The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques
Based on the work by Margaret Wehrenberg (author), 2008
I. Managing the Anxious Body
1. Change Your Intake
Limit your C.A.T.S. (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, & sweetener), Set communication boundaries to reduce
always having to be on alert, ex. Turn off your phone, Take sensory breaks, ex. sit in a quiet space, Eat nutritious foods.
To prevent a panic attack, diminish & stop panic if already started, relieve muscle tension, and avoid stress from building.
3. Practice Mindfulness with Shifting Awareness
Divert your attention to the environment to decrease your focus on panicsymptoms or focus on your breathing or internal world to reduce anxious symptoms caused by social anxiety.
Progressive muscle relaxation + diaphragmatic breathing, martial arts, yoga, meditation, exercise, slow down, sleep.
II. Managing the Anxious Mind
5. Stop Catastrophizing
You can control the way you think. Learn that a feeling is just a feeling! You can tolerate uncomfortable
sensations because they too shall pass- if you don’t focus on them. Use positive self-talk, ex. “Panic is not lethal.” Debunk thoughts about dying, going crazy, or losing control. Create a coping plan to prepare yourself for previously triggering situations. Show anger.
6. Stop Anxious Thoughts
Tell your brain, “stop” when worrying or thinking a negative thought. Next, replace that thought with an equally intense positive one and repeat it, sing, talk, or recite something to compete with the thought, distract yourself, refocuson the task you were engaged in before the thought, BE PERSISTENT. This technique takes practice, but is very rewarding.
7. Contain Your Worry
Get the worry out in the open to see if it’s a real problem or a worry. 2. If it’s a real problem, make a plan, Vs. 3. It’s a worry, so stop & contain it 4. Reassure yourself, “I am competent to manage this anxiety.” Ditch your dread!
8. Talk Yourself Into Changing Behavior
Seek help, Change self-talk, Learn about anxiety, Ask yourself, “SO WHAT?”, use the ABCD method- activating event/trigger, anxious belief, consequences of A & B, & demands you place, & challenge the belief.
III. Managing Anxious Behavior
9. Control TMA (Too Much Activity)
Plan for unexpected free time, counter perfectionism, identify your values & whether
your use of time fits your values, assess & achieve emotional, physical, and mental life balance, include FUN & relaxation in schedule.
10.Implement a Plan and Practice
You CAN unlearn fear! Take time to determine what you want out of life & assess what
makes you anxious & what skills you need. Then, set goals, build skills, break them into manageable parts and accomplish them one by one, & practice in private, then in real life. If experienced trauma, seek desensitization methods with a professional to recover.
“Everybody worries, but people with generalized anxiety elevate worry to an
art form” (Wehrenberg, p. 127)
Through researched techniques, real client stories, and humor, Wehrenberg teaches a new art form-
Conquering your anxiety, feeling better, & living a full, peaceful life.
Summarized by Lana Isaacson, LCSW, CAC III