5 Ways To Deal With Anxiety

Ah, anxiety. Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the US, affecting over 40 million American adults? That’s just regarding clinical anxiety—so many of us deal with anxiety on a day to day basis, myself included. 

Sometimes I wake up with it. Sometimes it randomly hits me in the day. Sometimes it’s a byproduct of stress. A lot of times, I don’t know why I feel anxious nor how to stop it.

Or at least, I didn’t. Over the years, I’ve found a couple of things that can help bring me back down to Earth once I feel the anxiety start to creep in. With the impending uncertainty of the future of our nation as well as finals season getting closer and closer, I think now is the perfect time to share my best tips on how to deal with (and conquer!) anxiety.

  1. 1. Listen to calming music.

    For me, music is essential to setting the mood for anything and everything. If I need to get in a certain mood, my first instinct is to always look for (and perhaps even make) playlists related to whatever feeling I’m chasing. The same applies to anxiety.

    It’s really whatever helps you feel less anxious. I personally find that listening to soft pop and piano ballads works really well for me. When I feel anxious, my heart rate tends to speed up, so listening to slower music works wonders for bringing it back to a normal speed. 

    I highly suggest making an anxiety playlist so you can easily just put it on shuffle whenever you feel it start to kick in. If you’re not sure what to put in, feel free to check out my own anxiety playlist for some inspiration.

  2. 2. Watch funny YouTube (or TikTok) videos.

    Laughter really is the best medicine. Distracting yourself with humor is one of the best ways to cope with anxiety—not only does it get rid of the anxiety, but it puts you in a happy mood! 

    Some of my favorite YouTubers are Kurtis Conner, Dylan Is In Trouble, and Aaron and Jo. They’re all guaranteed to make you laugh, I promise. If you’re looking for shorter videos, TikTok is always a great platform to go to for laughs. I really like @anania00 and @damngodfrey; every single one of their videos are comedy gold.

  3. 3. Play some mindless games.

    Playing games on your phone are especially great if you’re on the verge of a panic attack. Doing something with your hands will help remove focus from whatever thoughts are spiraling in your mind and help ground you in the present. My go-tos are Wordscapes and Doodle Jump, but I think almost any game would work fine. Just try to stick to something low-stakes that won’t affect your heart rate!

  4. 4. Listen to a podcast.

    This might be something that’s very specific to me, but when I feel anxious, I tend to feel extremely lonely. I just want someone there to comfort and distract me right then in the moment, but that’s not always possible. So I turn to podcasts.  Listening to someone talk will help create the illusion that you’re not alone as well as, again, give you something to focus on other than the thoughts spiraling around in your head. I really like conversational and comedic podcasts like Megan Battoon’s Just a Tip, but there’s also plenty of advice and storytelling podcasts if that’s what you’re looking for!

  5. 5. Write (or talk!)

    As a writer, I use writing as a coping mechanism for...well, for everything. If I really need to get my thoughts and feelings out, I pull out my journal and just let myself word vomit on the page. If you prefer talking, I also find that recording voice memos of yourself venting can be really therapeutic. Just let yourself get all of that negative energy out of your system—when you write it down or record it, it’s almost as if it’s now a separate object that you can remove from your mind and body. 

Remember that statistic about how anxiety affects over 40 million people? No matter what your mind is telling you or how you’re feeling, you are not alone. Anxiety is incredibly common so never let yourself feel isolated in your struggles. 

There are ways to cope. Don’t let it consume you.