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10 Things to Do When You Feel Anxious

arm and hand of person meditating with sunshine streaming through fingers
Anxiety, in all its forms, is not uncommon.

by Catherine Santino

Anxiety, in all its forms, is not uncommon -- but that doesn't make it any less difficult to manage. Whether you suffer from serious anxiety or sometimes have trouble handling the everyday stressors that life throws at you, there are simple steps you can take to help you cope.

Of course, if you are feeling overwhelmed by your mental health and don't know how to handle anxiety, it's important to reach out to someone that can help. There are even online therapists available if you are unable to go to one in person. But in the meantime, here are several strategies to help you ease some of your anxiety now:

1. Take a Long Walk

Sometimes clearing your head is the best thing to do when you're feeling overwhelmed. Going for a long walk, especially one in nature, can help calm your thoughts in times of stress.

2. Meditate

Apps such as Headspace offer hundreds of guided meditations specifically tailored toward people with busy lifestyles. Listening to a meditation app before you head to work or school can help you jump-start your day with a clear and calm mind.

3. Journal

Journaling can be particularly beneficial if you're feeling overwhelmed by your thoughts and emotions.

Open up a notebook or computer and try to write consistently for five minutes without pausing or thinking about grammar or spelling. This exercise helps to rid your mind of stress. It might even help you identify what you worry about most.

4. Get to the Gym

It's no secret that exercise can help relieve stress. Sometimes when you're feeling overwhelmed, though, it seems so much easier to just go home and collapse into bed. Try to shake that feeling — you'll be glad you did.

Making a routine out of the gym can help boost your motivation and energy levels, and take your mind off whatever stressful events happened that day. Schedule it like you would any other appointment so you're less likely to skip it.

5. Listen to Music

Sometimes, blasting your pump-up playlist and throwing a one-person dance party in your kitchen is the best way to improve your state of mind when you're feeling anxious. Other times, a sad song will help you reflect on what it is that's making you uncomfortable. It just depends on your mood.

6. Eat Regular, Healthy Meals

New research from Cambridge University suggests that those who eat their meals at regular times every day generally have healthier diets. These people also tend to avoid sugars and fast foods, which can lead to unpredictable energy levels and crashes — feelings anyone who is learning how to handle anxiety wants to avoid.

7. Drink More Water

Water has countless health benefits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including helping to regulate your body temperature and flush toxins from your system. It's a crucial element to being physically capable of handling anxiety and fending off illness.

8. Talk to a Friend

Sometimes all you need to feel better at the end of the day is a long talk with a friend or family member. Pick up the phone and call someone close to you that you can trust, and let it all out.

9. Focus on Your Breath

Pausing to breathe deeply can serve as an instant anxiety fix. Try breathing in for five to six seconds, holding your breath for a few seconds and then breathing out for seven seconds. Repeat this a few times, and you should feel much calmer.

10. Remind Yourself That You're OK

In times of stress, it's helpful to remember that you've survived the stresses and hardships that have cropped up in your life before, and you'll get through this one too.