tips for anxiety

Tips for Anxiety: 9 Simple Ways to Find Hope in a Mental Health Crisis

We’re all looking for ways to manage anxiety.

That is, 40 million of us are. That’s about how many people suffer from anxiety in the United States in a given year.

“Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important.” —Natalie Goldberg

Anxiety is a liar.  It would have us believe that every negative thought that pops into our head is an emergency, and our bodies are simply not equipped to deal with that.  It puts you in a physical and emotional tailspin over the smallest things.

I hate anxiety.  There are a lot of amazingly inspirational people who can find a silver lining in their illness.  And maybe one day I will get there. But just to be totally transparent, anxiety is the most odious mental health symptom that I live with.

It’s like a tiny dictator that lives inside your brain.  It makes you think and act a certain way, and gaslights you constantly.

Luckily, there is hope.  While there is no known cure for anxiety, there are ways you can live a fulfilling life.  You can have a good relationship. You can be successful at work. It just takes diligence.

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Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.

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What is anxiety?

According to Healthline, anxiety is “your body’s natural response to stress. It’s a feeling of fear or apprehension about what’s to come. The first day of school, going to a job interview, or giving a speech may cause most people to feel fearful and nervous.  But if your feelings of anxiety are extreme, last for longer than six months, and are interfering with your life, you may have an anxiety disorder.”

So, by their definition, feelings of anxiety are completely normal!  It is normal to feel nervous before an interview. Or butterflies in your stomach before a first date.  It is when it begins to interfere with your life, and do not go away, that you might need to seek treatment for an anxiety disorder.

There are different types of anxiety disorders to be aware of.  People might have symptoms of just one, or more than one, depending on their circumstances.

The Anxiety and Worry Workbook: The Cognitive Behavioral Solution

Generalized anxiety

This is, as is probably obvious by the name, just a general feeling of anxiety. It may or may not have specific triggers. This is pretty much what I have. Constant feelings of dread that don’t really stem from any particular experience.

Social anxiety

People with social anxiety are uncomfortable in crowds, or even more intimate social settings. Sometimes even having a single friend over to hang out is enough to send their anxiety in a tailspin. I definitely have this. I always need a day or two to recharge after spending time with loved ones.

Phobias

Someone who lives with phobia related anxiety feels anxious when around certain stimuli. For me, it is heights and snakes. I feel visceral reactions when I drive over a bridge or see a python on TV. It makes my thoughts race and I have to close my eyes or do intense affirmations.

OCD

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a disease that centers around obsessive thinking and the performance of compulsive behaviors. These individuals often worry about something like, “Did I really shut the gas off on the stove?” and might re-enter their house multiple times to check.

PTSD/other trauma related anxieties

This form of anxiety is centered around a memory, or series of memories, that was traumatic. I won’t list examples to reduce the risk of triggering a reader, but there are a lot of situations that could elicit a trauma response in someone.

Panic disorder

With this disorder, people regularly experience actual panic. Someone with generalized anxiety like me, might rarely or never have a panic attack. It just depends on the person. People with panic disorder have anxiety that more often evolves into a panicked state that they can’t shake.


I hope I didn’t miss one, but hopefully this goes to show how widespread anxiety symptoms are.  It affects 40 million adults in the US per year, and as you can see, cannot even be confined to one category.

Tips for anxiety

There are a lot of tips for anxiety that I have found helpful.  It’s not a perfect system, and you will never not have anxiety. I always say if they come up with a magical shot or surgery, I will be first in line!  But in the meantime, all we can do is try to tweak our lifestyle habits to give our brain the best chance of staying stable and happy.

Exercise regularly

This. Exercise is vital for our physical and emotional well-being. It releases chemicals in our brain that help balance our moods, and it instills a feeling of self-confidence. I know it can be hard to exercise when you are emotionally unwell, but if you start slow, even 10-15 minutes a few days a week, you might notice a difference.

Eat healthy foods

Guys, I love sugar. However, I know it is terrible for me, and I’m going to begin working toward drastically reducing how much of it I consume. The better food choices you make, the better you tend to feel physically and emotionally. If you live with chronic mood issues, I would monitor sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.

Drink plenty of water

This is another one I am super bad at by nature. For some, drinking a lot of water is easy. For others, it takes more effort to cultivate that habit. I have found electrolyte/hydration multiplier packets to be helpful. They also have a pleasant flavor, which makes drinking the water more palatable.

Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier, Electrolyte Powder, Easy Open Packets, Supplement Drink Mix (Acai Berry) (16)

Get adequate sleep

Quality sleep is really so beneficial for you. It’s imperative that you find a way to get on a good sleep routine. Whether it’s meditating or a relaxing bath before bed, or tweaking your bed time, or trying a change in medication, do what you have to do.

Avoid triggers

For some people, it helps to avoid the things that trigger their anxiety. Anxiety can be so individual, that different things will work for different people. Before you shy away from certain experiences or situations, take an honest emotional inventory about whether or not the avoidance is actually helping.

Don’t avoid triggers

For others, it helps to slowly be able to confront their triggers. They feel confidence building as they force themselves to, using myself as an example, drive over bridges more often. This is the case for me. For me, avoidance tends to make things worse.

Journal

Journaling is a really helpful practice for anyone with mental health issues. It is a great way to get negative thoughts out of your head and start to make sense of them. I think it really helps to actually see the things you are thinking on paper, in black and white. It can shine a light on how ridiculous a lot of them are.

Paperage Lined Journal Notebook, Hard Cover, Medium 5.7 x 8 inches, 100 gsm Thick Paper (Yellow, Ruled)

Speak up about how you feel

You will never get better if you don’t actually admit that you are unwell. Living a life of “Oh, everything’s fine” when clearly your life is in shambles is only going to make things worse. You have to learn to view your life through an objective lens, and find someone you can confide in about your mental health.

Get adequate self care

This is a necessity for all adults. We all need to do things that make us feel good on a daily basis. There’s a lot of info about self care out there, and not all of it’s good. Just pay attention to the little things that lift your spirits, and make sure to practice them daily. For me, it is alone time after a long day caring for my children (and my work at home spouse.)

Recap of anxiety series.

I hope you enjoyed this series about anxiety and found the information useful.  To catch up on previous installments, check out this handy list

Don’t let living with anxiety ruin your life.

Remember, you can live a wonderful life even if you have anxiety.  You can be happy and well-adjusted. Just be kind to yourself, and one of these ways to manage anxiety above.  Start with one and try it for 30 days, then you can start to incorporate other ones in. 

It is a marathon, not a sprint, but there is hope.

What are your favorite anxiety busting tips? Please share in the comments, and don’t forget to share the article!


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91 thoughts on “Tips for Anxiety: 9 Simple Ways to Find Hope in a Mental Health Crisis”

  1. Great tips! You are so right about anxiety being a liar. I try to remember the verse about “whatever is true, think on such things.” When I start falling for the crazy thoughts in my head, I try to redirect my thoughts to truth, which often stops the anxiety in its tracks.

  2. I know a couple of people who has OCD. It’s really kind of disturbing at times but we fully understand their situation, we’ll know how to deal with it.

    1. Hey Nikki, it’s definitely sad. I watched my dad struggle with his compulsions when I was growing up, and it’s tough. Just have to support them the best we can! Thanks for reading!

  3. Such a wonderful article that is very timely in what the entire world is now experiencing and many people are losing hope. This is definitely a great help to cope up on this kind of feeling.

  4. Having anxieties is the worst. The most that I’m struggling with is Social Anxiety. I always feel being an outcast to a group. Still learning to cope up with my anxieties. Great tips I’ll apply this to myself.

    1. Hey Brandy, thanks so much! Anxiety’s tough because the symptoms are so vague sometimes, and different things work for different people. Hope lots of people find it helpful. Thanks for reading!

  5. I’ve been experiencing memory loss for 2 years. My doctor’s keep wanting to put me on anti anxiety drugs and anti depressants. I refuse because the side effects are worse that the problem they solve. My anxiety is quite minor compared to what it used to be. Natural methods work for me.

  6. These sound like some great tips – my anxiety is all back to front at the moment, where it would normally have me sleeping it’s keeping me awake and where I normally breathe quickly I am stopping breathing instead, it is a funny thing to have to deal with.

    1. Hey Sarah, I’m not surprised given current world events. It’s a troubling time, and in your part of the world, I know you guys have your own stuff going on too. Hang in there, and thanks for reading!

    1. Hey Amber, hope they help! I think with Covid social anxieties will only get worse because we are getting more out of practice. Hopefully that’s not the case. Take care, and thanks for reading!

  7. Good post and tips. Thank you for sharing. I also have social anxiety. I hate being around big crowds. I always prefer just to have 4/5 friends around me. To reduce my anxiety, I did a lot of writing, journaling, arts, play music, and some physical activities.

    1. Hey Fadima, I am the same way! I much prefer just a few friends or family members to huge gatherings. Weirdly when I worked retail I was not affected though! Funny how anxiety works. Keep up the self care, and thanks for reading!

  8. I’ve found being around the right people has helped my mental health during lockdown alongside staying hydrated, eating properly and exercising and when that doesn’t work a cuddle with my dogs does the trick.

  9. This is very helpful! I like that you give tips to help. I have a little anxiety or it might be panic attacks sometimes when I’m really stressed. I try breathing exercises sometimes and I have been looking for something else to try. I will definitely try exercising regularly, drink more water, and write in my journal more. Thanks for the tips, very helpful!

  10. Katie @ Teacher and the Tots

    You shared such great and thorough about types of anxiety. I had some rough postpartum anxiety after my first and the water drinking and adequate sleep definitely helped me. Thanks for sharing!

    1. The postpartum season is so hard. I had PPD both times and it’s definitely challenging to bring yourself out of that. Hopefully you’re doing well now. Thanks for reading!

    1. I don’t usually meditate, but I try to make some version of “quiet time” a priority for myself at night, and it really does help. Thanks for reading!

  11. Great tips. I’ve found journaling to be really helpful, along with exercise and eating right. I’d also add mindfulness to the list, although I know this isn’t for everyone 🙂

  12. The body works as a whole. Nutrition, exercise and positive stimulus works not only to build muscle but to keep your brain healthy and happy. There are some really good tips in here, and I must say that I appreciate how you don’t put a one size fits all approach on mental health.

  13. Exercise, eating healthy, and being kind to my body in general have proved to be beneficial for my mental health. I was surprised at first because I didn’t realize how much mental and physical health affect each other, but exercise is one of my favorite ways to relieve stress now!

    I also love your journaling suggestion. My gratitude journal has helped me look on the bright side more often, especially when I’m feeling anxious or worried.

  14. I really related to this! I have always been an anxious person but earlier this year I really felt it going through the roof! It was interfering with my everyday life and I was constantly on edge and the worst part was I didn’t know why!
    I sort out help and still to this day use many of the techniques that you suggested! Exercise and healthy eating is key for me! As well as not avoiding things. I find it I avoid then I will never confront my irrational fears!

    1. That’s usually how I feel. Usually the anxiety for me is less in the doing and more in the anticipation, so if I can just bring myself to do it, even for a few minutes, it helps. Thanks for reading!

  15. What a thorough post. Very timely and informative as most people have anxiety now due to our current state. I hope more people get to read this so they can do things to ease their anxiety and hopefully, be able to control it. Thanks for sharing!

  16. This is great. I always learn something new from your post as you were describing anxiety in its various forms, I cam to understand it on a new level. Monitoring sugar, alcohol and caffeine is a must for me and my mood disorder. If I am anxious I will rarely have coffee because I know the caffeine will exacerbate the symptoms. As an alternative I choose CALM magnesium supplement or chamomile tea. These help me. Thanks again Jen!

  17. My downfall currently has been struggling to maintain adequate exercise andnaleep in all this chaos. It was an important reminder to read this and remember I need to prioritize myself.

    1. It can definitely be hard when everything else seems so chaotic. Once you can do it for a week or two, it feels a little easier to make ti a habit. Good luck!

  18. I’ve struggled with anxiety since middle school and it is so important to know what triggers anxiety and how to manage it! Thank you so much for this informative post.

  19. These are all such great tips for dealing with anxiety. I’ve definitely been more anxious here lately because of everything that’s going on. And usually I am not an anxious person at all so thank you for sharing!

  20. I love how you neatly identify each type of anxiety; since I have had troubled figuring out what each label means from reading online, this was a big help to me.

    Exercise is a great way for me to get my mind off everything and just focus on the moment for a little bit. Staying hydrated also staves off grumpiness 🙂

    1. Yeah, as much as I hate drinking water, when I do it actually does make me feel better. I’ve been adding a slice of lemon to my water bottle which helps a little.

      Thanks for reading!

  21. Great tips as always and I especially like how you included avoid/don’t avoid your triggers. For some of us facing things that are triggering can be beneficial in the long run but in cases where your anxiety is pretty bad it can hinder rather than help. You’ve just got to do what’s right for you. For me exercise has definitely been a huge help – I really notice a difference between when I do it regularly and when I don’t! Thanks for sharing x

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