5 Alternative Anxiety Management Tools

*This is a guestpost by a fellow blogger Chloe.

Hi! I’m Chloe, more widely known as Nyxie. I’m a thirty-something cat mum with a passion for writing, illustrating & video games. Don’t let the appearance of the blog fool you, I’m an elder emo at heart, and love all things spooky and black!

My writing is predominantly focused on mental health, general wellness & eating disorder recovery. This list is constantly evolving & I’ve been known to take on book reviews, interior advice & even articles on pet care. Niche down? Never! Why limit myself when I have so many things to say?

It’s natural to feel worried, tense or overwhelmed sometimes. But, when you’re feeling anxious every hour of every day, it can be debilitating and stop you from living the life you deserve. 

Anxiety is among one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. The World Health Organisation reported over three hundred and one million people living with a diagnosed anxiety disorder in twenty nineteen. That’s not including the many that have gone unreported or undiagnosed. But since the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, these numbers are set to skyrocket! Particularly in the younger generation. 

Yet, despite the seriousness of anxiety conditions, many still write these off as just being ‘worried’. When I was officially diagnosed with anxiety, I felt a sense of relief. Finally, a justification for everything I’d been experiencing for the majority of my life. I wasn’t just being ‘overdramatic’ as my mother so often stated.

The debilitating symptoms and thoughts I’d been experiencing stretched back further than I could even recall. And while the majority of my childhood and early adolescence is a blur, I’ve been told by several relatives that I was always a ‘worried’ child. I was anxious about a lot of things that children shouldn’t be worried about, and these sometimes resulted in anxiety attacks. But, for me as an adult, these memories are gone. Lost somewhere in the many closed compartments of my mind. 

It turns out that everything I’d been experiencing was anxiety in its many different forms. And that the likelihood of me developing anorexia nervosa was also the impact of my chronic anxiety condition.

But what is anxiety & how can it affect you?

Anxiety is a natural human response to immediate danger left over from a time when we needed fight or flight to survive. But the majority of us are no longer on the run from lions and tigers, and instead suffer anxiety due to being overwhelmed in daily life. 

How does chronic anxiety affect daily life?

Effects on our mind. 

Anxiety can lead to constant excessive worrying and intrusive thoughts which make it difficult to concentrate and impossible to switch off. This often leads to catastrophic thinking, or always thinking of the worst case scenario rather than seeing the bigger picture. 

Emotional effects.

Imagine constantly feeling like you’re living on a razor’s edge. Your mind is in a constant state of unease, restlessness and generalised fear. That’s anxiety! And what comes along with all those feelings? Insecurity, low self-esteem and crippling self-doubt

Effects on the physical body. 

The one thing people don’t consider is how anxiety can impact them physically. I have anxiety induced irritable bowel syndrome wherein my stomach just refuses to work if I’m too stressed. Others suffer from chronic headaches, chest pains, muscle tensions, fatigue, trouble sleeping and even an increase in blood pressure. And this is only the cliff notes of physical symptoms associated with anxiety. 

Effects on relationships and behaviour. 

Finally, anxiety can severely impact our relationships and behaviour. Not only do you suffer, but so do your nearest and dearest. It can lead to constant conflict, specifically from those who have never experienced chronic anxiety and are unable or unwilling to empathise. Social anxiety can severely hinder a person’s life by preventing them from engaging with others, ultimately isolating them from vital support systems. 

In regards to changes in behaviour, anxiety causes us to avoid situations that are a potential trigger. This could be social interaction, completing tasks, going to work or school etc. 

Five alternative anxiety management tools we need to talk about

Regular exercise.

Speaking from personal experience, exercise has been one of the most effective management techniques when it comes to my anxiety. Walking, running, yoga and even weight lifting has been fundamental in helping reduce instances of panic attacks, and enables me to put that anxious energy to use. And while it may not help the feelings that come afterwards, it takes me away from them at least for a little bit.

I can remember several instances where I could feel myself reaching a point of overwhelm, and instead of allowing it to happen, I went for a run or I went to the gym. 

Weight lifting was particularly helpful for the anger that I sometimes experience with anxiety. It stopped me hurting myself (or someone else), and allowed me to get lost in the rhythm. That and nothing makes you feel stronger than squatting twice your bodyweight. 

One of the most difficult times in my life was the first six months of my recovery from anorexia nervosa when exercise was all but banned for me. The only thing I was allowed to do was light yoga practice. Through yoga I learned to sit with my feelings, experience them fully, and let them go. I took time to practise the different breathing techniques that I now use often when I feel overwhelmed, and appreciate everything my mind and body can do. And while it may not be helpful when I’m feeling extreme anxiety as it encourages you to be one with your thoughts and feelings, it certainly helps in daily management. 


For some, writing down their worries is a great way to put things into a better perspective. It’s all too easy to become lost in our thoughts when we’re feeling anxious, and it becomes difficult to see the ‘sky for the trees.’ But by laying it all out on paper or screen we’re better able to assess both the situation and various solutions. 

I like to use my diary to bullet point the things making me anxious, be it multiple small thoughts and feelings, or one big one. I’ve found this is the best way for me to see the bigger picture. And, more often than not, I’ve found that the smaller things I’m worried about have easy solutions or are, simply put, a product of ‘catastrophising.’ 

Then there is the idea of free writing wherein you write as much as you want on paper or screen, often in one, unedited paragraph. You allow your thoughts to roam free without structure and essentially write exactly what is going on in your head. This acts as a form of release and while it may not contain all the answers, it can help you process everything you’re experiencing. 

Herbal supplements. 

There are various herbal supplements that are thought to combat feelings of anxiety and symptoms of stress. They come in many different forms from tea to capsules and even sweets! Here are just a few natural herbs you can try! 

  • Chamomile. 

  • Passionflower.

  • Valerian. 

  • Lavender, which is also great for sleep.

  • Green tea, which also works to detox the body. 

Please remember that while these may help reduce anxiety, they should be used alongside any prescribed medication and therapy. Never switch your traditional medication or counselling for herbal remedies unless approved by a medical professional.The majority of these remedies can be used safely alongside your current methods. 

‘Worry time.’

Set aside a specific time to focus on your worries. I call this ‘worry-allowance’ and it was first recommended to me by my eating disorder therapist to help compartmentalise my anxiety around food and weight. While it can be difficult to get into, it was a game changer for me, specifically during the pandemic. 

It works by allowing yourself twenty to sixty minutes to focus on your worries. After this period, you shut them away and continue your life. It’s important to remember that while this works well for me, it may not do so. same for you. Not to mention that it can take a great amount of effort to keep your mind from drifting back to what’s worrying you. 


Possibly one of my favourite things to do on a daily basis. I find that practising gratitude, whether it’s everyday or just when we’re feeling anxious, can help us see the bigger picture. It allows us to pinpoint the things in our life that bring us joy, and pushes them forward instead of allowing them to become crowded by the negative. 

We all have things that worry us and create negative energy in our life. And this negative energy can grow and fester if we allow it to. But practising gratitude by writing things down or saying them out loud ensures that we see the sky for the trees. 

Here are a few prompts you can use to help you practise gratitude

  • Write down five things you’re grateful for today? 

  • Who in your life are you thankful for and why?

  • What is something you often take for granted that you’re grateful for?

  • How has life improved over the last twelve months? 

It doesn’t matter how small these things are, be it a cup of warm coffee or the gentle purr of a cat on your lap.They all count towards the better and more positive things in life. 

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