Anxiety doesn’t just make you worry more: Left untreated, anxiety can become physically and mentally exhausting. It saps the strength of its victims, leaving them too tired to do the things they love (like spend time with family or work on hobbies).

Sadly, anxiety is the most common mental disorder in the U.S. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 18.1 percent of the adult American population suffers from clinical anxiety every year. That’s 40 million people, all of whom must fight an internal battle to stay focused and keep their energy levels high.

There is hope, though. Here are a few of the ways people with anxiety can address their mental strain, both in the short term and long term:

1. Consult a professional.
People who suffer from anxiety often feel they’re facing an uphill battle by themselves. However, there are several treatment options available.

If you suffer from anxiety or feel like the stress of life has become overwhelming, reach out to a professional counselor to discuss your options. You might not even need to set up a recurring appointment. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, counselors can recommend personal plans to reduce your stress levels on your own or set up recurring appointments for more guided care.

Don’t let cost get in the way of your mental well-being. You have several options if you can’t afford therapy outright. Put your mental health first, and you will find it much easier to get your financial house in order.

2. Talk to a friend.
Anxiety has a way of putting walls between people. Break down those walls by reaching out to a friend or loved one to have an honest conversation about your experiences. Sometimes, just talking about the anxiety is enough to reduce its effect on your state of mind.

Don’t have anyone to talk to? Check out some online options. Whether you speak to a trained counselor or a total stranger, nothing beats being able to open up to someone willing to lend an ear.

3. Step back for a moment.
The closer you get to the tasks in front of you — your job, your chores, your social commitments — the harder it becomes to recognize that not everything is an emergency. The next time you start to feel stressed, stop what you’re doing and physically step away from the environment for a minute to catch your breath.

When you remove yourself from the task, you’ll likely realize that completing it isn’t as urgent as it felt a few minutes ago. Give yourself permission to take a break for a few minutes, have a drink of water, and focus on something other than the stressor. Try to find something that doesn’t involve your smartphone — recent research suggests that smartphone usage might increase both fatigue and anxiety.

4. Face the fear head-on.
Say everything really does go as badly as you fear it will. Then what? When you follow the thought to its natural conclusion, you will likely realize your fears were overblown from the start.

For instance, say you’re worried that you won’t complete a project on time for work. You worry if you don’t finish, your boss will fire you, which means your family will starve and social services will come take away your children.

Stop and look at that line of thinking more closely: Does the fate of your kids really rest on whether you finish that assignment today? Probably not. When you learn to recognize catastrophic thinking, you can begin to practice the next step.

5. Practice probabilistic thinking.
What are the odds, realistically, that your anxious fears will come to pass? In the previous example, your odds of being fired for needing an extra day to complete a project are low. Even if you receive an official reprimand, you can use that experience to plan better for the next project.

Anxiety tricks the brain into thinking the worst-case scenario is all but inevitable. Rather than accept your fate, think about whether that result is likely, then break down the probability of each event.

You might have a 0.1 percent chance of getting fired for a late project. If you get fired, you have an even smaller chance of not being able to feed your family — food banks and other services can keep you on your feet until your next job. Viewed through the lens of probability, something that once seemed certain becomes nearly impossible.

Anxiety is a sinister and formidable foe. To defeat it, you can’t let it lurk in the shadows: You must face the problem and work to eliminate it. If you suffer from anxiety, use these tips to take back control of your life and regain the energy you once wasted on worry.

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Content written by Stephanie