7 Easy to Implement Coping Strategies for Anxiety

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Do you ever feel like a victim of your own anxious thoughts, unable to shut them off?

Or perhaps the same repetitive thought of worry continues to crop up?

These thoughts can be so pervasive that choosing to simply avoid them is an understandable temptation.

“If I pretend it doesn’t bother me, then it will go away.”

This unknowingly can lead to what is called the Cycle of Anxiety.

Avoidance of fear perpetuates worry to increase causing it to become more difficult to resist or break free from.

It can be daunting to face these fears or worries that have become oddly familiar in our minds.

There are many easy to implement coping strategies that allow you confront anxious thoughts and take back your sense of control in the moment.

  1. Practice Gratitude

Scientific studies show that gratitude does the following:

  • Improves sleep
  • Supports and strengthens your immune system
  • Enhances romantic relationships
  • Boosts your feeling of happiness
  • Regulates Stress Management

How? There is a region of the brain associated with gratitude that is correlated with the parts of the brain that control basic emotion including pleasure. Neuroscience at its finest!

Simple ways to practice gratitude:

  • Keeping a gratitude journal or gratitude jar
  • Expressing thanks to others
  • Making a gratitude list in your mind
  • Giving a compliment
  • Going for a walk and noticing the beauty in nature

These simple acts take your attention away from your own stress and put it on something worthwhile.

2. Keep Physical Active

This does not have to look like tons of intense cardio, you just need to be moving! This can look like going for a walk on your lunch break. The important part is to move your body regularly every day to improve mood, reduce stress, and help stay healthy.

3. Reduce Caffeine and Alcohol

Notice how I emphasize “reduce”, not eliminate. It is understandable that many people rely on that caffeine boost to get through the workday or that glass of wine to relax at the end of the night.

This tip is simply to monitor intake and be mindful of the effects of consumption. In fact, caffeine and alcohol consumption can increase anxiety. Caffeine is considered an “anxiety amplifier” and often affects anxiety hours later making it difficult to recognize the link between the two. Moderation is key here!

4. Prioritize Sleep

This one can be difficult when schedules become busy, deadlines are pressing, or babies are up all night.

Sleep is crucial to mental health as well as physical health. As we all know lack of sleep always catches up to us. In fact, it can be a contributing cause of repetitive negative thoughts.

Do the best you can to incorporate a cat nap into your day, if possible, when nighttime sleep is interrupted.

5. Eat Healthy.

Eating poorly may feel like an easy and desired go-to coping mechanism. However, it can negatively impact your nervous system, increasing your anxiety over time.

6. Maintain a Consistent Eating Schedule

Skipping meals can cause hypoglycemia leading to symptoms such as irritability, nervousness, dizziness, lightheadedness, weakness.

Focus on making sure your body is well nourished throughout the day, even if it takes that extra protein bar on the go!

7. Acknowledge Your Anxiety

Ignoring your anxiety will perpetuate the cycle of anxiety, making the symptoms worse. Instead, try to acknowledge it to yourself, a trusted friend, or a therapist.

Sometimes the most challenging part about anxiety is the experience of feeling out of control in your mind and body. The bombarding thoughts that come seemingly out of nowhere when we are focused on an unrelated task. If you have experienced this, it is easy to feel discouraged and frustrated feeling as though your own body and mind is betraying you.

Being kind to ourselves in that moment is the first step to tackling anxiety.

You can implement all the coping strategies and go through the motions to get a particular result, but if you fail to be gentle and caring towards yourself throughout the process, the work may turn out meaningless.

Imagine how you would encourage a friend struggling with this same issue. Notice the tone of voice you would use. Notice the word choice and the patience you would have. Do you treat yourself the same? Or do you grow frustrated quickly with yourself resorting in destructive self-talk? Be mindful of constructing a positive and loving relationship with yourself in the same way you treat the ones you love.

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About Me

I am a licensed therapist in the state of California with a master’s degree in social work from UCLA.