If you have generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), there are many ways to help ease the symptoms of anxiety yourself.
Try a book or online course
There are lots of books and courses that can help you learn to cope with your anxiety.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) only recommends trying treatments based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
CBT is a type of psychological treatment that can help you manage your anxiety by changing negative or unhelpful thoughts and behaviour.
Regular exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, may help you combat stress and release tension.
It also encourages your brain to release serotonin, which can improve your mood.
Examples of good aerobic exercises include:
- walking fast or jogging
- football or rugby
You should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week.
Moderate-intensity exercise should raise your heart rate and make you breathe faster.
Read more information and advice about:
Learn to relax
As well as regular exercise, learning how to relax is important.
You can also try this 5-minute audio guide to dealing with anxiety.
Drinking too much caffeine can make you more anxious than normal. This is because caffeine can disrupt your sleep and also speed up your heartbeat.
If you're tired, you're less likely to be able to control your anxious feelings.
Avoiding drinks containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, fizzy drinks and energy drinks, may help reduce your anxiety levels.
Avoid smoking and drinking
Smoking and alcohol have been shown to make anxiety worse. Only drinking alcohol in moderation or stopping smoking may help reduce your anxiety.
To reduce the risk of harming your health:
- men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
- spread your drinking over 3 days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week
Fourteen units is equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.
Contact support groups
Support groups can give you advice on how to manage your anxiety.
They're also a good way to meet other people with similar experiences.
Examples of support groups you may find useful include:
Support groups can often arrange face-to-face meetings, where you can talk about your difficulties and problems with other people.
Many support groups also provide support and guidance over the phone or in writing.
Ask your GP about local support groups for anxiety in your area, or search online for mental health information and support services near you.
Page last reviewed: 19 December 2018
Next review due: 19 December 2021