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18 Ways to Distract from Anxiety

We reached out to members of our audience for suggestions on how to best deal with day-to-day anxiety. Distraction was by far the most common response, so we broke those answers out here into these 18 ways to distract from anxiety:

1. Listen to soothing music

2. Cuddle with pets

3. Eat your favorite snack or have a cup of tea

4. Take a long walk

5. Exercise

"Exercise, exercise, exercise! I can't go without it." - Cindy












6. Do yoga

7. Play some sports

8. Read a book or magazine

9. Writing and journaling

"There are times where I want to let my thoughts out, but I really don’t feel like talking, so I scribble down my thoughts on random pieces of paper, in a notebook I keep in my purse, or whatever paper is near me." - Melanie












10. Draw or sketch 

11. Color adult coloring books

12. Watch Netflix or other entertaining programs

"If you want to 'get lost' in something and really be distracted, Netflix marathons are awesome." - Melanie












13. Play video games

14. Practice positive thoughts and visualization

"Rather than worry about an uncertain future, I plan and solve problems. If I can't do that, I think about my happy place (usually at night before sleep) or my next craft project." - Candy












15. Get out of the house (and shop, socialize or simply enjoy the day)

16. Clean

17. Humor and laughter

18. Nap, or lay down for a while

"I retreat to a safe place, sofa or bed, and stay there until I can get back up and function." - Jennifer


I live in Colorado so I get high. If in public I seem to cling to my husband & eat an eatable.


when i get a Anxiety attack there is nothing I can do. I tell myself it will be okay. I have tried it so many times now, and I try to tell myself there is nothing to be afraid of, it dos not help. I always, home or in public, think I will die. There are lots of NoUseWebsite like this one. Nothing helps I have ups and i have downs, but I am never free, I dont have the resources to establish a way of life that would improve my mind, and as long as I don't have this I won't be able to gather the resources to establish a way of life that would improve my mind.

Thank you for your ideas. I am just finding relief with similar issues and you added a few I didn't think of.

Hopeless: This is a great list. I too suffer great anxiety along with bi polar 1 rapid cycling. Anxiety is with me every day and is usually very high. I have a bag I have with me no matter where I go. I have my phone with headset, mine has music, mindfulness meditations and games that make you think so your distracted from the anxiety. My adult colouring is in there, my crocheting, a book and little cards with places to go and do. Like my favourite path to hike along the water, go feed the duck. And also que cards with all the numbers for my support system in case I run into trouble. I've even gone to parks and swing in swings and climbers and I'm 52. I will be damned if this illness is going to take me down. I was a very severe case with my illness and I've been digging myself out of the whole two years now. Look into therapy I know I'm taking DBT therapy and it's been amazing and DBT is is also very good. There's lots of resources you just have to keep calling places and push them. Your the only advocate for yourself, stand up and be proud. The work is exhausting but ecstatic to be doing it. Excercise is my go too. Find something you like, I do Aquafit and run 5k, I could never have done that when I was younger. mindfullness is a big part of the therapy session. I know my to do list for the summer is a little off the wall according to him. So to make a sandcastle, 2 specific lakes to swim in, paddle boarding, hike in the woods and have a picnic. Zip lining and I hate the scare but gonna master my fears. I'm flying in a very small plane to go to a camp and fish, canoe. Also walk the water with no shoes and see the sunset. So many small things to enjoy and do help with anxiety. Mine anyway. Do the park thing and be surprised at how many friends you make that are so little. They always hate to see go. I hope my story helped gives you some inspiration. I'm spiralling quite bad between manic/depressive episodes and have made poor choices and got hurt quite bad. I'm managing it 10 minutes at a time and do what I need to so I don't suffer anymore than I have to. I find distracting my mind is the best and have fun with it. Just telling you all this so you can see there is hope and I'm not stable at all. Chin up and know you can do it.

I feel very good to know there is hope. I suffer really severe anxiety and with 5 children being 36 years old it’s really hard. I’m on break down

This was extreemly helpful to read today and helped me rethink some of the ways I let my anxiety win and control me. Thank you for sharing. It means a lot. I hope you are doing well ❤️


Thank you reading this really changed the course of my day, I woke up feeling a little low and off as if a panic attack or episode was just waiting to happen and after reading this knowing I’m not alone really changed my thinking in a positive way!

All of these suggest are great, but what do you do when you have a panic attack in public.
I have found the only thing that helps me is to stop, close my eyes, place my hand on my breast bone, taking deep slow breaths and counting them at the same time.
Counting and slowing my breaths both distracts and soothes me.
It takes practice and you have to get over the fear others might be watching you, but it works for me.

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Best is talking with a friend

i cant sit still at the moment and it sucks so bad all of these seem useless, i want to eat everything i see uhg

I find a scriptures in the Bible that gives me thoughts of HOPE, TRUST, LOVING KINDNESS and PROTECTION...etc. This what I do to OVERRIDE the painful emotional memories and physical sufferings. I then write the verses to include the names of my Late Mother, other Believers, and myself. I then visualize seeing, speaking, and trusting in Jesus Christ NAME to bring it to pass for us. The POWER of His finish works on the Cross intentionally buildups my Faith in HIS WORDS. My confidence for what I am HOPING FOR FROM GOD TO HEAL, RESTORE, MAKE RIGHT, SALVATION AND BLESS.

I can't stop my mind from racing and normally I would smoke weed but I'm kinda being forced to get sober so I can't really do that anymore... I need help distracting myself and doing the little things doesn't help because it just makes me think about everything else more.

God is love god is kind, he is gently, he is peace and slow to anger he loves you very, very much and wants you to be at peace and to rejoice in his name. May god bless you AMD keep you all your days. Worry not for the future but rejoice in the moment to do with praise and honor and loving kindness - David McKinney

I don’t know when my anxiety started acting up. Almost every day I barely breathe and feel like I’ma die. Especially at night, it gets worse. I try doing deep breathe but it only helps for 10 mi it’s. I get scared every time I get shortness of breathe. Someone advice me please

I’ve been having pains in my abdomen which kind of scared me. I tought it was something serious, but my doctor said that I just have stomach flue. Rationally I know she is probablly right and that I am fussing over nothing, but I just can’t help the uneasy felling. Whenever I think about it my heart starts to race, the pain comes back and I start kind of panicking. I suffered from some anxiety previously, but I didn’t know it can come in this form. Can someone please tell if they had a similar experience? I honestly don’t know what to think of it.

I have just developed health anxiety when I worry I Feel the pain But when I’m distracted I don’t feel any pain

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