Managing Anxiety

Managing Anxiety

Stacey Lambert, PsyD, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; Chair of the Clinical Psychology Department.

Tips for Healthy Management of Anxiety

  • Exercise: Get accustomed to the various physical sensations so that they are not experienced as only indicators of danger. For example, one may breathe heavily after a brisk walk and this does not signify the onset of panic. 
  • Breathe deeply: This allows for a more efficient intake of oxygen that creates a sense of relaxation. 
  • Purposefully relax your muscles to create a feeling of calm. 
  • Utilize self-soothing statements such as “I can do it”. Try to individually tailor the statements to the situation. 
  • Distraction is your friend: Focus your mind on other thoughts and activities as opposed to dwelling on the source of your anxiety. 
  • Engage in imagery: A great way to make a mental escape is to conjure up a safe, happy place such as a sunny beach. 
  • Assess the probability of the feared stimulus actually occurring: Often we overestimate the likelihood of the most negative outcome happening so it is useful to put it in perspective. It is possible but improbable that the elevator will get stuck, for example. 

Different strategies are favored by different individuals, so try them all on for size and stick with the ones that work best for you. It is good to have a few options. Remember, like any other skill, the above must be practiced regularly so that they become over learned and available for use when needed.


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