How to cope with anxiety

Anxiety is a normal and natural part of life, and it can be helpful in some situations. However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming and begins to interfere with your daily life, it may be time to seek help. Here are some tips for coping with anxiety:

  • Identify your triggers.
    Learn what situations or actions cause you stress or increase your anxiety. Practice the strategies you developed with your mental health provider so you’re ready to deal with anxious feelings in these situations.
  • Keep a journal.
    Keeping track of your personal life can help you and your mental health provider identify what’s causing you stress and what seems to help you feel better.
  • Keep physically active.
    Develop a routine so that you’re physically active most days of the week. Exercise is a powerful stress reducer. It can improve your mood and help you stay healthy. Start out slowly, and gradually increase the amount and intensity of your activities.
  • Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.
    These substances can cause or worsen anxiety  in the long run. If you can’t quit on your own, see your health care provider or find a support group to help you.
  • Quit smoking, and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages.
    Nicotine and caffeine as stimulants can worsen anxiety.
  • Use stress management and relaxation techniques.
    Practice deep breathing. Visualization techniques, meditation and yoga are examples of relaxation techniques that can ease anxiety and help calm your mind and body.
  • Make sleep a priority.
    Do what you can to make sure you’re getting enough sleep to feel rested. Lack of sleep can increase anxiety, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough rest. If you aren’t sleeping well, talk with your health care provider.
  • Eat healthy foods.
    A healthy diet that incorporates vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish may be linked to reduced anxiety, but more research is needed.
  • Learn about your disorder.
    Talk to your health care provider to find out what might be causing your specific condition and what treatments might be best for you. Involve your family and friends, and ask for their support.
  • Stick to your treatment plan.
    Take medications as directed. Keep therapy appointments and complete any assignments your therapist gives. Consistency can make a big difference, especially when it comes to taking your medication.
  • Socialize.
    Don’t let worries isolate you from loved ones or activities.

Your worries may not go away on their own, and they may worsen over time if you don’t seek help. See your health care provider or a mental health provider before your anxiety worsens. It’s easier to treat if you get help early.