11 Anxiety Management Strategies

We all experience anxiety to varying degrees. For some it is an occasional occurrence while others experience it as a crippling problem that is present throughout each and every day. Anxiety can be unpleasant and overwhelming, quickly taking over our ability to think clearly. Fortunately, there are many strategies that have been proven to effectively manage anxiety.

Here are some of our top anxiety management strategies:

1. Breathe

When you are in a state of anxiety your breathing becomes more rapid and shallow. To combat this, try to slow your breathing down by taking long, slow out breaths. Focus on your out breath and let your lungs fill up naturally. Repeat this until your breathing rate slows.


2. Stay Present

Often when we experience anxiety it is not about something in our present environment. Anxiety often exists far off in a future we imagine. To combat this try to focus on your surroundings and what is happening in your life in that particular moment rather than dwelling on a distant future.

3. Relax

When anxiety hits our muscles tense up so it makes sense to purposefully let this muscle tension go. However, knowing how to effectively relax is the trickier part. To start, find a quiet location, close your eyes and then slowly tense and relax each of your muscle groups from head to toe. Hold the tension for a few seconds and then release it. This can help release any stress that has become internalised.


4. Lead a Healthy Lifestyle

Staying active, eating well, getting enough sleep and spending time out in nature are just as good for mental health as they are for physical health. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol can also help minimise anxiety as both have been found to aggravate anxiety.

5. Track Your Anxiety

If anxiety is a regular occurence in your day to day life then it could be a good idea to keep a diary where you note when your anxiety is at its best and worst. Doing so may help you recognise patterns and triggers. Monitoring your thoughts, feelings and behaviours in these moments can help you to work out what you need to change in order to manage your anxiety effectively.

6. Positive Self Talk

Anxiety affects how we feel about ourselves. It can make us overreact to a perceived threat and underestimate our ability to cope. Be mindful of the thoughts going through your mind that may be negative, compare them to the facts and let them go.

7. Worry Later

Worry thoughts pop in and out of our minds throughout the day. One of the best ways to stop those worry thoughts from taking root and taking over our minds is to set aside time each day to give them attention. You can note down worry thoughts throughout the day and then spend fifteen minutes systematically going through them.

8. Be Kind to Yourself

Sometimes we are our own worst critics. Just as we are able to talk ourselves down we can talk ourselves up. Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself. Take a nice long bath and recognise all of the great things you have been doing.

9. Confront Your Anxiety

Sometimes anxiety makes us avoid people and situations. While this may work in the short term it certainly does not in the long term. Confronting the things that trigger anxiety can make us realise we were worried about nothing or that if something does happen we can cope with it.

10. Accept

A major part of combating anxiety is acknowledging that some things are simply not in our control. Accept that you cannot control everything.

11. Talk to Someone

Keep your friends and family in the loop. The support and understanding of family and friends can be invaluable to coping with anxiety. They often help us put things in perspective and give us reassurance.

How do you manage your anxiety?

Dr Jodie Lowinger