Coping with anxiety

Tips and advice to deal with anxiety. Strategies to help you feel less lonely.

What is anxiety?

The NHS describes anxiety as ‘a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe’. 
Everybody feels anxious at times. It is normal to feel anxious about something like an interview or going to the doctors. 
However, some people have feelings of anxiety a lot of the time, and they can struggle to control their worries. This can affect their daily lives and lead to illness. 

Steps to take if you are anxious

Building your understanding of what anxiety is and making a self-care action plan will help. Below you'll find exercises to help you cope, and you can read about Paul, a man who has learned to manage his worries.

How does anxiety affect us? 

Anxiety can make us feel extremely nervous or worried, or lead to burnout.

It can also have physical effects on us such as butterflies in the stomach.  
Look at this image of a body.

What parts of your body (including your mind) are affected when you are worried or anxious?

Print or draw the picture. Colour in where you feel anxious or worried. 

Knowing where anxiety affects us means that we can know when we are starting to feel anxious and take steps to lessen that feeling.

Outline drawing of a human body

Making a plan

Here is a self-care action plan you might want to copy and use when you are feeling anxious or burnt out. It can also help you recognise the signs and be ready to take action in advance.

Burnout is when you feel that everything is getting too much for you and you can feel very tired.

How could using this plan help you to cope with anxiety or burnout and look after your body and mind better? 

Remember to talk to friends and family if you have worries, or to your GP if you feel that your worries are becoming overwhelming. 

Image of self-care plan template with following entries for My signs of burnout; My stress relievers; people I can reach out to for support; helpful reminders.
Managing your worries

Managing your worries

One method for reducing worries is keeping grounded. This means thinking about small things around us now rather than our problems. The diagram above is a way to help you do this.

How do you feel when you have worked your way through the list?

What will you do differently in the future when you feel worried? 

You can also join clubs or groups, where you can discuss your feelings and gain confidence through taking part or leading activities with others. It is important to connect with and talk to other people when you are worried. You can also call the British Red Cross support line on 0808 196 3651.

Listen to Paul's story, below, and learn his tips on how to cope with anxiety.

How reaching out started my voyage to recovery:  Paul's story

  • How does Paul's story make you feel?
  • Which of Paul's ideas could you try?  Who could you discuss his ideas with, including friends, family or outside organisations?
  • Paul mentioned making the bed every day. Why do you think keeping a routine can help when you are worried or anxious?  
  • Working with, and talking to, others has helped Paul feel better and helped him focus on personal goals. How might personal goals help with feelings of anxiety and loneliness?

More resources that can help you

The British Red Cross has created a range of resources for building confidence and connecting with others. You can find out more about the project, or click the links below to get started.

Make connections

Build coping skills