Tips on How to Overcome Anxiety – Part 2


Dealing with anxiety can be draining. Being constantly on edge, afraid, or paranoid takes a lot of energy, and many people with anxiety are exhausted at the end of the day. However, there are many ways people can manage their anxiety and live life to the fullest.

This is the second part of our series on procrastination and anxiety, you can find the first part here.

What Causes Anxiety?

As discussed in last week’s blog, anxiety can arise in particularly stressful situations, such as when a big deadline looms in the future. Other causes of anxiety include:

  • Biased thinking – those with anxiety can often display biased thinking, in which they overestimate how bad the outcome of an event or scenario will be.[1]
  • Selective memory – anxiety can persist because those worrying about something may exclusively focus on and remember evidence that supports their worry and disregard information that debunks it.
  • Genetics – people who have relatives that struggle with anxiety may be at a higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder themselves.[2]
  • Current or past situation – if you experienced abuse in the past or are experiencing abuse or extreme stress in the present, these factors can trigger severe anxiety.

There is no one cause for anxiety. It can stem from many places, including physical health problems and some medications that people have been prescribed. No matter the cause, anxiety can affect how people live their day to day lives, causing them to struggle with tasks they might have found simple before.

How Anxiety Works

Anxiety works by flooding the brain with stress hormones and preparing the body to run or fight. These hormones – primarily adrenaline and cortisol – warn your body that something terrible is about to happen and that you should be prepared to deal with it when it arises. People with anxiety are often unable to calm themselves down, so their brain releases more stress hormones until they are completely overwhelmed.

Anxiety can also impact the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the area which reacts to threats. In non-anxious brains, the prefrontal cortex helps people reach a logical conclusion to perceived threats. However, in people with anxiety, the prefrontal cortex is drowned out by anxious thoughts as the connection to the amygdala, the brain’s alarm system is weak.

This weak connection can make people hypervigilant about threats. In anxious brains, the amygdala also tends to be larger than in non-anxious brains and sets off many false alarms, even in non-threatening situations. Combined with the inability to self-regulate and manage their anxiety, anxious people can struggle with these feelings constantly.

The Freeze Response

Anxiety prepares the body for a fight or flight response, making us ready to run away from or face down danger. However, there is another response the body may opt for: freeze. People may freeze for many reasons, out of pure panic or the knowledge that they do not have a chance to escape.

Those who freeze in the face of their anxiety often find that their anxious energy is built up and lingers in the body. This can cause them to feel even more anxious as time goes on, and they can display physical symptoms related to their anxiety, such as:

  • Stomach aches
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension and aches
  • Elevated heart rate

However, there are ways to overcome these somatic symptoms of anxiety.

How to Overcome Anxiety

Overcoming anxiety takes effort, practice, and treatment. Some methods will work for some but not others, so it is important not to become disheartened and to try several options:

  • Practice grounding techniques – grounding anchors people to the present moment and helps distract them from things causing them significant anxiety. Try running cold water over your hands or tensing and relaxing different parts of your body, noticing the sensations and pressure you feel.
  • Move more – not only can exercise release mood-boosting endorphins that relieve anxiety on their own but focusing on this exercise can help to expand your internal awareness and ease feelings of anxiety. Dance, yoga, and Pilates can help bring your focus back to your body and teach you things about your body and how you move.
  • Look at your diet – eating a healthy, balanced diet can help to fuel your body correctly and reduce anxiety. Look at your caffeine intake as well – do you drink several coffees or energy drinks a day? Caffeine can contribute to heightened anxiety, so try to cut back if possible.
  • Visualisation – visualisation is a key technique that allows people to create a safe place in their minds to help reduce the physical stress they are under. Start by picturing colours, smells, and textures of a safe memory. Where are you? Who are you with? Visualising this safe space helps you rest and relax by focusing on calm, serene memories and images.
  • Set a bedtime – anxiety can interfere heavily with sleep, causing people to stay awake and worry. However, having a set bedtime and a bedtime routine can help to teach the brain it is time to wind down and relax. Put away screens at least an hour before bed and plan a bedtime that allows for at least eight hours of quality sleep.
  • Practice meditation – anxiety can cause your brain to jump between distressing topics and leave you constantly worrying about what will happen next. You can train your mind to become calmer and more relaxed by practising meditation and mindfulness. Studies have found that people who practise meditation show a significant reduction in anxiety.[3]


Overcoming anxiety takes consistent effort, and change will not happen overnight. It causes significant brain changes, making it extremely difficult for people to regulate their emotions alone.

Anxiety can be a severe condition that impacts all areas of life, and sometimes self-care may not be enough. Do not hesitate to reach out to Khiron Clinics for professional health if anxiety is affecting your life.

If you have a client or know of someone struggling with anxiety, reach out to us at Khiron Clinics. We believe that we can improve therapeutic outcomes and avoid misdiagnosis by providing an effective residential program and outpatient therapies addressing underlying psychological trauma. Allow us to help you find the path to realistic, long-lasting recovery. For more information, call us today. UK: 020 3811 2575 (24 hours). USA: (866) 801 6184 (24 hours).


[1] Mogg K, Bradley BP. Anxiety and attention to threat: Cognitive mechanisms and treatment with attention bias modification. Behav Res Ther. 2016;87:76-108. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2016.08.001

[2] Meier SM, Trontti K, Purves KL, et al. Genetic Variants Associated With Anxiety and Stress-Related Disorders: A Genome-Wide Association Study and Mouse-Model Study. JAMA Psychiatry. 2019;76(9):924–932. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.1119

[3] Ratanasiripong P, Park JF, Ratanasiripong N, Kathalae D. Stress and anxiety management in nursing students: Biofeedback and mindfulness meditation. J Nurs Educ. 2015;54(9):520-4. doi:10.3928/01484834-20150814-07