118 Things to Try if you're Feeling Anxious

Sometimes anxiety gets the better of us - even if you aren’t living with an anxiety disorder, you will all have experienced anxiety as an emotion AND guess what?! That’s perfectly normal. Anxiety is an instinctive and important response to danger that was once a key part of survival and is pretty handy today. So just quickly then, what is anxiety?


Well it’s your body responding to a perceived threat and flooding with adrenaline - it essentially prepares you for battle or running away (fight or flight). Pretty handy, huh? The problems start when your body is flooded with the adrenaline when there is no immediate danger (or at least you can’t figure out what has triggered it) and it happens so regularly that it starts to overwhelm us and affect our day to day lives. Anyyyyway, chances are if you’re reading this, you already know all this fuckery - but I do want to reiterate that you’re not abnormal if you’re experiencing this, it isn’t your fault and you are certainly NOT ALONE. It’s estimated that 1 in 10 of us have a disabling anxiety disorder*.

Seeing as it’s something that affects so many of us (nice to meet you, take a seat), I thought it might be an idea to put our heads together and pool our knowledge and so I took to Twitter (of course) and asked THUS:

What do you do to distract yourself from anxiety?

I know there are plenty of head on ways of dealing with anxiety and treatment methods that are tried, tested and pretty successful - but sometimes, mid-panic, all we can do is distract our little brains and hope for the best. If you’re trying desperately to take your mind off things, here are some tips and suggestions (from actual real life people, living with real life anxiety disorders - come fuck with us on Twitter, we’re nice!). Y’all came through!

118 Things to Try When You’re Feeling Anxious

  1. Watching YouTube

  2. Twitter

  3. Listening to Audio Books

  4. Eating Noodles (me, obvs)

  5. Riding a motorbike

  6. Having a nap

  7. Meditation

  8. Grounding Techniques

  9. Getting into nature

  10. Walking around a quiet shop

  11. Playing Candy Crush

  12. Epsom Salt Bath

  13. Lavender Essential Oil

  14. Colouring

  15. Jogging on a treadmill

  16. Writing

  17. Chamomile tea

  18. Cleaning

  19. Making handmade chocolates

  20. Painting rocks and hiding them around your local town

  21. Cutting the grass

  22. Breathing exercises

  23. Drinking water

  24. Having a snack

  25. Showering

  26. Working out

  27. Reading

  28. Helping someone without getting caught doing it

  29. Make videos on how you are feeling

  30. Make positive lists

  31. Using the “Calm” app

  32. Hiking barefoot

  33. Shaking your head

  34. Browsing Reddit

  35. Listening to music

  36. Running

  37. Computer Games

  38. Snuggling your pet

  39. Reflection

  40. Listening to the Pigletish Podcast (yay! thank you so much guys!!!!)

  41. Polishing glasses

  42. Calling family/friends

  43. Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast

  44. Singing to yourself

  45. Knitting

  46. Getting off social media

  47. Table Football

  48. Face masks

  49. Deep breathing

  50. Squishing soft things

  51. Repeating positive mantras

  52. Visualising your anxiety leaving

  53. Walking in the woods

  54. Watching a horror movie

  55. Watching the West Wing

  56. Standing in the cold

  57. Having a hot bath

  58. ASMR

  59. Deep breathing

  60. Yoga

  61. Making Art

  62. Watching your favourite TV show

  63. Going out for coffee alone

  64. Meeting a friend for a coffee

  65. Tai Chi

  66. Needle felting

  67. CBD oil

  68. Stretching

  69. Doing the chores

  70. Cooking

  71. Baking

  72. Crocheting

  73. DIY

  74. Editing videos or images

  75. Playing Glo Grid

  76. Watching a comedy

  77. Praying

  78. Lighting candles

  79. Making a nest

  80. Studying neuroscience (or focusing your mind in another way)

  81. Listening to radio 4

  82. Netflix

  83. Watching Friends

  84. Going for a walk

  85. Learning a language on duolingo

  86. Following @pigletish (awwww thanks @DeborahMcGuir20, I love you!)

  87. The sync your breathing gif (see bottom of page)

  88. Spending time with family/friends

  89. Volunteering

  90. Chewing gum

  91. Noticing your surroundings

  92. Accomplishing little tasks

  93. Eating dark chocolate

  94. Reading Laurell K Hamilton (fantasy romance)

  95. Playing guitar

  96. Building self confidence

  97. Giving food to the homeless

  98. Counting

  99. Blogging

  100. Writing about anxiety

  101. Making a donation

  102. Encouraging someone else

  103. Talking to someone you trust about your feelings

  104. Hugging a pillow

  105. Getting into bed

  106. Getting out of bed

  107. Reading articles

  108. Window shopping online

  109. Doodling

  110. Painting

  111. Drawing

  112. Taking a staycation in a local hotel (boujie)

  113. Rescuing a dog or a horse (honestly, you people are fucking fancy)

  114. Going to a restaurant

  115. Swimming

  116. Going to the library (nice!)

  117. Reflexology

  118. Acceptance


There are some solid favourites of mine on that list (as well as some things I may try; I personally can’t imagine anything more distracting than rescuing a horse - do they mean adoption or like from a lake?). One thing I would say is that years of panicking has told me that it’s important not to try too hard to fight it, so while some people may be at home in a social situation or find comfort in a restaurant - during an anxiety attack is NOT the time to push your limits. It’s cool just to eat pizza in bed. Please try to work with your anxiety, not against it - pick your battles and build up your ability to meditate/exercise and practice mindfulness in your calm moments.

I’m so happy that so many of you made suggestions… also someone did ask me what I do if I wake up anxious in the middle of the night and I’ve said it many times before, but I’ll say it again:




with love,


*Anxiety FAQ from Anxiety UK

Anneli Roberts3 Comments