What are the tips to manage programming anxiety?

This post answers: What are the tips to manage programming anxiety? Which are some online programmer communities which can help with anxiety? What is Anxiety? What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety?  What are the therapy options for anxiety?

What are the tips to manage programming anxiety?

Some tips to deal with programming anxiety are:

Try to learn without worrying too much

Often individuals might experience a sense of programming anxiety when they view vast resources from which they can learn however individuals must try and avoid the anticipation about how they will manage to learn everything and start gradually with the process.

Start small

Individuals must start with small goals and then move to bigger ones. Thinking about making a huge website in the initial phases of learning can be very overwhelming leading to a negative association between programming and stress.

Break your code into smaller chunks

Instead of trying to work with more complex problems at a go individuals must try and break down these into smaller chunks that they can solve easily during their learning process which also acts as a motivation to move towards much bigger ones. However, if an individual starts at very complex ones the chances of failure are higher and a negative association will be formed between programming and a sense of anxiety.

Take deep breaths

When individuals experience high levels of anxiety while programming they must try and take deep breaths to calm down within a few minutes. Researchers believe that taking in deep breaths at the time of stress can help to lower heart rate and also reduce the symptoms of anxiety that might overwhelm an individual.

Apart from breathing individuals can also carry out mindful meditation for about 5 minutes which helps them to calm down and get back to their routine.

Take a break

When individuals experience anxiety while programming they can take a quick break. Reports indicate that frequent breaks in between work hours act as a source of motivation and also might contribute to increased creativity in some cases.

According to the Oregon State University, some tips for taking successful breaks that help individuals feel active and ready to get back to work are:

  • Setting a time limit for one break and sticking to it
  • Having a good change in the background or set by going outside
  • Using some form of physical stimulation such as stretching
  • Getting back to work when it’s time

Take everything in moderation

Individuals must be conscious about their intakes in terms of food and beverage. Certain kinds of food can make individuals sluggish while some kinds of beverages such as caffeine when taken in excess might cause anxiety and individuals.

An individual must be mindful about the choices and quantity that they consume daily as it greatly impacts their mood and behavior leading to high levels of programming anxiety.

Some individuals might also consider taking alcohol while working as it is a depressant and reduces anxiety however when this becomes a habit it might act against the individual in form of addiction and resulting anxiety due to withdrawal.

What are the tips to manage programming anxiety?

Have a look around

Many times individuals might experience programming anxiety because they feel they are alone in this challenging situation. However, individuals must understand that there are many social groups and people who are ready to help them unconditionally such as their friends and families or even professionals.

Try and help others

Research indicates that in a competitive field such as software development helping others makes people feel more meaningful. When individuals feel important they also gain a sense of confidence and their perspective of looking at everyone as competition might also decrease reducing their levels of stress and anxiety associated with it.

Which are some online programmer communities which can help with anxiety?

Some online programmer communities which can help with anxiety:

Stack Overflow: 

Is the world’s largest online community for developers to develop, communicate, and enhance their skills.


Is a forum where developers and designers discover and discuss how to design websites, build applications for mobiles, create themes for WordPress, write programs, HTML, and more.

Dev.to or simply DEV

Is a website where software engineers can post content, engage in conversations, and build their profile details.


Guided by Sharon is a Twitter chat that’s grown into a welcoming, worldwide group of people starting to learn to program.

What is Anxiety?

Problems and resulting stress are usually accompanied by some common emotions like confusion, feeling at the edge, a sense of helplessness, and recurrent negative thoughts which can collectively be seen as an individual experiencing what’s commonly called  Anxiety. 

Every human has their unique ways of dealing with these difficult situations and the following emotions, some try to adapt to the circumstances and find the best and most comfortable solution while others try to find an escape route for the same, in both cases the main aim is usually to get over the uncomfortable emotions of anxiety. 

What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety? 

Anxiety is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:


  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of choking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

What are the therapy options for anxiety?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy


It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.


Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time


Experiencing programming anxiety might be common amongst those who selected the field of coding and software development however individuals must understand that it is a profession that they have taken by choice and every profession have their challenges.

In cases where individuals are experiencing very high levels of anxiety which is impacting their functionality, they must consult mental health professionals to get effective treatment.

Frequently asked questions: What are the tips to manage programming anxiety?

Does programming cause anxiety?

Experiencing anxiety as a software developer or a programmer is very natural and seen in a growing number of individuals.

Is programming mentally draining?

Programming as a professional can be very exhausting both mentally and physically after a long programming stint.

Do programmers experience burnout?

It is possible for software developers and coders to experience a sense of burnout.

Are programmers sad?

Programmers might experience a sense of stress and anxiety because of the profession itself but maybe due to the excessive pressure caused while working in some situations.

Is the coding job stressful?

Coding as a profession can be very stressful and anxiety-provoking during the initial stages.