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URMC / BHP / BHP Blog / August 2016 / Tips to Help Manage Anxiety

Tips to Help Manage Anxiety

In Rochester, we often want to make the most of the warm weather after our long, dark winters!  But fitting in summertime activities, in addition to work and daily life, can become stressful.  When stress increases, anxiety can get the better of us.  Here are some tips you can use to help manage your anxiety and get you back to doing the things you enjoy.

  • Exercise - Getting involved in some sort of regular exercise can be very helpful in managing anxiety.  Try a variety of things you enjoy doing (i.e. walking, running, biking, swimming, etc.) to find what works best for you.  Be careful not to "over-do", especially if you have not been exercising for a while.  It's also a good idea to make sure you are healthy enough for exercise.  Seeing your doctor before starting an exercise program might be appropriate.
  • Use abdominal breathing - Learning about and practicing controlled breathing is a great way to help reduce and/or manage anxiety.  Controlled breathing can slow down or stop the body's stress response.  There are many different ways to practice controlled breathing and practice is the key. 
  • Practice mindfulness - Being mindful involves being aware of and focused on the present moment while accepting your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgments.  Mindfulness seems like an easy concept in theory, but it can be difficult to put into practice.  Mindfulness can be an important tool to help manage anxiety because mindfulness keeps a person's thoughts in the present moment (and often it's our worried thoughts about the future that lead to feelings of anxiety).
  • Avoid stimulants - Substances such as caffeine, sugar and nicotine can aggravate anxiety and may trigger panic attacks.  Limiting their use is one way to minimize anxiety.
  • Limit use of alcohol - Many people find that alcohol relaxes them, but it can also reduce a person's ability to manage their symptoms of anxiety over the long haul.  Alcohol used in moderation is the best rule of thumb.
  • Get restful sleep - Getting a good night's sleep on a regular basis can be very helpful in protecting ourselves against anxiety.  Learning about and using good "sleep hygiene" techniques is another way to manage symptoms.  Improve your sleep hygiene
  • Eat a balanced diet - Eating a well-balanced diet can be very challenging, but can also be an important part of anxiety management.  Learning how to incorporate healthy foods into your diet can make us feel better, which helps us to be able to manage symptoms as they arise.  Learn more about healthy eating.
  • Take time for recreation and/or pleasurable activities - Life is full of many things that everyone needs to do, but it is equally important that we take time to do things we "want" to do.  Finding things we enjoy doing and that make us feel "good" is important for effective anxiety management. 
  • Use humor - A good laugh can go a long way to curb anxiety.  Find ways to add some humor to your life and watch the stress dissipate.
  • Talk with someone - Keeping your anxiety all to yourself gives it much more power than it deserves.  Talking to trusted friends or family can provide some needed relief from built up anxiety.  It may also be appropriate for you to seek the help of a mental health professional if symptoms persist.  The Strong Employee Assistance Program can help evaluation your needs.  And remember that Behavioral Health Partners is here for eligible individuals with mental health services for depression, anxiety, and stress.  


William Jarvie, LCSW-R, CGP, has focused his work in recent years on treatments for adults with depression and anxiety.  Mr. Jarvie has specialized training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Problem Solving Therapy, and Group Psychotherapy.  

Behavioral Health Partners and the Strong Employee Assistance Program are brought to you by Well-U.

Steven P Brown | 7/29/2016

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