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22 Therapist-Approved Tips Every Anxious Person Needs To Hear

Just think of your anxiety as that one friend who's also a HUGE DRAMA QUEEN.

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We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to share the most mind-blowing thing a therapist has ever told them.

Here are some of the words of wisdom readers seeking therapy for help with anxiety shared. (And remember, these tips aren't replacements for going to therapy for yourself — they're just pieces of advice that some people found helpful, and you might too.)

1. Give yourself permission to leave situations and take a breather.

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"After figuring out I had low-level social anxiety, I expressed jealousy towards smokers because they had an excuse to leave parties for a few minutes. She asked why I couldn't leave parties to chill outside for a couple minutes then come back. It was simple but it changed social situations for me."

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2. When anxiety starts setting in, write down full names.

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"It doesn't matter whose names, just start writing down random full names. It serves as a distraction when anxiety starts to take over. Once you start jotting down names like 'John Doe' or 'Eugene Lee Yang' and get into the groove of just making names up or listing the names of people you know, you'll be able to calm down or release the tension you feel, especially if you apply a lot of pressure to your pen or pencil."

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3. If anxiety keeps you up at night, get out of bed so you don't come to associate those feelings with a space meant for sleep.

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"I have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) that gets really bad at night. When I was younger my therapist told me to reserve my bed solely for sleep. When you have anxiety, get out of bed until you've distanced yourself from it enough to sleep."

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4. Don't try to fight irrational anxious feelings — acknowledge them and know that it's okay to feel that way.

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"I was having problems with anxiety and getting frustrated that I had issues doing simple things. My therapist told me that sometimes you will have anxiety about things that you know are ridiculous to be anxious about. Don't fight it or tell yourself that you shouldn't be anxious; that makes things worst. Acknowledge your anxious feelings and know that it's okay you are feeling this way. And always remember it is not your fault!"

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5. Or, if it works better for you, debate with your anxiety and come up with logical arguments against your fears.

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"I'm a very anxious person and tend to freak out about bears, killers, etc. I'm also a very intelligent person who's on a debate team. My therapist taught me to argue with myself and come up with logical arguments against my fears. It's helped end many panic attacks."

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6. Instead of inhaling and exhaling deeply during anxiety attacks, try breathing to the rhythm of nursery rhymes.

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"It's so much more helpful. Sometimes, deep inhales and exhales don't work so well with anxiety because people do hyperventilate when they suffer from this."

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7. Ground yourself by making obvious observations about the world around you.

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"Saying things like, 'That car is blue' or 'Today is a Tuesday,' really help you to ground yourself by concentrating on things besides your anxiety."

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8. Or use the 3-3-6 technique, where you breathe in for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, the let it out for 6 seconds.

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"She taught me the easiest breathing technique for when my anxiety becomes too much for me to function. It's perfect to reset and refocus and discreet enough that no one notices. Best tool ever."

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9. Make to-do lists to make the overwhelming feel more manageable.

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"When I start to have anxiety about everything I have to get done, and can feel an attack coming on, make a list of everything that needs to get done. It feels like you have a million things to do, but when you make your list, it's not as many as you think it is."

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10. Walk yourself through all the worst-case scenarios that make you anxious.

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"The best and scariest advice I ever got from my therapist was to think all the way through what you're scared of. Like I have anxiety and for a while I was afraid I would die if I fell asleep. My therapist asked me what would happen if I did. How would my family, my friends react? After that she always asked me to think everything through. It wasn't always a comforting thought but it helped me to calm down and realize not everything is in my control.

She also told me, when I was scared of dying in my sleep, that if something was going to happen, it would, and what would I do about it then? So I may as well sleep. Both helped me a lot with managing my anxiety day to day."

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11. Give yourself a set amount of time to be as anxious and worried as you want — then force yourself to stop and move on.

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"I had a ton of anxiety about the election and graduating high school, and my therapist gave me some advice on how to deal with it. Give yourself one minute to think about everything that could go wrong, what ifs, worst-case scenarios, stuff like that, and then stop and move on no more thinking about it. It actually works."

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12. Challenge yourself to do the things your anxiety tells you not to.

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"Don't ever not do something because of your anxiety. For example: if you're about to go out and your anxiety makes you feel like staying in, GO OUT! Don't let it win over you!"

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13. If you get anxious about being watched or judged, take time to observe how often other people actually pay attention to what you're doing.

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"I struggle with anxiety of how others see me. When I walk into a room, I feel like everyone is looking at me. My therapist and I did an experiment where we went to the mall and stared at everyone who walked by to see if people really cared as much as I thought. She also said that just as much as you think about yourself and your insecurities, others think about themselves. So how do they have the time to judge you? This made me way less anxious and I was finally able to leave my house and go back to school after months of staying home. High school can be brutal."

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14. Try to think of your anxiety like an (admittedly overdramatic) ally that helps keep you alive.

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"When I told my therapist that I hate my anxiety/fear, she said that it's what keeps me alive. Without it, I would probably be dead. Everyone has fears or anxiety, but mine tend to be a tad bit more dramatic than the usual, and maybe at some point I'll come to accept it as my friend, not my enemy. My anxiety is just a big drama queen and that's okay."

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15. Give as much time to best-case scenarios as you do to worst-case scenarios.

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"My imagination runs amok with possible threats leaving me a panicked mess. My therapist gave me the tip to think about best-case scenarios as much as worst-case ones, like me going to the store and coming back safely, versus me going to the store and getting into an accident or someone trying to hurt me. It's helped deal with negative thoughts a lot."

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16. Remind yourself that a panic attack won't kill you.

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"This is so dumb, but it has helped. Mine told me to remind myself that, during a panic attack, I won't die or be hurt/harmed after. Obviously I know that, but it's not what it feels like. That helps me avoid making the attack worse than it is."

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17. Find your own version of the old "picture everyone in their underwear" trick that makes you laugh.

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"I used to have very high anxiety and one of my constant worries was that others were judging my every move. My therapist told me to visualize everyone with a crown on their head and as I walked by to just knock them off. My self-esteem and anxiety was greatly improved just by visualizing myself running around knocking crowns off of people's head. Sometimes it's the little things that help."

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18. Try the TIPPs technique.

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"It is an instant relaxation technique for anxiety and can help me prevent my panic attacks. TIPPs is an acronym for:

—Temperature. Hold an ice pack directly under your eyes or dip your face in a sink of water. This helps slow your heart rate.

—Intense exercise. This is great for when your emotions are on a high and you need to release stress.

—Paced breathing. This is my favorite to use: breathe in for four seconds, hold for five, breathe out for six.

—Progressive muscle relaxation. Tense a muscle for 10 seconds and then release. Move from head to toe."

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19. Reframe your anxiety by telling yourself that whatever is making you anxious is actually something to be excited about.

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"My therapist told me that anxiety feels and manifests itself in the body very similarly to excitement. She suggested I reframe my anxiety by telling myself that whatever is making me anxious is actually something I'm excited about. It's really been incredibly helpful."

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20. Worry about things one hour at a time.

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"I have GAD and a big problem with stressing myself out about things I don't need to worry about yet. My therapist told me to take it one hour at a time. So when I'm at school, I only worry about things that are happening within the next hour. This way I don't spend all day worrying about something due in five hours. Outside of school I do the same thing, one hour at a time. But it applies to things like showering; if I want to shower now, I do, without worrying about if it would be better to shower in two hours or tomorrow morning. This all just helps me stay focused on the present and reduces my stress."

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21. Start an "anxiety drawing" you add to little by little every time you feel anxious.

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"Here is one of them. It's not that great, but since I'm anxious every second of the day, I keep adding to it."

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22. Put together an anxiety box for when you need help coping.

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"It's full of soft things, creative things, squishy things, things that smell nice, things that make me smile, and things reminding me to use self-care. I'm only allowed to use it if I have anxiety. I decorated the outside of it, and I love having it. My boyfriend of four years even made me a travel sized one, since I'm not home for a good amount of my panic attacks."

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Anna Borges is a health writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Anna Borges at anna.borges@buzzfeed.com.

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