How to live well with generalized anxiety disorder (2023)

One of the most important elements of generalizationAnguishDisturbance (TAG) learns to cope with persistent anxiety and physical symptoms. While each person has a unique experience with TAG, there are manycommon symptomsPresent with this condition almost everyone will experience it to some degree.

These symptoms include physical symptoms (muscle tension,body aches, etc.), behavioral symptoms (procrastination, withdrawal, etc.) and emotional symptoms (intrusive thoughts, constant worrying,etc). Different coping styles and strategies can help you deal with all of them.

How to live well with generalized anxiety disorder (1)

Social coping strategies

For some people, social coping skills can help manage symptoms, overcome anxiety, and even improve social life for a better overall quality of life. Effective options include the following.


When we're feeling anxious, it's common to want to let go and disconnect from others. This makes us feel alienated from others, our family and our community.

Finding events to attend can help foster a sense of belonging and allow us to feel purposeful.

Not only do we keep our bodies busy, but we also keep our minds busy.


Watch Now: 7 Ways to Reduce Your Anxiety

talk to someone

Fear can lead us to believe that we are alone in our experience and that no one else will be able to relate to it. This is not true. Find someone you trust to talk to about your challenges. Share the experiences you're struggling with with important people in your life, and don't be afraid to strike up a conversation.

Being open about your challenges also allows you to give others space to share their struggles.

recruit support

Finding a support system is important when dealing with anxiety. There are several support resources, both face-to-face and online, that can be of great help. A community of people who not only understand, but can offer advice and suggestions for useful coping strategies can be invaluable.

The Best Online Anxiety Support Groups of 2021

(Video) Living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)


Fear tends to rob us of joy and gets in the way of having fun. Remember to satisfy your desire to have fun and laugh. You can find humor in books, on TV, or online sources. Taking a moment to laugh and have fun can be a gentle reminder that fear is not in control.

Emotional coping strategies

Try these strategies to deal with intrusive thoughts, constant worry or anxiety, feelings of insecurity, apprehension, anxiety or overwhelm.


There are several mindfulness practices that can help with anxiety. Using techniques like mindfulness, prayer, and deep breathing can help slow down our anxious processing of thoughts and emotions.

By slowing down, we learn to be more present instead of focusing on anticipating and preparing for the future, which is what we focus on through fear, even when there are no threats.

Know your triggers

As you practice slowing down and become more mindful, it helps to pay attention to situations that seem to trigger your anxiety. While avoiding these triggers isn't always an option, knowing them can help you gain clarity and take action to manage stress in these specific situations.

It may be helpful to learn cognitive ways to challenge your fear, such as: B. Dispelling anxious thoughts and calming the urge to keep asking "what if."

acceptance practice

Remember that fear is not something you experience because you made a mistake. Anxiety is influenced by amany factorssuch as genetics, neurobiology, family history,and life experiences. There isno tag causeAnd it's something that many people experience.

As impossible as it seems, learning to accept the journey and using it as an opportunity to learn and take care of yourself in a healthy way can help. Accepting your emotions canimprove your overall emotional health. Recognizing emotions is thefirst of several stepsto achieve this.

keep a positive attitude

There is no reason to give up hope for a better life. Many people with anxiety problems, such as B. generalized anxiety disorder, drive a cara full, productive and joyful life.

The key is to take the time to learn what strategies work well for you, stay connected with others, and stay positive.

Find inspiration through quotes, verses, music, nature, social connections, etc. We are surrounded by positive examples of hope and inspiration.

physical coping strategies

Physical coping strategies such as eating right, exercising, breathing, and establishing a relaxing bedtime routine can also help with emotional symptoms.

eat well

What we put into our bodies can affect how we feel physically and emotionally. While food doesn't cause anxiety, it can affect our mood.

Eating things like sugary snacks and processed foods can cause rapid spikes and spikes in blood sugar, which can lead to feelings of restlessness and fatigue.

a practice

Exercise can be a great way to manage stress. Exercise helps to increase our endorphins and relieve tension. Try something new or pick a favorite activity that you enjoy. Any way you choose to train will be beneficial.

Keep a consistent schedule and try to exercise three to four times a week or more. You can also try a massage orProgressive Muscle Relaxationto relieve muscle tension commonly associated with anxiety.

(Video) What it's like to live with Generalized Anxiety Disorder

get enough sleep

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), only one in three adults in the United States gets the recommended seven hours a night.

While it can be difficult to sleep when we suffer from anxiety, creating a reliable nighttime routine can help us relax and prepare for a good night's sleep.

Things like progressive relaxation, reading, journaling, and turning off electronic devices at least an hour before bed can help prepare your mind and body for recovery. If you're struggling with racing thoughts and anxiety, it can also be helpful to create a "brain dump" or write a to-do list or worry log as part of your bedtime routine.


Difficulty breathing can be a common physical symptom of anxiety, along with chest tightness and muscle tension. At times like this, we often forget to breathe and end up breathing quickly and shallowly. It may be helpful to practice slow abdominal breathing.

A Word from Verywell

What you need to remember on your journey with generalized anxiety disorder is that you are not alone and you can lead a fulfilling life. While fear and worry get in your way right now and can even feel out of control at times, there are resources, trained professionals, and coping techniques that can help. Learn to control your triggers, seek help and stay positive.

Taking care of yourself is also talking to a professional who can help youtreatment planinstead. Regular conversations with a counselor or other mental health professional can also be helpful in knowing that someone understands your experiences and can help you deal effectively with challenges when they arise.

If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety, contact theSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) National Hotline.Em1-800-662-4357Information about support and treatment centers in your area.

For more mental health resources, visit ourNational Database of Support Lines.

Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Children

6 gears

(Video) Generalized anxiety disorder and coping strategies

Verywell Mind only uses quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to back up the facts in our articles. read ourpublishing processto learn more about how we review our content and keep it accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Gossman W., Munir S., Takov V.Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). E: statistical accounts.

  2. National Collaborating Center for Mental experience. Em:Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Adults: Management in Primary, Secondary, and Community Care.

  3. Hoge EA, Bui E., Marques L., et al.Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation in generalized anxiety disorder: effects on anxiety and stress reactivity.Psychiatry J Clin. 2013;74(8):786–792. doi:10.4088/JCP.12m08083

  4. Morris-Rosendahl DJ.Are there fear genes?.Clin Neurosci Dialogues. 2002;4(3):251–260.

  5. Pozzi G., Frustaci A., Tedeschi D., et al.Coping strategies in a sample of anxious patients: factor analysis and associations with psychopathology.brain behavior. 2015;5(8):e00351. doi:10.1002/brb3.351

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.1 in 3 adults don't get enough sleep.

keep reading

  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illnesses, 5th Edition. American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
  • Davis, M., Echelman, E., and McKay, M. "Handbook of Relaxation and Stress Reduction, 5th Edition." Coastal Books. 2000
  • Romer L, Orsillo SM.Mindfulness and acceptance-based behavioral therapies in practice. 1st edition Guilford Press; 2008

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How do you survive with GAD? ›

Generalized anxiety disorder self-help tip 1: Connect with others
  1. Build a strong support system. ...
  2. Talk it out when your worries start spiraling. ...
  3. Know who to avoid when you're feeling anxious. ...
  4. Be aware that having GAD can get in the way of your ability to connect with others.
Dec 30, 2022

Can you live a normal life with generalized anxiety disorder? ›

With treatment, people with GAD can live full, normal lives free of the small terrors that plagued our everyday lives.

How can I live a good life with anxiety? ›

Here are 11 tips for coping with an anxiety disorder:
  1. Keep physically active. ...
  2. Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. ...
  3. Quit smoking, and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages. ...
  4. Use stress management and relaxation techniques. ...
  5. Make sleep a priority. ...
  6. Eat healthy foods. ...
  7. Learn about your disorder.
Jul 20, 2021

How does generalized anxiety disorder affect daily life? ›

Generalized anxiety disorder is a condition of excessive worry about everyday issues and situations. It lasts longer than 6 months. In addition to feeling worried you may also feel restlessness, fatigue, trouble concentrating, irritability, increased muscle tension, and trouble sleeping.

What should people with GAD avoid? ›

Limit alcohol, caffeine, and sugar consumption. Take time out for yourself every day. Even 20 minutes of relaxation or doing something pleasurable for yourself can be restorative and decrease your overall anxiety level.

Is GAD a serious mental illness? ›

Yes; generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a serious mental illness that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).

Do people with GAD worry all the time? ›

GAD usually involves a persistent feeling of anxiety or dread that interferes with how you live your life. It is not the same as occasionally worrying about things or experiencing anxiety due to stressful life events. People living with GAD experience frequent anxiety for months, if not years.

Is GAD considered a disability? ›

Generalized anxiety disorder and other forms of severe anxiety are often long-term, can be diagnosed by a doctor, and can limit someone from engaging in substantial gainful activity. As long as your condition meets those requirements, it will be considered a disability according to Social Security law.

What worsens generalized anxiety disorder? ›

Avoid unhealthy substance use.

Alcohol and drug use and even nicotine or caffeine use can cause or worsen anxiety. If you're addicted to any of these substances, quitting can make you anxious.

Why is it hard to live with anxiety? ›

Anxiety can be debilitating, especially when it triggers panic attacks. Individuals dealing with anxiety may live in fear of daily activities and feel as if their anxiety dominates their lives. In some cases, people may use substances such as drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their anxiety symptoms.

Does living with anxiety get easier? ›

Once the body recovers from chronic stress, and as we live a much less anxious lifestyle, normal health naturally follows. Managing stress well and containing anxious behavior leads to a normal life. There is no need to worry about not achieving complete recovery since it naturally follows when we do the right work.

Who does generalized anxiety disorder affect the most? ›

GAD is relatively common disorder among children and adolescents. It begins gradually, often in childhood or adolescence, with symptoms that may worsen during times of stress. Worries may switch from one concern to another, and may change with time and age.

How does a person with generalized anxiety disorder Act? ›

People with Generlized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) worry excessively and uncontrollably about daily life events and activities. They often experience uncomfortable physical symptoms, including fatigue and sore muscles, and they can also have trouble sleeping and concentrating.

Does generalized anxiety disorder get worse with age? ›

Does anxiety get worse with age? Anxiety disorders don't necessarily get worse with age, but the number of people suffering from anxiety changes across the lifespan. Anxiety becomes more common with older age and is most common among middle-aged adults.

What happens in your brain when you have GAD? ›

A new University of Wisconsin–Madison imaging study shows the brains of people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) have weaker connections between a brain structure that controls emotional response and the amygdala, which suggests the brain's “panic button” may stay on due to lack of regulation.

Can you overcome GAD without medication? ›

Whether you suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, or another form of anxiety, we may be able to help you reduce or eliminate your symptoms completely. It is certainly possible to treat anxiety without medication!

What causes a lot of GAD? ›

Excess upper intestinal gas can result from swallowing more than a usual amount of air, overeating, smoking or chewing gum. Excess lower intestinal gas can be caused by eating too much of certain foods, by the inability to fully digest certain foods or by a disruption in the bacteria normally found in the colon.

Is GAD worse than anxiety? ›

Although at times the anxiety that all people experience can be somewhat severe, a characteristic of GAD is that this anxiety is usually more intense and long-lasting. If you have more severe anxiety than most other people you know, then it may be more than "normal" anxiety.

How long does GAD typically last? ›

Although the diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder may be made after several months of symptoms, the condition can last years, especially without treatment. Many people experience the symptoms as part of a lifelong pattern.

How Do I Stop overthinking with GAD? ›

Tips for addressing ruminating thoughts
  1. Distract yourself. When you realize you're starting to ruminate, finding a distraction can break your thought cycle. ...
  2. Plan to take action. ...
  3. Take action. ...
  4. Question your thoughts. ...
  5. Readjust your life's goals. ...
  6. Work on enhancing your self-esteem. ...
  7. Try meditation. ...
  8. Understand your triggers.

Is GAD a life long disorder? ›

During the first 5 years, GAD follows a chronic course with low rates of remission and moderate rates of relapse/recurrence following remission. Retrospective studies suggest that this chronic pattern may last up to 20 years.

Will I ever recover from GAD? ›

Following an accurate diagnosis, a person with GAD needs to go through long-term treatment that may include medications, therapy, alternative therapies, lifestyle changes, and healthy coping strategies. Ongoing care is also important, as this is a chronic illness that can relapse.

Can someone overcome GAD? ›

GAD can make daily life feel like a constant state of worry, fear, and dread. The good news is GAD is treatable. Learn more about the symptoms of GAD and how to find help.

Is GAD anxiety a disability? ›

Known as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), this type of illness is a serious mental health impairment and may qualify a person for Social Security disability benefits.

What meds are best for GAD? ›

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are first-choice options for treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). If an SSRI or SNRI doesn't work, there are other options. These include buspirone and hydroxyzine.


1. CBT Generalized Anxiety Disorder (3 Tools To Reclaim Your Life!)
(Barbara Heffernan)
2. HOW TO LIVE WITH GAD //Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder & What It's REALLY LIKE
(Bellindah Gama)
3. Guide to Generalized Anxiety Disorder
(Child Mind Institute)
4. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) - causes, symptoms & treatment
(Osmosis from Elsevier)
5. Generalized Anxiety Disorder: The CBT Approach
(The Washington Center for Cognitive Therapy)
6. What It's Like To Live With Chronic Anxiety
(New York Magazine)
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