#Wellbeing series: A guide on how to manage anxiety and worry

Unwind your mind – A guide on how to manage anxiety and worry

Buzz Manchester Health & Wellbeing Service


  • There are many different forms of anxiety and can range from feelings of unease and worry to feeling fear and panic. 
  • Although it might be unpleasant, anxiety is a natural and normal response to feeling threatened or being in a stressful situation. 

Some stressful situations include:

  • Sitting in an exam
  • Opening the mail
  • Speaking in public
  • Moving house
  • Losing your job
  • Going to a party

There are different types of anxiety

  • Panic – strong, sometimes sudden
  • feelings of panic or fear that are hard to control
  • Phobias – fear of something that poses little or no actual danger
  • Social phobia – fear or anxiety about being in public or social events
  • Health anxiety – constant worry or fear of getting ill or dying generalise anxiety disorder – constant worry about everyday things
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder – unwanted and frequent thoughts and fears can lead a person to repeat actions again and again to try settle their anxiety 
  • Post traumatic stress disorder – long-term anxiety following a traumatic event

Recognising anxiety

  • You feel – anxious, worried, scared, nervous, like something awful is going to happen, tense, on edge, stressed, panicky
  • Your mind is – racing and hard to switch off, going over and over things, finding it hard to focus, over-estimating danger, unable to control or stop worrying
  • Your thoughts – I can’t cope, things are out of control, I’m going mad
  • You might behave – not being able to sit still, avoiding places that make you anxious, being snappy and irritable, eating and and sleeping more or less, drinking, taking drugs or smoking

Your body symptoms are – can’t sleep, heart racing, chest pain, shortness of breath, blurry vision, feel sick, headaches, tired, forgetful, tearful, sweating, shaking 

Causes of anxiety

Anxiety can stem from early childhood experiences or develop gradually at some point in their life.

  • Beliefs about the world – you might have a fear of being judged by others, feel unable to cope around large crowds ore at social events 
  • Childhood events – childhood abuse or traumatic events can have an impact that continues into adulthood
  • Stressful life events – this could be anything that you personally find stressful, including losing a job, relationship breakdown or a bereavement
  • Being under a lot of pressure – this could be at home or work eg. work/studies, family commitments/problems, being in debt and not having enough money

Anxiety can become a long-term problem because things that happen in your life and past experiences all have an affect on your thoughts, emotions, your body and your behaviour like a ripple effect.

A thought diary can help you figure out what you are thinking and make you more aware of what your thoughts are and how they affect you, more details can be seen on pg. 11 of the guide.

Treat your anxiety

Your thoughts are messages from your brain. They are often random and automatic. 

When you have an unhelpful thought learn to do one of the four D’s

  • Demand evidence – you need to challenge your thought to find out if they are true or not before jumping to conclusions
  • Dismiss the thought – it is safe to stop worrying if you are worrying over something that doesn’t matter and is not important, if it is not likely to happen, something that is not under my control
  • Distract yourself – try coming up with a list of things you could do and write them down to help you with distracting yourself
  • Do something about it – to overcome anxiety it is important to face your fears slowly

Remember, anxiety and worry are a normal part of everyday life 

Six steps to problem solving

  • What is the problem? – identify a problem you want to tackle
  • What could work? – come up with as many ideas as you possibly can
  • Work out the good/bad – work out what is good about each solution and then what is bad about each solution 
  • What will you try? – choose the one that seems to be the best. Look at things that are good or bad about each solution to help you decide.
  • What will you do? – include what you are going to do and when you plan to do it.
  • What happened? – review what happened and see how well it worked. 

Looking after yourself

You can look after yourself in many ways. The skill of looking after you and paying attention to your needs is important. 

Eat well 

  • your brain uses up more than 50% of the energy in the food you eat, that is why it is important to eat starchy food.
  • Eating your five-a-day helps improve physical mental health. It includes fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit and vegetables
  • It is also important to eat protein and drink enough liquids each day

Get active

  • This is great for releasing stress
  • Choose something that you enjoy and can fit into your lifestyle 

Sleep Well

  • You can use relaxation and breathing techniques in bed to help you to fall asleep

Get a routine

  • Having a routine can help you ensure that you look after yourself every day


  • Relaxing helps the body and mind recover and rest. For example: read a book, paint and draw, knit, spend time with animals etc.

Looking after yourself

Connect – building bonds with people can help you feel supported and it can also allow you to feel closer to others.

Give – this is about doing something nice for others. Helping others can make you feel good about yourself. 

Keep learning – Learn or rediscover skills. It builds confidence and esteem. You will feel more able to come with life

Take notice – noticing the world around you can put things in perspective and brighten your day

Ask for help if you need it – Don’t be ashamed to ask for emotional or practical help and support when you need it.

It is a sign of strength not weakness.  

For a full guide visit: https://d1jw0l0b625fbx.cloudfront.net/docs/Unwind-Your-Mind-December-2016.pdf

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