Whatever it is that scares you, here are 10 ways to help you cope with your day-to-day fears and anxieties.
These tips are for people who are coping with everyday fears.
If you have been diagnosed with an anxiety-related condition, see our page on generalised anxiety disorder.
You may also be interested in our selection of mental health apps and tools for issues like fear in the Digital Apps Library.
1. Take time out
It’s impossible to think clearly when you’re flooded with fear or anxiety. The first thing to do is take time out so you can physically calm down.
Distract yourself from the worry for 15 minutes by going for a walk, making a cup of tea or having a bath.
2. Breathe through panic
If you start to get a faster heartbeat or sweating palms, the best thing is not to fight it.
Stay where you are and simply feel the panic without trying to distract yourself.
Place the palm of your hand on your stomach and breathe slowly and deeply.
The goal is to help the mind get used to coping with panic, which takes the fear of fear away.
3. Face your fears
Avoiding fears only makes them scarier. Whatever your fear, if you face it, it should start to fade.
If you panic one day getting into a lift, for example, it’s best to get back into a lift the next day.
4. Imagine the worst
Try imagining the worst thing that can happen – perhaps it’s panicking and having a heart attack.
Then try to think yourself into having a heart attack.
It’s just not possible. The fear will run away the more you chase it.
5. Look at the evidence
It sometimes helps to challenge fearful thoughts.
For example, if you’re scared of getting trapped in a lift and suffocating, ask yourself if you have ever heard of this happening to someone.
Ask yourself what you would say to a friend who had a similar fear.
6. Do not try to be perfect
Life is full of stresses, yet many of us feel that our lives must be perfect.
Bad days and setbacks will always happen, and it’s important to remember that life is messy.
7. Visualize a happy place
Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a place of safety and calm.
It could be a picture of you walking on a beautiful beach, or snuggled up in bed with the cat next to you, or a happy memory from childhood.
Let the positive feelings soothe you until you feel more relaxed.
8. Talk about it
Sharing fears takes away a lot of their scariness.
If you cannot talk to a partner, friend or family member, call a helpline such as Samaritans (116 123, open 24 hours a day).
If your fears are not going away, you can refer yourself directly to a psychological therapies service without seeing your GP.
Or you can get a referral from your GP if you prefer.
9. Go back to basics
Lots of people turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with anxiety, but this will only make matters worse.
Simple, everyday things like a good night’s sleep, a wholesome meal and a walk are often the best cures for anxiety.
10. Reward yourself
Finally, give yourself a treat. When you have made that call you have been dreading, for example, reinforce your success by treating yourself to a massage, a country walk, a meal out, a book, or whatever little gift makes you happy.