Anxiety Toolkit

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural emotional response to perceived threats or uncertainties in our lives. It's a feeling of worry, nervousness, or fear about future events or situations, which may or may not be imminent. Anxiety can be a normal part of life and can even be helpful in certain situations, as it keeps us alert and cautious. However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming, constant, or interferes with daily activities, it may indicate an anxiety disorder that requires attention and management.


Exercises to Help Manage Anxiety and Stress

Breathing Exercises

Deep Belly Breathing:

Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.

Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.

Inhale slowly through your nose, feeling your abdomen rise and expand. Make sure your chest remains relatively still.

Exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your abdomen fall. Focus on making your exhale longer than your inhale.

Continue this deep belly breathing for a few minutes, focusing on the rise and fall of your abdomen.

4-7-8 Breathing:

Sit in a relaxed position and close your eyes.

Inhale through your nose for a count of 4.

Hold your breath for a count of 7.

Exhale slowly and completely through your mouth for a count of 8.

Repeat this cycle for four breaths and gradually increase the number of cycles as you become comfortable with the technique.

Grounding Exercises

5-4-3-2-1 Technique:

Look around and identify 5 things you can see.

Notice 4 things you can touch or feel (e.g., the texture of an object, the ground beneath your feet).

Acknowledge 3 things you can hear (e.g., sounds from nature, background noises).

Identify 2 things you can smell (e.g., scents in the air, any aroma around you).

Focus on 1 thing you can taste or recall a taste from a recent meal or drink.

This exercise helps bring your awareness back to the present moment and grounds you in your surroundings.

Box Breathing with Visualization:

Take a few deep breaths to center yourself.

As you inhale, imagine drawing a line in your mind, moving upward and to the right.

Hold your breath and visualize drawing a line horizontally.

Exhale and imagine drawing a line downward and to the left.

Hold your breath again and visualize drawing a line horizontally to complete the square.

Repeat this process for a few minutes, focusing on the breath and the visualization.