Coping with anxiety

Ways to deal with anxiety: learn tips and coping skills.

What is anxiety?

The NHS describes anxiety as ‘a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe’. 
Most people will have experienced feeling anxious about an interview or medical check up. But if you're feeling anxious a lot, and are struggling to control your thoughts and worries, it can affect your daily life and make you ill.

Speak to your doctor or contact NHS 111 if your anxiety is taking over. Talking to family and friends can help too.


Dealing with anxiety

Complete these activities and exercises to understand more about anxiety and make a self-care plan.

Get to know your own anxiety 

You may experience anxiety in the following ways:

  • a pounding heart or churning stomach
  • breathlessness
  • worries whirring round in your head
  • burnout (mental and physical exhaustion).

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

Mark where you feel anxious or worried. Knowing where anxiety affects you will help you recognise it.

Making a self-care action plan

Answer the following questions so that you can make a plan:

  • What are my signs of burnout?
  • What are my stress relievers?
  • Who can I contact for support?
  • How do I know when I'm becoming anxious?

Use this plan whenever you feel anxious or burnt out, and to recognise your signs so you can be ready to take action.

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

Manage your worries

Try a meditative exercise. This one's called 'managing your worries'.

Grounding yourself to reduce worry

'Grounding' yourself by focusing on the things that are physically around you, can bring you back to the present moment. 

Joining a group

Look for clubs or groups where you can discuss your feelings and grow more confident through taking part in or leading activities with others.

It's important to connect with and talk to other people when you are feeling worried. 

You can also call our support line on 0808 196 3651.

Listen to Paul's story below to learn his tips on coping with anxiety.

Connecting with others helped me feel better and let me focus on personal goals

  • How does Paul's story make you feel?
  • Which of Paul's ideas could you try?  Can you discuss his ideas with someone?
  • Paul mentioned making the bed every day. Why might a routine help when you're feeling anxious?  
  • Connecting with others helped Paul feel better and focus on personal goals. How could personal goals help you cope?

Making decisions confidently

Sometimes it can be difficult making decisions and that can make us anxious. From something small, like which present to buy, to important decisions such as moving house or changing job, this can be hard.
Watch this video to gain ideas you can use to make this easier.

You will:

  • consider ideas and strategies to help you make decisions with confidence
  • reflect on how you can use this method in the future
  • be able to use the method to be better at planning.

When you have watched the film, think about how you can use its ideas.

  • What decisions you have made that are you most happy about? What process did you use to make your choices? How can those experiences help you in the future?
  • Which upcoming decisions can you use this method with?
  • What will you do differently now?