I regularly read from the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, I go for walks, I write in a journal, spend time with some friends, and do some hands on activities--wordcarving, woodworking, boating, and a lot more.
The exercise is great for stress relief. Spending time on attention intensive activities like woodcarving is great for taking my mind off of things and teaching me to slow down. Writing and talking out problems with a close corps of friends how I constructively address and attempt to overcome any obstacles bringing me distress. Finally, the Meditations have a lot of great passages that work to humble me and remind me of my place in the universe.
I also try to pour myself more intensively into my work when I am stressed out. Accomplishing goals usually leaves me feeling better.
I'm sure other people do different things.
Noah--anxiety can be a serious problem. My advice? Well, you don't want my advice. Not on this issue.
Have you sought professional help? I would recommend starting there. Good luck!
Turns out you don't want to hear Mr. Danger's advice either.
Face the fear and do it anyway. There's a book of that title, which may or may not be good.
Duty > Fear
1. Mental preparation. You need to expect the worst and prepare for it. Plenty of rest, a good diet and lots of exercise help keep the brain steady. Feeling weak is what happens if you don't tick the aforementioned boxes. When you are strong, then you are confident and when you are confident, then you feel less fear.
2. Experience. That comes from having faced similar fears before. Ok, that is not always possible, but the next best thing is education. This goes back to mental preparation. I know someone who was kidnapped and had a pretty grim time, but came through it with no major psychological problems.
Why was that? This person had studied kidnapping to such a degree that when the person became a victim, the whole experience was entirely familiar. The person knew what to do and how to deal with the mental stress, aka fear. No trips to the shrinks required there.
3. Practice. If you are afraid of being mugged, then do some hard physical sports, something that teaches you to run like hell, or what it feels like to take a lot of painful hits. It can be almost any contact sport, even basketball with its high speed turns and leaps can teach you how to get out of trouble. Then, of course, there is always various forms of self defense.
If you are afraid of being caught out while hitting on a woman, then take acting classes. They are also good for public speaking, talking your way around the law while being pulled for a possible DUI, or asking for a pay rise. It gives you tons of confidence and helps you to anticipate situations. You can't go wrong when the classes teach ad-libbing. It sharpens your brain.
All the world's a stage, baby!
In this case it was something of a hobby, which paid back when it mattered. Forewarned is forearmed.
Personally -- force of will. For irrational fears, once you figure out that your mind is just screwing with you ... screw back. For rational fears, you can only kill me once. Figure out the risk, and decide whether its worth it. Most of the time, even for rational fears, the risk is so miniscule that it ain't worth fretting over.
Reason or necessity usually overcomes fear. Brute force makes-up the difference.
But, I don't have clinical "anxiety" or PTSD or whatever ... so I won't speak to that.