Therapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on behavior change, or exposure therapy, which can help people deal with irrational fears in a safe and controlled environment. These are considered highly effective for anxiety. You can find a therapist who practices these specific methods at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Stress reduction methods, such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, have been shown to be effective in controlling symptoms of anxiety. Best of all, you can often practice these at home, at no cost.
Exercise is another free way to manage anxiety symptoms. Even a brief walk can boost mood and reduce stress. Exercise is another free way to manage anxiety symptoms.
Medications such as antidepressants for mood, mild tranquilizers to reduce panic, sleep aids
, and beta-blockers to treat shaking and racing heart symptoms are all considered tools for managing symptoms, though they donât treat the underlying causes. Learn more about the most common types of anxiety medications doctors prescribe.
Herbal supplements and natural remedies such as omega 3 fatty acids can also be helpful. With your doctorâs permission, you might consider trying one of these home remedies for natural anxiety relief.
CBD and other types of medical marijuana may take the edge off anxiety, though many doctors urge caution. Donât turn to alcohol or recreational drugs, because they can lead to addiction and make your anxiety symptoms worse.
Take a break. Anxiety makes you feel like youâre always running away from disaster. If you step back and take a breather, youâll notice how smoothly the world spins without constant vigilance.
Stay nourished. Feeling anxious can ruin your appetite or trigger junk food binges, which can make you feel jittery or worse. Try eating more whole-food, plant-based or protein-packed meals and snacks to boost your energy and keep your blood sugar
Unplug. Social media is a proven source of anxiety for many people, but it can also help you stay connected. If you feel the need to go online, choose friendly, good-news sources and block those that make you feel more anxious.
Limit caffeine and alcohol. Stimulants can aggravate anxiety andâin large dosesâeven trigger panic attacks. Go for seltzer, decaf coffee or hot or iced herbal tea instead. (Be sure to limit these other anxiety-inducing foods, too.)
Get enough sleep. Anxiety can make it hard to sleep, and lack of sleep makes anxiety symptoms worse. Break that vicious cycle by avoiding caffeine and using these simple tricks to get to sleep. If these donât work, talk to your doctor about trying sleep medication.
Exercise. Itâs worth repeating: Moving can help you burn energy and release soothing chemicals in your brain. Even a little bit helps.
Take deep breaths. Deep, diaphragmatic breathing may give you a more positive outlook. Try to make your inhales and exhales the same duration. Daily mindful breathing exercises have been shown to measurably reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.
Laugh! Ok, youâre not seeing much to chuckle about in lifeâor your anxiety. But try laughing at both and see how much better you feel.
Avoid triggers. If certain people or situations make you feel especially fearful or panicked, avoid them until youâre more in control. Not sure whatâs really bothering you? Write in a journal or track your symptoms in an app.
Connect with others. Isolation is both a symptom of and a trigger for anxiety. Talk to your friends and family, even if youâre feeling overwhelmed, or consider joining a support group. Just being around people, even if you donât feel like socializing, can defuse your symptoms.
Thereâs an app for that. Anxiety is prevalent among young people, so itâs no wonder many free apps and trackers are available to help people manage their symptoms and get access to care.