Self-Help Techniques and Tools in Anxiety Counselling

Self-Help Techniques and Tools in Anxiety Counselling

Anxiety can often feel like an unwelcome guest that disrupts your day-to-day life. While professional counselling is an effective approach to managing anxiety, complementing therapy with self-help techniques and tools can enhance your ability to cope. These strategies empower you to take active steps toward maintaining your mental well-being on your own terms. Let’s explore some self-help techniques and tools that you can incorporate alongside professional counselling to manage anxiety more effectively.

Mindfulness: A Game Changer

Mindfulness is a technique that involves staying present and fully engaged with whatever we are doing at the moment, without judgment and without being overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It allows you to observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without having to react to them.

Practical Tip: Start by practicing mindfulness for a few minutes each day. You can do this by focusing on your breath or by doing a mindful observation of your surroundings. Apps like Headspace or Calm offer guided mindfulness exercises that are perfect for beginners.

Deep Breathing Techniques

Deep breathing is a simple yet powerful tool to reduce anxiety. It helps slow down your heart rate and provides oxygen to your brain, promoting a state of calmness. Breathing exercises can be particularly helpful during moments of heightened anxiety or panic attacks.

Practical Tip: Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds, and exhale slowly for 8 seconds. Repeat this cycle four times when you feel anxious.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

Progressive Muscle Relaxation involves tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in the body. This practice helps you become more aware of physical sensations and aids in releasing tension in the muscles.

Practical Tip: Start with your toes and work your way up to your neck and head. Tense each muscle group for about five seconds and then relax it for 30 seconds. Notice the difference in how your muscles feel when they are tense versus when they are relaxed.

Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring is a core part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), but it can also be practiced on your own. This technique involves identifying negative, irrational thoughts and challenging them to consider more balanced and realistic perspectives.

Practical Tip: Keep a thought diary. Whenever you experience anxiety, write down the thoughts that are going through your mind at that moment. Later, challenge these thoughts by asking yourself how true they are and by considering more rational alternatives.


Visualization or guided imagery is a relaxation technique that involves imagining a scene in which you feel at peace, free to let go of all tension and anxiety. It utilizes the power of your mind to induce calmness.

Practical Tip: Find a quiet place where you can close your eyes and imagine a peaceful scene, such as a beach or a quiet forest. Engage all your senses—what do you see, hear, smell, and feel? Spend a few minutes in this space when you feel anxious.

Lifestyle Modifications

Incorporating regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep are essential self-care strategies that can significantly impact your anxiety levels. Each of these lifestyle choices promotes a healthier body and mind, making you better equipped to handle stress.

Practical Tip: Try incorporating at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise into your daily routine. Even a walk around the neighborhood can make a difference.


While professional help is invaluable in managing anxiety, integrating these self-help techniques into your daily routine can bolster your efforts. Each of these strategies offers a practical way to enhance the coping skills you develop in therapy, providing you with a comprehensive toolkit to manage anxiety. Remember, the key is consistency and a willingness to experiment with different techniques to discover what works best for you.


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