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Lists to help with anxiety and reduce stress

Lists can be a helpful tool for managing anxiety and reducing stress. Whether you are dealing with general anxiety or a specific type of anxiety disorder, or going through a stressful phase, making lists can help you feel more in control and reduce stress levels. By breaking down your thoughts and tasks into manageable chunks, you can organise your mind and make it easier to focus on what really matters.

There are many different types of lists that can be helpful for anxiety. Making lists is not the solution for anxiety as there are professionals who can help, and other techniques that lists can be used alongside. But most people can make lists, so it could help with a first step in making you feel more in control with the things that trigger anxiety.

Lists can provide structure, organization, and a sense of control

Lists have so many benefits: they help with organisation, better habits, avoiding feeling out of control, help you recognise successes, and note goals to aim for.  Lists can also help with general well-being, so here’s some list ideas to help reduce anxiety and stress.

lists to help anxiety and stress

Lists to help with anxiety and reduce stress

To-do list 

A to-do list can help you prioritise tasks and avoid feeling overwhelmed by everything you need to do. 

Gratitude or happy list

Great for focusing on the positive things in your life and boost your mood. 

Achievements and successes

This list doesn’t have to be the big goals. It can be the little things each day, because the little things can combine to make a big difference.

Worry list 

Opposite to gratitude, a worry list can help identify and address specific concerns and worries you have, rather than letting them swirl around in your head. Think ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ – if you can’t speak to someone, maybe putting pen to paper will help getting concerns out.

Breathing Exercises

Try a list of different breathing exercises which may help calm the mind and body. You can switch between different techniques until you find what works for you.

A simple technique is to take slow, deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Another method is to breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of seven, and exhale for a count of eight. 

Mindfulness techniques list

Mindfulness involves being present in the moment and observing thoughts and feelings without judging those feelings and thoughts. There are many techniques to try out, from meditation to colouring, to sitting outside and listening to sounds around you.

Physical activities

Physical activities can help release tension and improve mood. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Add different types of activities to your list to try, both current interests and new activities, solo and with others.

Social support networks

Having a support system can help reduce anxiety so why not list all those available or that you think may be useful to you.. This could include friends, family, or a therapist. It can be helpful to make a list of people to reach out to when feeling anxious..

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Self-care ideas

Self-care ideas and taking time to do them can help physically, emotionally, and mentally. Making a list also helps with encouraging you to take time for self care.

Hopes and dreams list

If you can find a way to have a list of your hopes and dreams without putting pressure on yourself, then this can be a great way to look at opportunities. Break down the big goals into small steps, and be flexible about timings.

Bullet journal

A bullet journal can combine different types of lists in one place, and making them visual may help take them in and keep your interest.

Why not also check out my list of ways to de-stress and relax.

What techniques and lists do you use to reduce stress or help with anxiety?

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  1. another way you could use lists is that you could list your triggers and then work out how to manage the triggers or to problem-solve solutions to overcome those triggers

  2. When I’m feeling anxious, I either journal, read, play videogames, or work out. They all help differently! Great list of other things you can write xx


  3. Really good suggestions, I am a big list person! I am someone who usually thinks quite negatively about myself, so to try and help I made a “FEEL GOOD” email folder where I keep any emails of good pieces of work or positive comments, so I have a list of reminders that I can do some good work from time to time haha!

    1. That is a great idea. I use a feedback folder in my work email – it helps with remembering for annual review time, but I’d never thought of it for a boost.

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