Strategies to Reduce Your Anxiety

Woman speaking in front of a group of people

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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.

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.


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.

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.