8 ways to manage anxiety

8 steps you can take right now to feel better and manage your anxiety symptoms.

Jordan Freeman
4 min

Managing anxiety.

Anxiety is a normal response to stress. It's part of our fight-or-flight instinct, which helps keep us safe from danger. But it can also get out of hand, turning into a disorder that can seriously impact your life. If you suffer from anxiety, there are steps you can take right now to feel better and manage your symptoms. 

Step away from things that stress you out.

Some of us have a hard time understanding what makes us anxious, but it's important to be able to identify things that cause stress. If you try to avoid these situations and activities as much as possible, you're going to feel less stressed out overall. This can be very helpful in managing your anxiety and building confidence in yourself.

The first step is identifying the things that make you feel anxious and then finding ways around them or dealing with them in a more positive way. For example:

  • If I'm feeling especially stressed out at work, I take a break from my desk and go get some fresh air outside or go talk with someone else who's not overwhelmed by tasks like I am (or even just take care of some small tasks).

Know your limits.

  • Know your limits and don't overdo it. It's okay to say no, to take a break, or to ask for help when you need it.
  • Don't try to be perfect. It's important to understand that anxiety can make even the best of us feel like we're failing at life sometimes—but the truth is that everyone has off days, and everyone makes mistakes. Beating yourself up over it won't help you get through the day any faster, so finding ways to forgive yourself (and keep going) will help immensely!

Practise deep breathing exercises.

Deep breathing exercises are a simple way to calm your mind and body. When you inhale, breathe in through your nose for five seconds. Hold the breath for one more second, then exhale slowly through pursed lips. Do this exercise three times in order to feel relaxed.

Deep breathing exercises will help you relax by reducing blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety levels. They also increase oxygen levels in the brain which improves concentration and focus so that you can get more done at work or school!

Move more.

Getting out there and moving your body is one of the best ways to manage anxiety. Exercise helps reduce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that can contribute to feelings of anxiety. It also increases brain chemicals like endorphins (the same ones released when we feel happy) that make us feel less stressed and more relaxed. Regular exercise helps maintain healthy blood pressure, which is especially important if you have high blood pressure due to stress or anxiety.

Exercise doesn't have to mean going to the gym or running 5km—even walking around while talking on your phone counts! You can also try yoga or meditation classes, going for a walk with a friend (or by yourself), going for a bike ride and going for a swim at the beach or your local pool (especially during the warm Summer months). 

Stop criticising yourself.

When you criticise yourself, it can make you feel worse. You may think your critical thoughts are helping you by motivating you to change for the better, but in reality, all they’re doing is leading to more anxiety.

When we're worrying about something that hasn't even happened yet (or something we wish had never happened), it's easy to get lost in our thoughts and start beating ourselves up over how we handled things or what mistakes we made. When this happens, just remember: nobody is perfect! Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. It's important not to compare yourself with others; everyone has their own struggles and challenges which means nobody has all the answers or knows exactly what works best for themselves or other people. Just try your best and be kinder towards yourself while doing so!

Keep a gratitude journal.

Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to manage anxiety. Simply write down five things you are grateful for each day, and then read them when you're feeling anxious. If you're having trouble thinking of five things, start with just one positive thing from the day and build from there. You can also write about each one in detail if that helps you feel more connected to your gratitude. It can be beneficial to have this as a physical list or notebook so that it's easily accessible when needed but not taking up too much time or space on its own (a phone app or online form may be better).

Managing anxiety isn't easy, but some simple practices can help make it a little easier.

Managing anxiety isn't easy, but some simple practices can help make it a little easier.

  • Take a break from the situation
  • Don't try to fix it at that moment
  • Don't get angry about it
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Take time off if you need to

Seek professional help

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, it’s important to seek help. Your doctor can prescribe medication that can make you feel better and a psychologist can help you learn how to manage your symptoms. If your anxiety is interfering with daily life, consider seeing a counsellor who specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

If that isn't enough, talk to someone else about what's going on inside of you. A friend or family member might be able to provide the support and guidance needed for healing long-term.


Managing your anxiety isn't easy, but every step you take to recognise and manage your anxiety triggers is a step in the right direction. Remember you are not alone and there is always support when things get too overwhelming.

Article by

Jordan Freeman

Jordan is one of the founders of Ariel with a background in IT, disability, and human rights law.

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