Caring for yourself when you have anxiety

A healthy lifestyle may help you feel better when you have anxiety.

  • Be kind to your body.
    • Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. Walking is a good choice.
    • Eat a healthy diet. Include fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains in your diet each day.
    • Get enough rest. Try to go to bed at the same time every night. Try for 8 hours of sleep.
    • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, marijuana, and illegal drugs. They can increase your anxiety and cause sleep problems.
  • Engage your mind.
    • Learn and do relaxation techniques. These may include guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation.
    • Get out and do something you enjoy. Go to a funny movie, or take a walk or hike.
  • Make a plan to handle worries.
    • Plan your day. Having too much or too little to do can make you anxious.
    • Go to your counseling sessions and follow-up appointments.
    • Recognize and accept your anxiety. Then, when you are in a situation that makes you anxious, say to yourself, 'This is not an emergency. I feel uncomfortable, but I am not in danger. I can keep going even if I feel anxious.'
    • Learn how to handle negative thoughts. Healthy thinking can help you prevent or control anxiety.
  • Find support.
    • Discuss your fears with a good friend or family member. Talking to others sometimes relieves stress.
    • Get involved in social groups, or volunteer to help others. Or join a support group. Being alone sometimes makes things seem worse than they are.
  • Talk to your doctor if your anxiety is getting in the way of work, relationships, or daily life.