Anxiety management strategies

There are many strategies that can be used for managing anxiety. Guided meditation, positive affirmations or lifestyle changes are just a few things you can try.

The best coping strategy for anxiety will be different for each person. We’ve put together 10 strategies you can try to see if they work for you.

If you need extra support to manage your anxiety, we can help you get support for your mental health

Slow breathing

When you’re anxious, your breathing becomes faster and shallower. Try this exercise to slow down your breathing:

  • Count to three as you breathe in slowly.
  • Count to three as you breathe out slowly.

Progressive muscle relaxation

This exercise can help reduce the feelings of muscle tension that often comes with anxiety:

  • Find a quiet location.
  • Close your eyes and slowly tense and then relax each of your muscle groups from your toes to your head.
  • Hold the tension for three seconds and then release quickly.

Stay in the present moment

Anxiety can make your thoughts live in a terrible future that hasn’t happened yet. Try to bring yourself back to where you are. Practising meditation can help.

Find more relaxation exercises

Maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce anxiety

A healthy lifestyle can help reduce anxiety and improve your wellbeing. Healthy habits include:

  • Keeping active
  • Eating well
  • Spending time outdoors in nature
  • Spending time with family and friends
  • Reducing stress
  • Doing activities you enjoy.   

Learn more about how a healthy lifestyle can help you stay mentally well.

Small acts of bravery

Try doing something that makes you anxious, even in a small way. For example, if public speaking makes you anxious, put together a small presentation for your friends or family.

Success with small acts of bravery can help you manage your anxious feelings for bigger acts of bravery.

Avoiding anxiety triggers can make you feel better in the short term, but it can make you more anxious in the long term.

Challenge your self-talk

What you think affects how you feel. To change your thinking: 

  • find new, positive ways to look at a situation that’s making you anxious
  • look at the facts – is your thought true?

Anxiety can make you overestimate the danger in a situation and underestimate your ability to handle it.

Be kind to yourself

Practising self-compassion can help reduce your anxiety. We all deserve to be nurtured, even by ourselves.

Find out how to develop a stay well plan.

Plan worry time

It’s hard to stop worrying entirely so try planning regular worry time. This can help to stop your worries from taking over at other times.

Set aside 10 minutes each day to think about your anxieties or write them down.

Get to know your anxiety

Keep a diary of when you feel calm or anxious. Try to identify what works to reduce your anxiety and what makes it worse. This can help you manage your anxiety.

Learn about anxiety symptoms and treatments.

Connect with our online peer support community 

Anonymously read, share and learn from people who are also living with anxiety.

The Beyond Blue Forums is a welcoming peer support community.

Visit the Beyond Blue Forum anxiety discussions

Journey to recovery - personal stories

If you have an anxiety condition, you’re not alone. 

Learn what anxiety feels like and how it can be managed.

Read and watch more personal stories about anxiety

I used to run from my anxiety, today I run with it – Catriona’s story

Catriona Bisset is an Olympian and the Australian record holder over 800m. But for a decade, she left the sport she loved.

"I came because I didn't want to die" – Jake’s story of anxiety, depression and therapy

From a place of hopelessness, Jake has come to accept that he's worth recovering for.