17 Real-Life Techniques For Dealing With Anxiety Right Now (That Actually Help!)

Focus on yourself with no guilt.

Last updated on Apr 17, 2023

anxious woman doing breathing technique PeopleImages.com - Yuri A / Shutterstock

Experiencing anxiety is no fun, and trying to explain what you’re feeling to another person is almost impossible. No person can fully understand what is going on inside you.

You might even feel shame about the anxiety you’re experiencing and ask yourself, what is wrong with me? The guilt causes you to feel worse.

The good news is that there is nothing wrong with you. The healing process is all about learning to love yourself, even with all your imperfections.


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Here are 17 real-life ways for dealing with anxiety:

1. Try breathing exercises

Here is a simple breathing exercise you can do to relax: Sit down with both feet firmly on the ground. Close your eyes, and, take slow deep breaths in and out.


Imagine the breath expanding into your whole body. Then, when you breathe out, notice the energy moving back down your body into the ground. Notice how you feel after you have done this for a few minutes.

2. Give meditation a try

There are many ways to meditate, so you need to find one that works best for you. I prefer a method called "centering prayer." After a few moments of silence, choose a focus word that you will use during your meditation. 

Find a space where no one is going to bother you and sit quietly for five minutes. The goal is not to empty your mind. Rather, your intention is not to get caught in your thoughts. When you start to focus on something, go back to your focus word.

Over time, you can add a few more minutes until you reach the ideal amount of meditation time that works for you. (If you like using phone apps,  I use one called Insight Timer that helps me set my meditation time.)


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3. Go for a walk

Walking is a great way to calm the mind. Ideally find a quiet, safe place to walk where you do not need to worry about heavy traffic.

If you set the intention, you can turn your walk time into meditation. Try listening to music that calms you as you walk.

Pay attention to your surroundings with your body, heart, and mind. Keep your head up and notice the beauty and wonder of your surroundings even if you are in an urban environment.

Running is a great way to feel the endorphins in your body and helps you let go of any tension in your body. It quiets the mind as you focus more on your body and surroundings. Your worries will begin to disappear.


4. Make something creative

It doesn’t matter what you make. You could make something with your hands such as pottery, paint or draw. The creative act helps you to rise above all your worries.

Whatever you create can be a powerful reminder of the peace that is available to you every day.

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5. Do some gardening

Gardening is therapeutic for many people. If you love to garden get out there every spring to weave some magic. Gardening can help you to get in touch with the simplicity of life.

Your mind quiets down because gardening helps you to focus on the creative forces of life, such as the soil, the seeds, and what it takes to nurture a garden.


6. Listen to classical music

Classical music has a way of helping the mind relax. Find a quiet place or use your headset to surround yourself with this beautiful music. This works especially well before bed to help you fall asleep.

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7. Read a good book

A good book can take your mind off all your worries by bringing you into another world. Sometimes, even reading old favorites can be comforting.

8. Talk with a close friend

Chatting with a great friend can make all the difference in the world. Someone giving us their full attention can help us to put our lives in perspective. Just being able to speak out loud about what is going on in our minds can help us to let go of all those worries.


9. Watch your favorite movie

Do you have a film that always makes you cry? Watching a favorite movie that helps you get in touch with your emotions can be cathartic! Especially the movies we have watched over and over. They are great because there are no surprises.

Movies also take you into another world in a different time and place and give you a break from the regular ups and downs of life. A great film can help give you some perspective on your own life, too. For example, you may realize that you have it good as compared to the characters in the movie, or you might relate to the characters in a way that gives you courage.

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10. Connect with your pet

Dogs and cats are great at giving unconditional love. You might try talking to your dog or cat, because at some level, they understand you and know when you are hurting. A cat might spend more time on your lap, or your dog may keep coming by to check on you and want to cuddle you.


Not only can you pet bring a smile to your face when you're down, but they have a special way of making you feel like the most special person in the world.

11. Focus on what you are grateful for

Have you ever made a gratitude list? You might want to write in your journal every day whatever you are thankful for. It can be simple things such as food, friends or sunshine. Tuning into the things you're grateful for can help give you a better perspective and see the bigger picture when you're feeling worried or anxious.

12. Move your body and dance

Put on your favorite music and dance around the house. After all, movement gets your endorphins going, so find some way to let your body groove! It can be freestyle, two-step, circle dancing, tap dancing, ballet, or square dancing. Try whatever is appealing to you. This is not about perfection. It is about self-expression.

13. Take a long, hot bath

A nice, relaxing bath with bubbles can help you unwind and enjoy the feeling of being in your fantastic body. Add to the ambiance of your bath with candles, essential oils, relaxing music and a cup of herbal tea, and remind yourself that you are worth it.


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14. Eat healthy foods

Watch what you eat and drink when you're feeling anxious. You will feel better by eating a balanced, nutritious diet of vegetables, rice, potatoes, fish, meat, and fruit.

And avoid having too much caffeine or sugar (especially at night), since these ingredients can cause your body to be more agitated.

Ultimately, remember to listen to your body. It will tell you what it likes — all you need to do is pay attention.

15. Name what you are afraid of

Shining a light on what you are scared of can be healing. You might want to journal on a regular basis about the things you fear.


Then, you can assess if your worries are really as dangerous as your mind wants you to think. Often, you will find that they’re not.

If you are still feeling worried, say your fears out loud. This technique can help you let them go. You could even tell a trusted friend. Often, when you don’t feel alone in something, the world doesn’t feel like such a scary place.

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16. Give yourself a hug

I want you to drop everything you are doing right now, and give yourself a big hug! It really does make a difference.

How does that feel? Maybe a little awkward? With practice, it will get more natural and more comfortable. It's a simple thing you can do at any place and any time to reduce your anxiety immediately

17. Do something special for yourself

You should always be kind and gentle with yourself. But when you are feeling anxious, it’s all too easy to get more and more down with yourself. Being kind to yourself can help you to find your equilibrium again.

What do you love to do? Is it time for you to have a meal out with a close friend or family member? Is it time for you to go see a play or concert?


You are the only person who knows what you need to do. Discern what that is, and then make it happen.

This is not an excuse to waste a lot of money, but it is time for you to acknowledge your own self-worth. In the end, it is about giving yourself permission to do something that will lift your spirits.

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Roland Legge is an author, Certified Spiritual Life Coach, and teacher of the Enneagram. He helps people connect to their inner selves and find alignment with their highest purpose and values.