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Combating anxiety

50 ways to combat your anxiety

Everybody experiences anxiety, it is considered a normal mind and body response and can affect us all in different ways and at different times. Anxiety is a coping mechanism from our bodies internal alarm system designed to protect us from the dangers in the wild originating from our cave man days.

It makes us hyper-alert by giving us a boost of adrenaline that increases the heart rate, boosts the amount of oxygen in our blood and prepares our brain and muscles so we can fight, flight or freeze from danger in these times. Anxiety can trigger this system into action when we believe there is a threat or danger, even when there is not, what we might call a ‘perceived threat’.

It is important to remember that some people may have a reason for their anxiety, however a lot of people may not seem to have a reason but still feel anxious. It can be a build-up of little things that eventually spills over, which can make you feel like your anxiety has come out of no-where. Imagine a bucket filling with lots of little things that make you anxious or stressed until the bucket overflows.

What we need are some holes in the bucket to release the overall concerns and stress levels. This page will give you positive suggestions that will support you to make holes in your bucket and help reduce your overall stress levels and support your efforts to combat anxiety.

Below you will find some of our top anti-anxiety tips to help you in refining your self-support skills. Check it out!

Learn a new skill

Make it meaningful, practice regular and it will contribute to your wellbeing.

  1. Learn first aid
  2. Learn something new such as a hobby you have always wanted to do. For example; coding, knitting, sewing or how to play a musical instrument.
  3. Learn a new language. Babble and Coursera offer courses for free!


Getting physically active causes chemical changes in the brain which can positively alter mood, improve sleep and self-esteem. After just a short period of exercise, you can begin to feel the anti-anxiety effects.

  1. Yoga
  2. Go on a bike ride using Strava
  3. If you like jogging and running, why don’t you try ‘Zombies, Run!‘ which is an ultra-immersive running game and audio adventure, co-created with award-winning novelist Naomi Alderman. Every run becomes a mission where you’re the hero, with audio drama putting you at the centre of your very own zombie adventure story.
  4. Not a fan of the gym? Dance fitness could be just for you. Check out these YouTube cardio workouts 
  5. Want to get flexible? Try stretching exercises and watch your progression over time!


  1. Tidy your calm space. Tidying your house, room or apartment will distract your mind and allow you to take the time to focus on something else.
  2. Drink plenty of water. Not drinking enough water can make your anxiety symptoms worse such as dehydration as this can cause heart palpitations and trigger anxiety attacks.
  3. Delete anything on social media that makes you feel negative about yourself. You could even replace this with positive vibes such as following people who make you feel happy or pages that intrigue you.
  4. Limit alcohol and caffeine as this can aggravate anxiety or even trigger panic attacks.
  5. Visit Chilypep and have a go at some of the activities.
  6. Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
  7. Set time aside for yourself. Do something you enjoy, whether it’s sitting in silence, reading your favourite book or listening to music.

Mindfulness and meditation

Mindfulness and meditation can help soften feelings of anxiousness, as well as reduce stress by simply teaching us to be in the present moment, as well as creating space around our worries to help stop them becoming all-consuming.

  1. If you have a Spotify account, why don’t use that to get Headspace and learn to meditate.
  2. Focusing on certain aspects of your life, from sleep to exercise, can improve your wellbeing. Try recording how you feel on the Rewi app.
  3. Write down your thoughts and feelings to create a journal. This is simply writing how you feel in an attempt to better understand them. It’s a great way to help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health.
  4. Go on a mindful walk and really enjoy being present in the moment. Feel the wind and sun on your skin, really look at plants and flowers and notice the wind rustling leaves.
  5. Write down all of your worries and then ask yourself how likely these are to happen, helping to keep things in perspective.
  6. Let go of technology. Set some boundaries and create times and places for certain things so that your brain doesn’t feel overloaded. Try putting down your phone at mealtimes or an hour before bed, try looking at your emails at only particular times throughout the day. Your brain will soon adjust to this and may help you in your ability to relax.
  7. Smile at someone or say “Hello” to people you are passing.
  8. Try star-gazing on a clear night. Really appreciate and notice the vastness of the night sky. Concentrate on your breathing as you are gazing and connecting with the galaxy.
  9. Keep a gratitude journal. Here are some ideas.

Breathing exercises

If you are feeling anxious try this simple breathing technique 3 times a day. Each time, try anchoring yourself in the present moment. Doing this everyday will help to balance oxygen levels and encourage positivity to the forefront of your mind.

  1. 4-1-4 Breathing Technique. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 1 second and breath out for 4 seconds. Repeat for 2 minutes.


Research has found that by being creative it can help reduce anxiety, depression and stress.

  1. Drawing tutorials. Spend some time drawing using these lessons on YouTube.
  2. Watch Bob Ross on YouTube and try your hand at painting.
  3. Make a photobook or scrapbook. Spend time getting really creative with it.
  4. Write a story. Wattpad is an app and online community which enables you to write your own story. Many authors upload their stories here too, try reading something new for free.
  5. Make a scrapbook. You can start by including your favourite photos and memories that you want to remember. Then, when things seem difficult, look back over what you have experienced and achieved. Think “I can do this”.

Perfect Pastime

  1. Try growing your own vegetables. Salad leaves, carrots, radishes and tomato plants are really easy to grow.
  2. Spend some time with your pet, play with your pet or groom them.
  3. Learn how to cook a meal or bake.
  4. Read a new book.
  5. Watch a film you’ve never seen before. Films are accessible on a number of apps including Netflix. Watching a new film will allow you to focus on something different.
  6. Listen to music. YouTube and Spotify offer a range of music for you to listen to. When you feel anxious you can listen to a new band or artist that you haven’t heard before.
  7. Try your hand at photography. Take a picture of something that makes you smile each day. It can be anything. Then, when you feel overwhelmed by something, look back at the photos.
  8. Get involved. Volunteer for your local charity. This will help you to make new friends, boost your self-esteem and is a great way to become part of the community.

Advice, Guidance and Support

Click on any of the organisations for more information.

  1. Barnsley College Counselling Service – Call or email the Health and Wellbeing Centre and speak to a member of the team for a referral. Please complete a SPA referral form and when completed, email it to hwb-spa@barnsley.ac.uk.
  2. Visit Barnsley Colleges Counselling webpage for links to support and advice on anxiety, sleeping tips and stress along with much more!
  3. IAPT (Improving Access to Phycological Therapies). Call or email the Health and Wellbeing Centre and speak to a member of the team for a referral or make a self-referral through their website.
  4. Mind Elefriends – This platform allows you to talk to other people through a webchat, with support also available from trained professionals.
  5. NHS Anxiety advice
  6. Young Minds Charity – Access to the young minds website offers support in identifying symptoms as well as overcoming mental health and how to support others.
  7. Mind – Mind offers a number of supportive networks for people who need help.
  8. Tea and talk sessions – Some communities have tea and talk sessions which are open to the public. Why not find and attend a session, meet new people and find a way to speak about how you are feeling? If you’d like, you could also create your own.
  9. Call a friend for a chat – When we talk to people, we feel more understood, which feels like you’re no longer alone.
  10. ChildLine – Childline has lots of advice and information, as well as someone to talk to.
  11. The Samaritans – If you need someone to speak to, give them a call and they are there to listen no matter how big or small your problem may be. Their lines are open 24 hours, 365 days a year.





Last updated: 23rd May 2023

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