Anxiety Help & Self-Help Options

Micah Abraham, BSc

Written by

Micah Abraham, BSc

Last updated October 10, 2020

Anxiety Help & Self-Help Options

You need help with anxiety. You want something that can cure your anxiety forever right now. You want a magic formula that you can slip into a drink and relax knowing you’ll never experience anxiety again.

The reality is that anxiety is a survival mechanism. Without it, you would skydive off of airplanes without a parachute. You would take a water balloon to a gunfight. You would drive 100 miles per hour in a school zone, and you would tell your boss how you really feel about them, daily.

You need anxiety, because you need your “fight or flight” response. You need to be able to know when you’re encountering a genuinely fearful situation, and you need your body to be ready to react to save your life. That’s what anxiety does for you.

What you DON’T need is:

  • To feel nervous when you’re sitting home alone.
  • To feel panic when your heartbeat speeds up.
  • To feel worried that something terrible is about to happen.

You need anxiety. You don’t need an anxiety disorder. That’s why even if there was a magical pill that cured your anxiety forever, it would be dangerous to take it. What you need is to learn the skills necessary to stop experiencing unnecessary anxiety and stress when there is nothing wrong.

Therapy and medicine are effective options. But self-help can be effective as well. In this guide, we’ll explore the self-help options that are available for anxiety. We also recommend bookmarking this link, as we may add to it in the future.

WARNING: Making Smart Decisions

Note:Please read our article on placebo treatments. It is important.

First and foremost, don’t let your anxiety cause you to make poor decisions about anxiety treatments. The reality is that most “rapid” treatments don’t work. You’ll find many people that claim that they have an extract or a medicine that can cure your anxiety immediately, and unfortunately it’s never the case - it’s people taking advantage of you in your time of need, and hoping the placebo effect will be enough to cure your anxiety.

Even prescription medications have a “false” component. Prescription medicines can give you some help with anxiety, but that help is only temporary, and your mind and body can actually become dependent on these medications. As soon as you stop taking them, your anxiety may not only come back - it could even be worse than before.

Curing your anxiety is a process - it’s a process that can happen, for everyone, but those that hope they can get instant anxiety help are going to be disappointed, and possibly taken advantage of.

Read More:

Can’t Take it Anymore?

Setting Up a Long Term Plan - Making Realistic Goals

It’s possible to reduce your anxiety every day. There are countless tips to learn to manage it. But you need to do two things:

  • You need to make sure that you’re giving yourself realistic goals.
  • You need to make it a long term plan.

You can get anxiety help now - help that will genuinely reduce your experience with anxiety. But it will only reduce it so much. You’ll still need to keep at it, and commit to it in a way that will guarantee short and long term results.

Realistic goals will ensure that you don’t give up. You’re bound to have setbacks, because life isn’t stress free. A long term plan will also make sure that you keep at it - you’ll not only have something to do next, you’ll also know what to do next.

Short Term Self Help Solutions for Anxiety

Anxiety takes years to form. It will not go away overnight. But there are many very simple, very easy to implement strategies that can help you start making progress on your anxiety. For example:

Start Jogging

Jogging isn’t just for your health. Jogging releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that improve mood. It also tires muscles, and there is evidence that extra energy in muscles becomes converted to a feeling of anxiety. All forms of exercise, especially aerobic exercise, can have a powerful effect on your ability to manage the severity of your anxiety symptoms.

Read more about exercise and anxiety.

Sleep Better

Getting more sleep will fight anxiety right away. Far too many people are allowing themselves to be sleep deprived, but sleep is one of the most important and easy tools your mind has for coping with stress. The more you sleep, the better you feel, and the more you’ll have the mental energy to cope with some of the stresses of the day. It may not cure anxiety, but it can help make it more manageable.

Read more about how to stop anxiety when you are falling asleep.

Read more about how sleep debt can cause anxiety.

Research Anxiety

The more you understand anxiety, the easier it is to fight it. Did you know that anxiety can cause a feeling of having swollen lymph nodes? Did you know that there is some evidence that anxiety can lead to a rash? The more you know about anxiety and its symptoms, the easier it is to learn to control.

Use our search feature on the top right to learn more about your individual symptoms.

Try Eliminating Stimulants

There is some evidence that coffee can increase feelings of positive mood. But too much coffee, or any of the many other stimulants (nicotine, chocolate/sugar, etc.) can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. For those with health anxiety and panic attacks, even a small amount of coffee can have a negative effect. You can try eliminating stimulants – especially smoking – and you may find once the withdrawal period is over, some of your anxiety improves.

Read more about eliminating stimulants to cure anxiety.

Start an Anti-Anxiety Diet

Can you cure anxiety with food? Not easily. But what you eat does have an effect on how you feel. Part of any anxiety self-help program is going to be about making sure that the right nutrients get inside of your body, and the wrong nutrients are avoided. You may not cure your anxiety with an anti-anxiety diet, but you can make it easier to manage.

Read more about how to create an anti-anxiety diet.

Choose Your Friends

It’s time to also consider who is around you. Surround yourself with people that are a good influence on your life and your happiness. Spend time with people that make your life better, and consider learning to phase out the people that bring stress into your life. Sometimes, even the friendships we love can be damaging to our mental health.

Long Term Anxiety Help Solutions

The above list will help you start reducing your anxiety quickly. But none of them are that complicated, nor are they necessarily long term anxiety self-help solutions. Those tips are there to help make managing your anxiety easier, because if your anxiety isn’t as severe (even if you still have anxiety) then it is often easier to control.

But what about techniques that work in the long term?

Breathing Training

Many anxiety symptoms, particularly for those with anxiety attacks, are a result of inadequate breathing techniques. Anxiety can actually train your body to breathe poorly, leading to hyperventilation, which is responsible for many of the worst anxiety symptoms – especially if you also have panic attacks.

There are several breathing and relaxation strategies that can help you reduce your overall stress levels, and prevent/control hyperventilation.

Read more about breathing exercises that can help with anxiety.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques are often misunderstood. They are not necessarily an anxiety cure the way other anxiety help sites make them sound. But what they are is a way to calm yourself during anxious situations so that the anxiety is not as extreme or debilitating. As we mentioned earlier, the more you can control the severity of your anxiety, the easier anxiety is to control. That’s where relaxation techniques and strategies can be valuable.

Read more about relaxation techniques for anxiety.

Read more about visualization – a specific relaxation strategy.

  • Exposure Therapy

Exposure is a cognitive behavioral technique that trains you to get used to things that used to cause you anxiety. It is also one of the few CBT techniques that can also be completed as self-help. Exposure therapy is designed to reduce anxiety from anxiety triggers. For example, if you often get anxiety when you feel dizzy, you spin around in a chair and use a variety of techniques to calm your mind.

Read more about exposure therapy self help techniques for anxiety.

Read more about desensitization for anxiety (similar topic).

At Home Cognitive Techniques

Exposure therapy is a bit more of the behavioral portion of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. There are also some cognitive techniques that work as well, that are about teaching you how to reframe your thoughts into ones that are less anxiety inducing. These are sometimes helpful to do with a therapist, but may be done as a self help technique as well.

Read more about the at home cognitive techniques for anxiety.

Avoiding Destructive Habits

There are habits that can cause you to experience more anxiety. Avoidance is one habit. When you have anxiety and you quickly avoid the situation, it can cause your brain to associate the situation with more anxiety, due to a scientific term known as Negative Reinforcement.

We touched upon some of these destructive habits earlier, which include stimulants and inactivity, but understanding and knowing more about habits that increase anxiety is important if you want the anxiety to go away.

Read more about destructive habits to avoid.

Improve Your Internal Dialogue

Anxiety can have both physical and mental symptoms. It can also be linked to depression. Those with a variety of mental symptoms, or those that also struggle with depression, often find that they have developed a negative internal dialogue. Learning to change and control that dialogue can be a powerful way to keep anxious thoughts from overwhelming you.

Read more about how to improve your internal dialogue.

Read more about positive self talk through panic attacks.

Read more about affirmations that help reduce anxiety.

Floating Through Anxiety

There is a strategy known as the Claire Weekes technique that provides an interesting mental approach to overcoming anxiety. Rather than fight anxiety and try your best to control it, you simply learn to accept it in a way that is calming. “If you can’t beat it, join it.”

Read more about the Claire Weekes’ self help technique.

Other Anxiety Management and Anxiety Coping Strategies

We mentioned earlier that learning more about anxiety can have real power. So it’s important to continue to research anxiety and do your best to learn how to understand it better.

But there are other strategies you may want to consider, including:

  • Do Nothing – Fighting anxiety may be responsible for increasing anxiety symptoms. Those that have accepted panic attacks, do nothing, and simply move on with their lives anyway have been found to get better control over their anxiety. It is something that may be worth considering.
  • Yoga/Meditation – Many find that yoga and meditation have both a relaxation component and a spiritual component that make them useful for long term anxiety control.
  • Journaling – The mind hates forgetting. Some people find that they experience persistent, stressful thoughts, especially before bed, and it may be due to your brain trying your best to remember the thoughts that you are trying to avoid. Writing your thoughts in journals may then be relaxing, because it tells your mind “You don’t have to try to remember this anymore – it will always be right here.”
  • Distractions – Distracting yourself from your anxiety with positive sounds and imagery is important. Some people find that listening to podcasts, spending time with friends, and avoiding moments of lonely silence can all distract themselves from their anxiety enough to help them control it.
  • Creating Memories – Similarly, an interesting self help strategy for anxiety is the idea of creating memories. Many people with anxiety close themselves off as a result of their symptoms. But this can be a problem, because when all you do is live with anxiety, you have nothing else to think about. If you can challenge yourself to get out there and do new things anyway, you’ll have other things on your mind rather than weeks of anxiety.

You’ll also need to be okay with admitting to yourself that you have an anxiety problem that needs to be solved, and you have to recognize that you CAN solve it.

This is important. Many people with anxiety suffer from two problems:

  • They fight the idea that they need to treat their anxiety.
  • They give up and believe their anxiety cannot be treated.

Both of these are problematic. You have to be willing to commit to anxiety help if you want it to work, and not simply try something fast and hope that it magically goes away. You also can’t give up. Not everyone responds to the same type of treatment. It is very important to explore all of your options, and commit to treatments that may work.

Anxiety Help is Possible

It is absolutely possible to cure anxiety from home. You will need to explore the available strategies, commit to the self-help techniques that you have learned, and accept that their will be setbacks.

However, don’t be afraid to get help, either. There is nothing wrong with seeking out a therapist or counselor in order to improve your anxiety, just as there is nothing wrong with taking a medication. Find a way to get the anxiety help you need, no matter where it comes from, and keep focusing on ways to control your anxiety symptoms.

Questions? Comments?

Do you have a specific question that this article didn’t answered? Send us a message and we’ll answer it for you!

Ask Doctor a Question


Where can I go to learn more about Jacobson’s relaxation technique and other similar methods?

– Anonymous patient


You can ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or other mental health professional who uses relaxation techniques to help patients. Not all psychologists or other mental health professionals are knowledgeable about these techniques, though. Therapists often add their own “twist” to the technqiues. Training varies by the type of technique that they use. Some people also buy CDs and DVDs on progressive muscle relaxation and allow the audio to guide them through the process.

Ask Doctor a Question

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