Small ways you can help manage feelings of anxiety
Living with anxiety can be difficult, but there are steps you can make that may help.
Note: It’s important to seek help if you need it. You can contact Samaritans for free by calling 116 123 or by visiting their website. Also, NHS 111 can tell you the right place to get help if you need to see someone. Go to NHS 111 online or call 111.
Exercise can be hugely beneficial for our mental health as it releases endorphins, helping us to feel good. Many people also find it useful as it occupies their time when they may be having anxious thoughts. You could try a local route to get some fresh air and help clear your mind.
There are many easy ways you can incorporate activity into your daily life. Whether you’re doing star jumps and stretches whilst the kettle is boiling, or trying out a new hobby such as jogging, it all counts.
Another free and convenient way to get moving is getting active at home. Check out our activity finder where you can find a variety of videos and tutorials.
Mind also has some suggestions on other ways to get active at home, such as putting on a music playlist and having a dance around.
Get out in nature
Spending time around nature benefits us both physically and mentally. Getting outdoors and being around greenery naturally helps to calm your mind, as well as giving you fresh air at the same time.
Why not try a new route or nature spot? In one study, 70% of UK adults agreed that being close to nature improves their mood.
Spending time around animals is also a great mood-lifter. If you don’t have a pet, you could try offering to walk a friend’s dog, or joining them on a walk.
Read more about how nature can benefit your mental health.
Focus on your breathing
Mental Health Foundation suggest a breathing technique to help. When you’re having anxious thoughts try focusing on your breathing, concentrating on the feeling of your body as you breathe in and out.
4-7-8 breathing technique:
Close your mouth and quietly breath in through your nose, counting to four in your head. Hold your breath and count to seven. Breathe out through your mouth, making a whoosh sound while counting to eight. Repeat three more times for a total of four breath cycles.
Learn to relax
As well as using breathing techniques, there are many other ways you can help yourself to relax.
Practising mindfulness can help you manage your thoughts, feelings and mental health. Mindfulness exercises are ways of paying attention to the present moment using techniques like meditation, breathing, and yoga.
Pilates is a brilliant way to get active whilst taking it slow and feeling relaxed.
The NHS has a useful audio guide where a doctor explains how you can take control of anxiety.
Keep a diary or journal
It’s important that we don’t try to ignore our worries. Writing down or drawing what’s happening in your life and how it’s affecting you can help you understand what’s triggering your anxiety.
This can also help you better prepare for and manage situations that may cause feelings of anxiety.
Join a support group
Talking with or spending time with people who are experiencing similar feelings to you can be helpful.
You can find details of support groups, forums and helplines on the Anxiety Care UK, Anxiety UK, No More Panic, No Panic and Triumph Over Phobia UK websites.
You could also join Side by Side, Mind’s supportive online community.
If you’re looking for a support group near you, contact Mind’s Infoline. Alternatively you could find your local Mind and contact them directly.
For more advice on dealing with anxiety, please see the below links:
Mental Health UK
Mental Health Foundation