Blog : 5 Top Tips for dealing with Anxiety

There’s no right or wrong way to handle feelings of worry and anxiety, but understanding what triggers it in the first place and developing and implementing some basic coping techniques can really help when those emotions rise within us.

Young woman with anxiety looking worried

Millions of people struggle with persistent feelings of worry and dread, but anxiety is highly treatable, and it is possible for you to manage your feelings of anxiety yourself and without any additional help. Here are some Stop.Breathe.Think’s top tips for handling worry and anxiety, and nurturing your own resilience…

Young man sitting at his laptop while using his phone with a cup of coffee (an anxiety inducing stimulant) placed nearby

1. Limit alcohol and caffeine

While many of us love a good cup of tea or coffee, the caffeine content in such beverages can sometimes exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety and worry by increasing your heart rate and causing feelings of restlessness and jitteriness. On the contrary, alcohol is a known depressive and can in turn make feelings of depression, anxiety, and worry worse.

Try cutting back on caffeine by having a cup of decaffeinated coffee, or a relaxing herbal tea instead. And try to limit caffeine consumption throughout the day and instead drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Two young women socialising on a bench with a drink each.

2. Enjoy time out

Take a well-earned break by stepping away from your homework or exam revision and allow yourself a bit of TV/ phone time, visit a friend, or play your favourite sport. Working non-stop does not help with feelings of worry and anxiety, and humans in general work better and more productively when our focus time is punctuated with periods of non-focus.

Young woman with eyes closed and serene expression, practising mindfulness to reduce anxiety

3. Practice mindfulness

If you can feel anxiety and worry starting to bubble up inside of you, take a moment to step away and practice mindfulness and exercises that can help you regain control and focus. Not to be confused with enjoying time out (see tip no.2), practising mindfulness away from phones and gadgets can help you pinpoint what exactly is triggering your anxiety and worry, examine how it makes you feel, and then explore ways to harness this emotion before returning to your task at hand.

(Top tip: Mindfulness can help you drift off to sleep at night too! Try downloading a guided mediation app like Calm to listen to in the evenings and limit your screen-time in the hour leading up to bed.)

Two girls in sports kit hug in celebration while their team mates applaud.

4. Exercise daily

This is an easy one! It’s scientifically proven that getting out of the house to do your favourite physical activity is an immediate mood-booster. It doesn’t matter whether you’re part of a team, or whether you simply love to walk from A to B, getting your body moving and your heart rate pumping releases all of those feel-good hormones that can combat anxiety, worry, depression, and can even help you sleep better at night.

Finding a physical activity that you enjoy in your own way can bring countless benefits to both your mental and physical health. If you feel up for it, there are plenty of community group classes and team sports, whereas if you’re not quite at that level, you might prefer solo pursuits.

Young man sits on pale couch opposite a person with a clipboard. He is wringing his hands in anxiety while speaking to the professional.

5. Accept that you cannot control everything

One of the hardest parts of handling your anxiety is accepting that many things are outside of your control. For example, you can’t control many things in this world that are uncertain, but you can control how you react in the face of inconvenience and adversity.

Life is highly unpredictable! Which is why many people arm themselves with resilience and good coping mechanisms for when life throws a curveball and takes us by surprise. If you’re struggling with the feelings of not being in control, sometimes it can help to speak to a professional counsellor or therapist to understand the root cause of these emotions and how to tackle them when they arise.

Stop.Breathe.Think. is a UK-based charity organisation offering free mental health services to young people across the UK with 1-1 counselling sessions and support.

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