Self-help strategies for anxiety

Self-help strategies can be really powerful tools in coping with anxiety and improving your daily life. Find out more about different techniques you can use to manage anxiety, services you can access, and what to do if you are still finding your symptoms hard to control.

This can help if:

  • You are finding it hard to deal with stress or anxiety
  • You want more information on how to treat anxiety
  • You want to manage your anxiety symptoms 

Self-help strategies for anxiety

There are a lot of tools and tips out there for managing your own anxiety, here’re our top ones:

Track your thoughts: Write them down or use a phone app like MindShift, to figure out which thoughts are making you anxious. 

Challenge your thinking: Ask yourself how realistic your anxiety-causing thoughts really are, by weighing up the evidence for and against. What would you say to a friend who was having these thoughts?

Avoid avoidance: By always dodging situations that make you anxious, you never get a chance to see that they might not be that bad. Instead, let yourself experience these feared situations, a little bit at a time. 

Be mindful: Mindfulness practice helps you pay attention to the present moment, and not get caught up in thoughts about the past or worry about the future. 

Problem-solve: Not every problem can be solved, but there’s usually something you can do. Work out your goals, brainstorm possible solutions, and put these into practice. 

Go easy on alcohol and drugs: If you’re using alcohol and drugs to cope, you could actually make your symptoms worse, both while you’re using them, and in the long run. 

Lifestyle matters: Eating well can make a difference to your energy levels, and exercise is a natural anxiety buster. Sleep also has a huge effect on physical and emotional health. 

Time-out: Try to make sure you do at least one thing you enjoy each day. Here’s some tips on how to relax. Go for a walk outside, spend some time with a pet, learn to do something new. 

Talk to someone you trust: Talking to a friend or family member is a great for expressing how you feel, and also to get an outsider’s perspective on what’s going on.

Self-help services

It can be really helpful to talk to people who have gone through similar experiences. Check out the ReachOut forums or Blue Board to get some support.

You can also have a look at the Brave Program or eCouch, both are online programs that use psychological strategies to help with anxiety.

If self-help isn't working

If you’ve been using some of these strategies but your anxiety symptoms still have the upper hand, go see your doctor or mental health professional. It could be as simple as a particular strategy not being a good fit, but it’ll be easier to work out how to overcome anxiety if you have help.

What can I do now?

Last reviewed: 03 March, 2016
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