Feeling Anxious

You’re standing in the subway station, waiting for your train. It’s packed to the brim with people, but no one is saying anything. Everyone has their earbuds in and their eyes glued to the screens of their phones or tablets. You look around nervously, wondering if anyone can tell that you’re feeling anxious.

If this thought crossed your mind, it isn’t just you who feels like this sometimes; everyone does.

Feeling nervous or worried about things is a normal part of life – but what happens when those feelings start to interfere with daily activities? What do you do if they keep you up at night?

That’s where anxiety disorders come into play; anxiety disorders fall into a group of conditions known as mental illnesses. Although many people who have anxiety avoid seeing their doctor, anxiety is one of the most common types of mental illness and, like any other illness, needs treatment to manage the symptoms.

1. Re-train your brain

Doing little things to take care of yourself can make a big difference when you’re struggling with anxiety.  Something as simple as taking a few deep breaths and reminding yourself that you’re safe can help calm your nerves.

Learn to identify what triggers your anxiety. Then, try to avoid those situations when possible. If this isn’t an option (such as if it’s interfering with school or work), learn how to cope with the anxiety of those circumstances instead of avoiding them altogether.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

When we need medical treatment for something else, such as a broken leg, we don’t hesitate to ask our doctor about getting it fixed; why should mental illness be any different? Nobody expects you to go through life feeling nervous all the time – and nobody should have to go through life without feeling supported.

By learning more about anxiety and how it affects your life, you’re taking the first step toward getting help. Give yourself a chance to feel better and talk to someone – whether that’s your doctor or a close friend – who can give you good advice on coping with it.

3. Anxiety is not a weakness

You may be nervous about talking to someone about how you’re feeling, but rest assured: there is no shame in having an anxiety disorder. It doesn’t mean you’re weak; it means that something has (most likely) happened in your life that makes it hard for you to cope properly with the world around you.

It’s important not to lose hope; mental illness – including anxiety disorders – responds well to certain types of treatment. Accepting that you need help also means permitting yourself to take care of yourself and know when it’s time to ask for support from others, too.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with other people, either; they might just be feeling the way you do and could use someone who understands what they’re going through.

4. Turn to apps for support

Did you know that there are actually apps that can help people with anxiety disorders? I’m not just talking about relaxing music or cute pictures. These apps teach coping tools and strategies that have been proven to work by psychologists.

Many of them focus on mindfulness (which can be thought of as “living in the moment”).  Instead of distracting yourself with entertainment, mindfulness asks you to pay attention and notice what’s going on around you.

This can help you avoid overthinking and stop your fears from spiraling out of control.  If you are constantly getting called by unknown numbers, try to get a mobile number tracker app by your side. This way, you can always know who is calling you.

5. Remember that you’re not alone

If you have a friend or family member struggling with anxiety, you can do a few things to help them out.

First of all, listen without judgment. Don’t tell your friend what they “should” be feeling – just listen and try to understand their point of view. The more supportive people around them, the better off they will be.

Secondly…help them find ways to take care of themselves! You can go on walks together or start cooking healthy meals at home; it’s easy to lose track of self-care when life gets crazy busy.

It may seem difficult for someone who doesn’t struggle with anxiety to understand how bad it gets, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. Be patient and help them find the right tools to get through it.


Overcoming anxiety is an ongoing process – so don’t be too hard on yourself if certain things trigger symptoms. Just remember: working at managing your symptoms can make a big difference in how you feel overall. You’ll be surprised by just how much better you feel when anxiety isn’t ruling every aspect of your life!