What you can do right now for anxiety

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Practical things you can do in the moment to feel better

If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, Lifeline is here to support you, or if your life is in danger, please call 000.

Anxiety is a complex condition and the path to better mental health looks different for everyone. Don’t be discouraged if things don’t feel easy at first. Different techniques will work for different people, so it’s important to find the right approach for you.

It can feel challenging to take the first steps in your wellbeing journey, but being willing to try is what’s important.

Below are a number of evidence-supported, practical things you can do to reduce feelings of anxiety in the moment.

  • Show yourself kindness and compassion

    It can be difficult to show yourself compassion when you’re feeling anxious, but it’s an important first step to managing your anxiety.

    Feeling bad, or criticising yourself for experiencing anxious thoughts or feelings can just make you feel worse.


    • Anxiety is a natural human emotion we’ve developed to keep us safe from dangers, so some anxiety is normal
    • It’s okay to take on less, or ask less of yourself when you’re not feeling great. If you’re feeling particularly anxious, try reducing the expectations you’ve set for yourself
    • We’re often far more critical of ourselves than we would be of a friend in the same situation. What would you tell someone else if they were in your situation?

Listen to Charlotte's experience with anxiety and how she learned to manage it.

Get curious, not furious

A great way to kickstart positive thinking is to try to be curious about how you’re feeling, rather than being critical or worried about those feelings. Try asking yourself questions such as:

  • How likely is it your worry will come true?
  • If your worry does come true, what’s the worst that could happen?
  • If your worry does come true, what’s the most likely thing to happen?
  • If your worry does come true, what are the chances you’ll be ok in one week? In one month? In one year?
  • Try the 5 senses technique
  • Schedule a worry time
  • Take your mind off things
  • Journaling
  • Talk to someone you trust
Instead of having to deal with my anxiety alone, it takes an immense amount of pressure off myself when I let someone else in.
  • Deep breathing
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