17 small, but significant, lifestyle changes that help people with anxiety.

While it’s easy — and understandable — to roll your eyes when someone offers a “miracle cure” for your anxiety (Yes! I have tried yoga! Thanks for asking!!), it’s also important to acknowledge this truth: There are day-to-day changes you can make that might help you manage your anxiety.

We’re not talking about a miracle cure. We’re not saying breathing on a mat will make your problems go away. It’s just important to remember while you’re rolling your eyes that you’re not helpless in this fight.

While something that worked for one person might not work for you, that doesn’t mean nothing works for you — or that daily, destructive anxiety is inevitable.


Of course, that being said, anxiety will still happen, and when it rears its ugly head, it’s not your fault. It doesn’t mean you didn’t “try hard enough.” But for some of us, a slight change or tweak in our routine can at least make the fall a little softer, and the anxiety a bit more manageable.

Making small changes also doesn’t replace seeing a therapist or taking medication, if that’s what you need. It’s just important to know there are options out there.

To find out some small changes people made that made a significant difference in their life with anxiety, our partners at The Mighty reached out to their mental health community.

Here’s what they shared:

1. Making Your Bed Every Morning

“I make my bed in the morning. That way I start my day feeling like I’ve already accomplished something. Also, no matter how bad the day is, I have something nice to come home to.” — Clarissa L.

via Henrik Nyh / Flickr

2. Keeping Your Phone on Silent

“I keep my phone on silent. I never realized how much anxiety came from sudden phone calls or texts I wasn’t expecting. It doesn’t help that 9/10 times it’s a text that causes me more anxiety/drama/stress.” — Kathryn W

3. Opening Up to Others About Your Anxiety

“Being really open and honest with everyone that I have severe anxiety. When it’s really bad, I’m more open about it rather than hiding. I also draw a little smiley face on my wrist every day and make myself think a happy thought each time I see it!” — Cherokee M.

“Nightly check ins with my boyfriend. It helps to discuss the day and talk about what’s bothering me and the positive and negative things that happened. Helps set me up for sleep. Thank goodness he’s understanding and so patient with me when my anxiety becomes overwhelming for me.” — Monica T.

“I’ve informed people of my anxiety and have told them I need to leave the area for a reason and to please don’t take it personally, and please give me my space.” — Bailey S.

4. Spending Less Time on Social Media/Limiting Screen Time

“Temporary Facebook breaks by uninstalling the app. I can still browse through the mobile site, but it’s more inconvenient and makes me less likely to spend hours on there.” — Randi D.

“I limit my social media. It seemed my anxiety would rise every time I went on, because I was comparing my life to everyone’s highlight reel and it was doing a number on my self-esteem.” — Jen S.

“I try my best not to reach for my phone first thing in the morning. It’s not easy when it’s the alarm going off, but I turn it off and then I reach for my dogs. I try to spend a few minutes cuddling with them before I do anything else, like check my emails or Facebook. Before reality gets a chance to get in, I give my girls a chance to get their love in. They are far more important and loving them sets a better tone for my day.” — Nicole R.

“Having complete days where I switch off. No phone, internet or leaving the house. Ultimate recharge, in my place of security and serenity, without distractions.” — Capri B.

5. Saying “No”

“Being honest and telling people no. Saying ‘maybe’ doesn’t help… I’m telling you no for a reason, respect that and don’t come back at me for it. I’m trying my best, but I have my limits on what I can do. If I can do it I will do it.” — Saige D.

via Henry Burrows / Flickr

6. Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques (a.k.a. Jedi Mind Tricks)

“I basically do a Jedi mind trick on myself. (Being a nerd helps with my anxiety too lol.) Here’s how it works: I try to objectively reflect on and assess my day. For example, I’ll think about what happened that day and rate how good the day was. However, I have to be able to provide ‘evidence’ from the day to back up my rating. Since anxiety convinces me I had a crappy day, when I make my day concrete by reflecting on the specific goals I did meet and the specific things I did accomplish and the specific little surprises that were positive, I see it was actually a good day. My attitude towards the day improves. It’s cut down on how often I claim I had a crappy day. I can tell if it was just the anxiety or actually a crappy day. If it was just the anxiety, reflecting has helped me see anxiety was lying and my memory of the day becomes positive. I guess it’s a type of daily gratitude practice. I even have an app that I can use to track how I rated my days so I can see patterns and I can visually see that I actually have more good days than bad ones.” — Jessica R.

7. Starting a Mindfulness Practice

“Yoga and meditation! Mindfulness is really helpful, it helps you stay in the present moment. also focusing on my breathing, deep breaths. They help me stay grounded.” — Eirenne E.

“Gratitude and mindfulness have worked really well and after being repeatedly told in therapy this works, I hesitantly tried it out. And it does work. Anxiety is often so future-focused about what may or may not happen. Mindfulness and gratitude keep you in the moment and help you appreciate what you already have. For example, every morning on my way to work, I have a gratitude mindfulness exercise. I notice the sunrise and appreciate it beauty, different colors, textures, etc. In that moment, I am not worried about work that day or remembering something that didn’t go well the day before. It is just me and the sunrise.” — Alyssa P.

“I’ve taken up meditation. I decided to download a few guided meditation sessions and I now meditate twice a day. My first is a general session in the morning, and at night it’s a session about whatever bothered me throughout the day. It helps a lot.” — Brianna N.

via Sebastien Wiertz / Flickr

8. Writing Down Your Schedule/To-Do List

“I have a daily planner, but I also use a chalkboard wall, sticky notes and an app on my phone to make reminders and notes of encouragement more visible. It’s one of the best things I’ve done to cope with both anxiety and ADHD.” — Kami L.

9. Working Out

“The gym. Mostly on the treadmill or the bikes. Simple but slow workouts. I do it early in the a.m. If I start having an episode, walking or running in place helps.” — Jordan S.

10. Practicing Acceptance

“Accepting this as part of who I am. It allows me to step back when needed, totally guilt-free. Also letting go of how it makes others feel, guilt-free. It doesn’t change the level of anxiety, it only takes away the guilt of having it.” — Kathi F.

11. Cutting Toxic People/Things Out of Your Life

“I dropped all the toxic people in my life. Block. Delete. So simple. I unfollowed all the news and political pages on Twitter and Facebook. Life is so much better being a little selfish and putting my needs first. You can’t pour from an empty cup. As bitchy and heartless as I may sound, I’m actually able to love and care for those who actually care about me better after getting rid of the draining relationships.” — Naoko P.

“Cutting out people who are negative and bring me down not just on social media but I’ve had to tell former friends I’m done. It was hard when there was still so much there, but the constant disappointment was not worth it.”– Allison M.

“I remove all toxic people from my life. And I try to avoid encounters with people like that as often as I can. The biggest change I’ve made is breaking up with the most toxic ex-boyfriend I’ve ever had and getting out of the most toxic relationship I have ever been in. Reminding myself to breathe every day is extremely important. Relax. And to remember that things take time.” — Jessa P.

12. Establishing a Bedtime Routine

“I’ve established a bedtime routine. May sound silly, but after brushing teeth, etc., I wash my hands with a lavender soap. And use a good smell on my hands. Then climb into bed and take a few deep breaths. While repeating my mantra, ‘You are physically, mentally, emotionally safe. The world is not out to get you. Nothing is as bad as it seems.’ It really helps me.” — Niki T.

“I get everything I need for the day ready the night before so I don’t have to think too early in the morning. I also make my bed before I leave in the morning which is great because coming home after a long day to a made bed is fantastic. My room stays neat and clean which helps keep my mind at ease.” — Alexis H.

“I write down all the things I need to do the next day before I go to bed. It helps me fall asleep because I’m less worried about forgetting a responsibility.” — Maisie B.

via Sam Javanrough / Flickr

13. Journaling

“I keep a journal now to track what was happening when I began to feel myself getting overwhelmed. Inside the cover is a list of grounding techniques. This helps me track my triggers and find ways to cope/avoid those situations.” — Megan K.

14. Finding Something to Do With Your Hands

“I take my crochet with me everywhere I go now. It helps me while I sit and talk to people. Even if I’m not talking to someone, it can help bring a great conversation starter and helps ease my tension, as I keep my hands busy.” — Tatauq M.

15. Cutting Out Caffeine

“I’ve cut the majority of caffeine from my life. I stick to herbal tea, and occasionally will have a green tea or decaf coffee. Since this change, I’ve had significantly fewer panic attacks.” — Ashley S.

“Cut out caffeine and drink more water. I was told by a therapist that it would help and it does. I noticed without the caffeine I don’t feel as anxious. Not only does it help with my anxiety, but I know I’m hydrated.” — Amanda W.

“I quit caffeine! Not having that extra jolt when I get anxious has really helped keep my panic levels lower. Yes, it was hard — but worth it!” — Polly B.

16. Giving Yourself Time in the Morning to Prepare for the Day

“Giving myself enough time in the morning to prepare for the day. It has made a huge difference in being able to have the right mindset before leaving the house.” — Stephanie Q.

“I wake up an hour earlier to get some alone and free time in my home before everyone else wakes up.” — Alicia H.

17. Practicing Gratitude

“Listing three things I’m thankful for every day (no repeats, if I’m thankful for the sun one day then I can’t say that ever again) and going on a walk.” — Crystal G.

“When I think something negative, I have to stop and think of something I am grateful for. Example — I got a flat tire and I would’ve normally been upset, but I remembered I had the foresight to get AAA two years ago because I was scared about something happening. I said thank you to my anxiety because now I was covered. Sounds weird but it works.” — Karri H.

This article was originally published by our partners at The Mighty and was written by Sarah Schuster.

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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

via Hennepin County Sheriff

The verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minnesota police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, has many breathing a sigh of relief. Even though the disturbing video evidence of Floyd dying under Chauvin's knee is impossible to refute, it's incredibly hard to convict an officer of murder.

The United States judicial system is so preferential to law enforcement that even though the world saw murder in broad daylight, many were skeptical of whether he'd be convicted.

"Most people, I think, believe that it's a slam dunk," David Harris, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and an expert in policing, told the Washington Post before the trial. "But he said, "the reality of the law and the legal system is, it's just not."

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

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Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

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Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

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Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.