GAD Coping Strategies to Reduce Your Anxiety By Will Meek, PhD Will Meek, PhD Facebook Will Meek, PHD, is Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Brown University and has been in university counseling leadership since 2008. Learn about our editorial process Updated on March 29, 2021 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS Medically reviewed by Rachel Goldman, PhD, FTOS Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Hero Images / Getty Images Everyone worries about things sometimes. But people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) experience an exaggerated amount of worry, which can become debilitating. Why We Worry Worrying is a cognitive symptom of anxiety. At a moderate level, anxiety can be helpful. It motivates a person to take something seriously, to solve a problem, to consider the implications of his or her actions, or to search for reassurance. Is Anxiety Ever Helpful? Sometimes, a person can become stuck in a state of worry that isn't helpful. Here are six strategies to reduce worry and ease anxiety. Make a Plan One thing people often worry about is unforeseen circumstances. Sometimes there are things happening in our lives that are out of our control, such as getting hired for a job. One way to cope with situations like these is to make plans for different possible outcomes. Make a plan as detailed as you need to determine your course of action if you do or do not get the job, which hopefully will take away some of the worry. Do You Have Work Anxiety? Rehearse People also often worry about performances and presentations in front of peers. For school, jobs, and our social lives, we frequently have to make presentations, speak publicly, or talk to friends about something difficult. One way to reduce worry in these situations is to rehearse exactly what you are going to say and do as many times as you need to feel comfortable. If you can't rehearse or practice, you can also use imagery to imagine yourself doing the activity. If we can imagine ourselves doing it and doing it well, it may ease your anxiety and worry. Attend to Your Physical Health When our bodies are in optimal health, we have more mental resources available to cope with stress, solve problems, and control our worrying. Health Habits That Can Increase Anxiety Achieve optimal physical health by eating a healthier diet, sleeping more, and being more physically active. It can have dramatic effects on your mood and your ability to cope. Discover the Real Source of Anxiety Sometimes a person worries about things that are a distraction from the things that are really bothering him or her. For example, worrying about an outfit to wear the next day, which provides a distraction from worrying about what is really bothering them, such as a quarrel with a loved one. Being able to trace the source of your anxiety and worry can help you regain control of the situation and take steps to address what is really troubling you. Put Anxiety in The Proper Context A hallmark sign of generalized anxiety disorder is magnifying and worrying about small things, making them more important than they really are. Taking a step back to put your worries into their proper context can be a quick way to reduce their intensity. Break Your Worries Down Worrying tends to make us build a giant mountain of fear and anxiety in our minds, and eventually, we lose sight of what is actually part of the mountain. Taking some time to break down and list the things that are troubling you is a great way to get a handle on things and allows you to make several smaller plans of action, rather than being crippled by having to climb a mountain. A Word From Verywell Worry comes from a place of thinking too far into the future (which is out of our control) or rehashing the past, which is also out of our control. We can remind ourselves to focus on what is in our control, which is the present moment, and take steps to plan, rehearse, and control worrying in a healthy way. How to Reduce Anxiety Attacks See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for GAD Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.