10 Top Tricks from Therapists on How to Deal with Anxiety

Just do it

Procrastination and anxiety go hand-in-hand as a lot of anxiety comes from worrying about future events. For things you have direct control over, like your job performance or to-do list, start working on them, even if you don’t feel quite ready, says Denise Limongello, LMSW, a licensed psychotherapist and life coach based in Manhattan. “Many studies indicate that people often respond to anxiety with avoidance,” she says. “It might be tempting to avoid doing the thing that makes you anxious but instead of putting it off, do it right away.” And for things you simply can’t control, like hurricanes and your mother-in-law, doing whatever you can do to prepare for them will help ease your anxiety. Can’t pinpoint your anxiety to one specific worry? You may have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, a mental illness where you feel surrounded by a cloud of formless worry all the time.

Learn to recognize your physical signs of anxiety

Ever read a tip online and think, “Sure, that’s great for other people but it just doesn’t work for me?” Each person feels anxiety a little differently, and therefore each person will respond better to some techniques than to others, Torgerson says. It seems obvious now but dealing with anxiety isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing. Start by figuring out how your body reacts to anxiety. Do you tense up and freeze or do you want to run away? Do you feel it mostly in your stomach or chest? Do you breathe heavily? Feel nauseous? Do your palms go clammy? All of this is information you can use, she says. “As soon as you notice your first sign of anxiety, immediately take some deep breaths then do something you know will help you calm down, not just what works for someone else,” she says. “Being proactive goes a long way in helping to manage your anxiety.” Physical symptoms are just one sign of anxiety, however.

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