Ways to Cope With Anxiety

Young man meditating outdoors
Juzant/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Learning how to cope with anxiety, particularly for people with generalized anxiety disorder, is essential to living a satisfying life. Beyond professional and self-help treatment methods, these pieces can help you manage daily anxiety. 

1. Reassurance

As a therapist, I think that the most helpful coping method is simply reassurance. Learning how to reassure yourself that you will be OK, that you can tolerate the feelings you are experiencing, and that the moment will eventually pass, can be profoundly helpful.

Doing this regularly and trusting it are the keys.

2. Identify the Source

Many people with GAD struggle to identify the actual source of their anxiety. Some of this may be due to a fear of what it could possibly be, and thus some people do not allow themselves to find it. Being honest with yourself and searching for the cause, whether it is what you hope it to be or something more serious, is important for coping effectively.

3. Solve the Problem

Anxiety compels us to take action and solve problems. If the problem is something you can have some influence over, taking thoughtful action can be a great way to calm anxiety in the ​short-term. Unfortunately, not all problems are solvable. Learning to manage uncertainty and lack of control is another important part of coping and treatment.

4. Remember it Will Pass

Few things in life (if any) are permanent. This includes the stressor you are experiencing, your internal physiological state, and your current stage of worry.

Being able to stay strong when the fire of anxiety gets hot, holding tightly to your confidence, and remembering that it will pass are important during periods of increased stress and anxiety.

5. Relaxation

Learning some quick relaxation techniques can be a great way to cope. Doing a brief muscle-relaxation exercise, breathing slowly from your diaphragm (not your chest), and having a quick mindfulness meditation session will do wonders to calm your body and mind.