Coping Techniques for Anxiety

      Here is a list of some things that you can try when you are getting really anxious, having a panic attack or even if you just need to calm down.

·         Describe the area you are in, in detail. (Pink walls, three purple chairs, 1 flat screen TV, etc…)

·         Play a categories game. (Types of cars; Honda, Jeep, etc.)

·         Describe an activity in detail with all the steps, like how to make a PB&J Sandwich. (Get the bread, open the bread, take out two slices of bread, etc…)

·         Keep repeating that you are safe. Say something like, “My name is Samantha, and I am safe right now. No one is going to hurt me. I am safe.” And say it over and over again.

·         Say the alphabet and count in between very S-L-O-W-L-Y. “A… 1… 2… 3… B… 1… 2… 3… C…”

·         Say a kind statement or affirmation. “I am a good person.” “I am worthy.”

·         Say the Serenity Prayer over and over again, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Or any other saying that you really like.

·         Remember a place that you felt safe and try to describe it to yourself.

·         Think of a relaxing place and describe it to yourself using your senses. As an example, think of a sunny deserted beach. Think of how the ocean would smell, the peace that you would have, the feel of the sun on your skin, or the ocean water creeping up your legs.

·         Saying a coping type statement like, “This will pass “or “I can handle this.”

·         Picture people you care about or love and describe what they look like to yourself. Imagine their voice saying kind things to you.

·         Run cool water over your hands.

·         Touch random objects that are around you and compare them. What is the weight difference? Color Difference? Width/length difference?

·         Carry a “grounding” object in your pocket and rub it whenever you feel anxious or need to ground yourself. Or you can also rub a necklace that you are wearing for the same affect and take notice to the feel of the object. If is rough or soft? Cold or warm?

·         Walk slowly noticing each footstep.

·         Stretch and focus on how your muscles and body feel with each movement.

·         Eat something and describe the flavoring and texture.

·         Focus on your breathing, saying to yourself, “Breathe in,” on each inhale and, “Breathe out,” on each exhale.

·         Mindfulness. Put some lotion on your hands and slowly rub it around but not all the way in. Think of your senses. How does it feel? How does it look? How does it smell? How do you think it would taste? When you rub it around, does it make a sound? You can do think with almost anything. All you have to do is apply your five senses.

·         Journal or write. Get your feelings out somehow. Holding your feelings in and stuffing them down is not good for you and can do more damage than good. Even if you only make a small list just naming your currents emotions, it is better than nothing.

·         Talk to a trusted friend of family member. Don’t talk to anyone that you think will judge you or your emotions because, honestly, who needs that when you’re not feeling well.

·         Distractions. Try anything that may distract you. Try, TV, movies, music, reading, surfing the web, social media, literally anything!

·         Go far walk or exercise.  Something physical that will help you get your mind off of what you are feeling emotional. Even some light stretching can help.

·         Cuddle with a pet! Pets have been shown to help improve mood and mental health.

·         Look up jokes. Anything that will make you laugh can’t be bad for you.

·         Look for support sites such as; ; ; and so on

·         Write a gratitude list which is anything that you are grateful for. I know that it is hard to find things that you are grateful for when you are not feeling well so you can keep it simple. Aren’t you grateful you can see? Or hear? Or read? Or pick your nose? Whatever you would like to add, add it!

·         Deep breathing.

·         Progressive Muscle Relaxation.

·         Create a list of at least 3-5 positive quotes and keep them on you. You can put the list in your wallet or purse and anytime you start to get stressed out read the list over and over again to help keep yourself calm. One of the quotes on my list is, “Don’t worry, be happy!”


This is only a list of some things to try. If none of these work for you try searching for different coping techniques. What works for one person might not work for someone else, and what works for you one day might also not work for you the next.

Coping techniques are something that needs to be practiced regularly and not just in the moment. The more you practice them the more effect they are when you need them the most.


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