20 Quick Coping Strategies for Anxiety

By OnYourMind Staff

Everyone feels anxiety at some point in their lives, but this emotion can sometimes be overwhelming. Here is a list of 20 quick coping strategy ideas to use in the moment when you are feeling anxious, nervous, or scared. Not every strategy will feel right for you or be the right one to use in every situation. Try out the ones that seem like they could be helpful. While these can help in the moment, these are not long-term solutions for anxiety. If you find you are dealing with anxious thoughts and feelings often, talk to a trusted adult about how you are feeling. 

  1. Take slow, deep breaths- try to make the exhale longer than the inhale 
  2. Do 20 pushups or 20 jumping jacks really quickly 
  3. Scream into a pillow
  4. Draw all over a piece of paper, or write what you are worried about, and then rip it up 
  5. Hold ice in your hand until it melts (be careful of frostbite- stop if your hand becomes numb) 
  6. Call or text a friend 
  7. Call or chat with a crisis hotline or warmline, like OnYourMind chat,  Lifeline chat, StarVista’s hotline 650-5790350, or the national suicide prevention line 1(800)273-8255
  8. Take a walk outside or in nature
  9. Say the emotions you are feeling out loud
  10. Listen to calming music, like the song Weightless by Marconi Union, scientifically proven to help you relax
  11. Repeat a mantra to yourself- “this will pass,” or “everything is going to turn out okay”
  12. Clean something- like the top of your desk, your backpack, or your room
  13. Try a few relaxing yoga poses
  14. Cuddle under a soft blanket or with a pet
  15. Do something with your hands- like coloring, playing with silly putty, or squeezing a stress ball
  16. Distract yourself with a tv show, video game, book, or podcast
  17. Take a relaxing bath or a hot shower
  18. Sing along to music that makes you feel good, like pop music or soundtracks
  19. Have a snack and drink some water
  20. Wait for time to pass- anxiety can diminish quickly if not focused on 

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