Occasional anxiety can come and go, but those living with anxiety disorders can experience symptoms that linger. Here are some ways to cope.

For many, the stressors of life are often accompanied by anxiety. Preparing for a big presentation, moving to a new city, and dealing with health issues can all bring up feelings of nervousness, fear, and anxiety. When the stressor subsides, so do the anxiety symptoms.

Stressful life events are temporary, but anxiety disorders aren’t. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 31.1% of U.S. adults experience an anxiety disorder at one point in their lives.

Those living with an anxiety disorder can experience symptoms of anxiety that are excessive and interfere with their daily life. Symptoms like panic attacks, rapid heart rate, and shortness of breath can impact your daily functioning and well-being.

It can feel like these symptoms won’t go away if they’re happening regularly. While anxiety doesn’t fully go away for some, there are ways to manage your symptoms.

The anxiety you feel about a stressor in your life can go away, but anxiety associated with an anxiety disorder may not. According to the NIMH, anxiety disorders don’t go away and can worsen over time for some people.

The feeling of nervousness associated with anxiety is usually temporary and passes when the trigger has subsided. The average feelings of anxiety are bound to come up and are quite common.

Anxiety disorders can have a bigger impact on your life and well-being. Excessive worrying may make it difficult to stop feeling anxious or calm and relaxed.

Can anxiety symptoms last for months?

Anxiety can last for a brief moment or linger for days, weeks, months, or years. If left untreated, long-term anxiety can significantly affect your well-being.

This can look like:

  • having low self-esteem
  • isolating yourself
  • experiencing symptoms of depression
  • having panic attacks
  • never feeling relaxed
  • increased blood pressure
  • frequent headaches
  • having a sense of doom

Long-lasting anxiety can wreak havoc on your social, personal, and work life. It can even cause health complications.

Many factors make a person more susceptible to anxiety disorders, such as genetics, medical conditions, and environmental stressors. Some people are genetically predisposed to have anxiety, while others develop it due to their surroundings.

Some medical conditions, such as infections, can cause chronic anxiety that won’t go away. 2017 research has found that those with anxiety have higher rates of:

If it’s difficult to manage anxiety symptoms on your own, some resources can help. Consider talking with someone like a doctor or therapist.

1. Talk to someone

One of the symptoms of anxiety is racing thoughts. When you’re experiencing excessive worry, it can be helpful to talk about it with someone.

You may consider turning to a trusted friend or family member and sharinfg your feelings. Sharing your thoughts aloud can help you feel like you’ve got something off your chest.

Check in with your doctor or make an appointment with a mental health professional to work through something weighing on you. Therapists use various talk therapies to help those living with anxiety disorders cope.

For some anonymity, try online support groups or support lines.

2. Take some deep breaths

During a panic attack, your breathing may feel quick and shallow. Deep breathing exercises can help with the physical symptoms of anxiety disorders.

Try to slow down your breathing by inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. This will connect you to your breath and lower your heart rate.

Box breathing is a 4-step technique that involves:

  • inhaling for 4 seconds
  • holding your breath for 4 seconds
  • exhaling for 4 seconds

Counting to four in your mind while you take deep breaths can also calm your mind and ground you.

This practice gives you something else to focus on instead of the stressor or trigger that caused your symptoms to arise.

3. Avoid caffeine

If you’re sensitive to caffeine, it may give you that jittery feeling that can stir anxiety symptoms. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, which is the system that responds to fight or flight.

This can increase your adrenaline levels, giving you a rush of energy accompanied by increased blood pressure, sweat, and anxiety.

A 2022 study suggests that caffeine can induce panic attacks and anxiety in those living with panic disorders.

Instead, try swapping your morning coffee for a cup of non-caffeinated tea or water. Soothing teas like chamomile, peppermint, and lavender may even help you feel calmer.

It can be difficult to break a coffee habit, but decaf coffee can help make the transition smoother.

4. Take a walk

Sometimes taking a break, getting out of your environment, and engaging in physical activity can help alleviate stress and anxiety. Going for a walk will do the trick. As the old saying goes — fresh air will do you some good.

According to a 2022 meta-analysis, walking in nature can improve mental health. Specifically improving symptoms of anxiety and depression.

When you have excessive worries, it can be difficult to leave your home. Taking a walk gets you outside and moving.

Consider using this time to enjoy nature, listen to a podcast, or call someone who can lend an ear.

Going for a walk also increases your endorphins, which can reduce stress.

5. Repeat a mantra

When your anxiety symptoms feel strong, you can feel like you’re in danger. Take a moment to assess the situation; if you’re not in danger, remind yourself that you’re safe and these feelings will eventually pass.

Meditation, mindfulness, and mantras can be incredibly helpful in calming the mind. Repeat calming phrases to yourself, such as “I am secure” and “This will pass.”

Chant these mantras to yourself as reminders that you will get through the day and reach the other side of this panic attack.

Anxiety is your body’s response to feeling like you’re in danger. When you go in “fight, flight, or freeze” mode, the result can be a racing heart, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness.

While it’s common to experience anxiety occasionally, excessive fear and worry can take a toll on your well-being.

Talking with someone can help, whether it’s a:

  • doctor
  • therapist
  • friend
  • family member

There are also medications for those living with anxiety disorders.

Other ways to manage symptoms include getting enough rest, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly.

When you feel a panic attack coming on, try deep breathing exercises or repeating a mantra. You can take a break by going for a walk or calling a friend.

Anxiety can sometimes feel like it’s controlling your life. Give some of these tips a try to take back control.