anxiety strikes, take a moment to ground yourself and focus on your breathing. You can practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique or use grounding techniques like 5-4-3-2-1 to bring your attention to the present moment.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed, remember to incorporate grounding exercises as necessary coping skills for anxiety.

2) Practice TIIP Skills

TIPP is a popular DBT skill that is designed to help you manage your emotions in the moment. It stands for Temperature, Intense Exercise, Paced Breathing, and Progressive Muscle Relaxation. 

  • Temperature: You can change your temperature in many different ways, such as using an ice pack, dipping your face into a bowl of ice water, or splashing cold water on your face. When dipping your face into cold water, briefly hold your breath and put your face into the bowl of cold water for 30 seconds or as long as you are comfortable. Remove your face from the bowl and breathe. 
    • Note: Cold water decreases your heart rate rapidly. Please consult with your doctor before using this skill if you have a heart or medical condition, have allergies to colds, have an eating disorder, or take certain medications. When practicing the T in the TIPP skill, please remember to keep water above 50° F. 
  • Intense Exercise: Engaging in intense exercise can help release built-up emotions and reduce the intensity of your anxiety. Doing jump ropes or going to a HIIT class really helps me. Try fast walking, running on the spot, or having a dance party to get your heart rate up. 
    • Note: Intense exercise increases heart rate rapidly. Please consult with your doctor before using this skill if you have a heart or medical condition. 
  • Paced Breathing: Focus on your breathing right now. Are you breathing deeply, or is it more shallow? Practice slow and controlled breathing like box breathing or belly breathing to regulate your heart rate and calm your nervous system. 
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Creating tension and experiencing relaxation in different muscle groups can help relieve the physical tension associated with anxiety. Start from your toes and work your way up to your head. 

Add TIPP to your coping skills for anxiety toolbox ASAP! 

3) Mindfulness Awareness

Mindfulness awareness means bringing your attention to the present moment without judgment. When you feel anxious, instead of trying to avoid or suppress how you feel, notice if you are able to observe your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations.

When you can observe your anxiety, you can gain perspective and prevent it from spiraling out of control.

4) Practice Acceptance and Self-Compassion

Anxiety is a normal human emotion. When you feel anxious, accept that's how you are feeling in the moment and extend yourself self-compassion. Practice treating yourself with the same kindness you would if someone you cared about was going through something similar.

Accepting Help From Others

Asking for help and accepting help are both signs of strength. Sometimes, people hesitate to ask for help due to fear of judgment. I promise you that people who care about you want to help you. Here are some ways to accept help from others:

1) Identify your support system

Identifying your support system is the first step in managing your anxiety. Your support system includes people that you turn to for emotional support when you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. It can include family members, friends, community members, mental health professionals, or support groups. 

2) Communicate your needs

In order for our support system to help us, we need to practice communicating our needs and feelings. Think about what triggers your anxiety, coping mechanisms, and the type of support you need. When your support system knows how to help you, such as reminding you to breathe during a panic attack or taking a break when feeling overwhelmed, it fosters a sense of understanding and leaves you feeling less alone. 

It's okay if this step feels a little scary. You can be scared and still move forward. Remind yourself that anxiety grows in isolation as you may ruminate on your worries without the support of social interactions. When you gain external perspective and reassurance, it gives you an opportunity to break the cycle of anxious thoughts, making it extremely important to seek support. 

Helping Someone Who Is Anxious

Understanding how to deal with someone with anxiety can enhance your ability to provide them with the patience and understanding they need. 

1) Be empathic and be an active listener

Supporting someone anxious requires empathy and understanding. When someone you care about is feeling anxious or overwhelmed, listen to what they have to say and provide a safe space for them to express their feelings. You want to make sure you are only interrupting or offering solutions if that's indicated. The goal is to listen without judgment and genuinely understand their perspective. 

2) Be non-judgemental

When we judge someone for their actions or emotions, we are looking at it from our lens of life experiences. We are judging them because they might be doing something or handling something in a way that we never would. When helping someone anxious, it is important to take a non-judgmental attitude and avoid making critical remarks about their worries and fears. 

Your understanding and patience can provide them with the comfort they need during anxious moments. 

3)Offer reassurance and encourage professional help

When helping someone with anxiety, it is important to know your limitations. Sometimes, you may not always know how to help them, or you might be overextending yourself.

Encourage them to seek professional help if their anxiety significantly impacts their daily life. Reassure them that reaching out for help is a sign of strength, and there are specialized tools to address anxiety.

Recap...

How to deal with anxiety and stress is a question many people seek answers to in order to improve their mental well-being. Coping with and learning to live with anxiety is an ongoing journey. It's OKAY to have ups and downs along the way. What is important is that you are learning to cope with it in healthy ways. 

In this post, you have learned various techniques to manage anxiety that you can put into action right away. From breathing exercises to journaling your feelings, there is something for everyone. If you take away anything from this post, it's a reminder to be kind to yourself when you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious. 

Keep striving for a happier and calmer life, one coping skill at a time.

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