top of page
  • Writer's pictureSamantha Praus, MSE, LPCC

Are you managing your anxiety in unhealthy ways?

Updated: Jun 4, 2023

Are you coping with your anxiety? Folks find themselves needing to cope with many things these days and with the ongoing pressures of life expectations, individuals are finding themselves faced with heightened levels of stress and anxiety. The following are common ways that individuals cope with their anxiety:

  • Excessive screen time

  • Withdrawing from friends, partners or family

  • Over-engaging in a social life to avoid facing problems

  • Over-eating or binge eating

  • Under-eating or food restriction

  • Over sleeping / sleeping too much

  • Lashing out at others emotionally or physically

  • Excessive drug or alcohol use

  • Over-consumption of caffeine

  • Impulsive spending

  • Engaging in risky behavior

  • Engaging in self-harm

  • Over-exercising or overtraining

  • Passiveness or passive-aggressiveness

  • Saying “yes” to things you don’t want to do

  • Dismissing or avoiding your feelings

  • Dismissing or ignoring your needs

  • Avoiding conflicts

  • Seeking validation from others

  • Enabling others poor choices

  • Making excuses for others

  • Working excessively or overworking

  • Redoing work until it’s perfect

  • Procrastinating

  • Avoiding issues

  • Not taking chances

  • Not pursuing interests, hobbies or goals

  • Staying in unfulfilling or unhealthy relationships

  • All-or-nothing thinking

  • Catastrophizing (jumping to the worst possible outcome)

  • Self-sabotaging

  • Self-criticizing or negative self-talk

  • Dwelling on the past

The above certainly isn’t a comprehensive list, however, it provides a good sense of the many different ways in which human beings cope with their anxiety and we are not referring to helpful or healthy coping. The coping mechanisms listed above tend to provide short-term relief, do not have lasting positive results, and can often be a detriment to your overall mental health and wellbeing. We aren’t telling you this to shame you. We understand that today’s world is stressful. Anxiety levels are extremely high and it often feels daunting or even impossible to cope with all of those pressures weighing you down. We get it and we love to provide psycho-education because we don't expect you to know everything or to always know when something isn't healthy or helpful.

Once we get into the habit of coping in a particular way, it can be extremely difficult to break these tendencies. We recommend finding one healthy coping mechanism that you’re willing to try and pair it with a healthy habit that you are already engaging in consistently, like brushing your teeth in the evening or eating breakfast in the morning. This will help you form the new habit while feeling successful in doing so because you’re pairing it with something you’ve already managed to build into your daily routine. Once you’ve got a grip on the process and have successfully established a new coping mechanism, add in one or two more to build up your healthy coping skills. The key is to find a few coping mechanisms that you can practice daily or throughout the week to help regulate your nervous system overall rather than trying to practice a coping technique when you're highly stressed or anxious, which tends to result in higher levels of defeat.

The following are examples of coping mechanisms that are highly encouraged and useful in managing anxiety:

  • Set and maintain boundaries

  • Practice daily affirmations to help soothe anxiety

  • Begin a daily or weekly self-care ritual

  • Practice assertive communication

  • Challenge cognitive distortions

  • Practice progressive muscle relaxation

  • Take a few deep breaths throughout the day to help regulate your nervous system

  • Notice how you are feeling and extend care towards your emotions

  • Prioritize sleep and develop a bedtime ritual that fosters adequate rest

  • Practice self-compassion and empathy

  • Practice asking for help

  • Pause when you’re feeling overwhelmed

  • Practice mindful eating and exercise

If you’re experiencing difficulties managing anxiety on your own, it’s ok to seek help.

Therapists, such as ourselves, are trained to help you navigate through these difficult times. You don’t have reinvent the wheel or do it on your own. We’re here to help. Connect with us to request a free 15-minute consultation to discuss how we can be of support. We’d love to hear from you!

Samantha & the team at PGH :)



Praus Guidance & Healing, LLC’s and its counselors blog posts are not to be used in lieu of therapeutic treatment or services. The purpose of our blog posts is psycho-educational, informational and for marketing.

Praus Guidance & Healing, LLC’s and its counselors blog posts may provide information that could improve mental health when applied, however, this is not a guaranteed result. Please understand there are no guarantees of what you will experience and that you apply the information from these blog posts at your own risk.

Praus Guidance & Healing, LLC and its counselors shall not be held liable for any information or insight distributed in Praus Guidance & Healing, LLC’s blog posts.

Please keep the following in mind:

  • Blog post information is not treatment. It should not replace therapeutic care or treatment;

  • Blog posts do not replace a formal relationship with a counselor or a therapist;

  • Blog posts provide generalized tools for a broad audience. The information from these posts should not be used in lieu of specific evidenced-based treatment interventions provided by your counselor or therapist.

Please consume safely.


bottom of page