If you deal with occasional bouts of anxiety, you’re not alone.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 18 percent of U.S. adults have dealt with an anxiety disorder at some point.  The good news?  You can still make progress outside of the therapist’s office, and without medication.

Here are some of the fun, relaxing ways to relieve your anxiety at home:

Cut Back on Caffeine

Who doesn’t love a hot cup of coffee?  Many of us rely on caffeine to help us get through busy days and stressful schedules.  But caffeine is one of the worst enemies for anxiety.  Even if you aren’t usually prone to experiencing anxiety, consuming too much caffeine can cause it.  If you do have regular struggles with stress or upset, cutting back on caffeine can help a lot.

Relax Your Mind

Anxiety affects your body almost as much as it affects your mind.  Your thoughts may feel out of control.  You can significantly reduce your anxiety by taking steps to quiet your mind and slow your racing thoughts.  Try calming activities like meditation, prayer, or writing in a journal.  If you choose to write, you may even discover some of the things most likely to trigger your anxiety.  Once you discover your triggers, you can avoid them in the future.

Work It Out

Getting some exercise is a great way to manage anxious thoughts and emotions.  While you can do an intense, muscle-building session if you like, a simple walk around the neighborhood or a short yoga routine can be an effective way of dealing with your tense feelings.  Regular exercise is even known to reduce the number of times you experience anxiety.

Distract Yourself

Sometimes anxiety will quickly pass without having to do anything about it. If you avoid dwelling on your stress, you can often just wait for the difficult mood to blow over.  In the meantime, find something fun to do to distract yourself.  Maybe you can watch a funny movie or TV show, read an engaging novel, do puzzles or even play video games.  Even counting backward from 100 can help calm your mind and keep it busy as anxious thoughts and bodily tensions dissipate.

Call On Your Support Team

Friends and loved ones can be great sources of support.  You want them by your side to celebrate your good times and to be of comfort when you’re feeling anxious.  Call a friend or family member when you’re feeling worried or fearful.  You don’t even have to tell them you’re struggling with anxiety.  Simply having someone to talk to can help you stay grounded.

Try Progressive Relaxation

Sit in a comfortable chair or lie down on your bed.  Slowly tense your muscles and then release them in each part of your body, moving from top to bottom.  Not only does this help you to relieve stress and anxiety.  It also helps you to experience total relaxation.  If you’re having trouble falling asleep, this technique is a great way to release the day’s worries.

Look for Help Online

The internet has a huge variety of helpful resources on almost any topic. Look for podcasts or webinars about wellness or how to cope with stress. You can even do a simple Google search for topics like “how to deal with anxiety” and find tips and online communities devoted to the topic.  One caution: Use social media sparingly, as some studies have shown that it can worsen your outlook.

Call Me for Help

Finally, if you need more help with anxiety, I would love to offer you tools and support. Please contact me by phone or email so that we can create an action plan for helping you manage your anxiety.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Linda K. Laffey, MFT


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