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How to Reduce Assignment Anxiety – 10 Best Tips and Tricks

The college homework and assignments often seem like an overwhelming pile of stress. Assignment stress and anxiety can prevent you from performing well and ultimately from achieving your highest potential. Thus, to avoid such consequences, you need to learn how to reduce assignment anxiety. So, to reduce assignment anxiety, you need to build strong and healthy habits.

How to Reduce Assignment Anxiety

Sometimes a little adjustment makes a huge difference. Therefore, building strong habits can help you fight against assignment anxiety and perform better in your class. Follow the tips below regularly to avoid homework stress.

1. Identify Your Source of Anxiety

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If you have been feeling gloomy lately, it is crucial to find out the source of your anxiety to tackle the problem. One of the best ways to do so is to keep a daily journal where you write your daily tasks, assignments, events, and your thoughts about them. Such a journal where you keep a record of everything can help you learn the main source of your anxiety. Whether it is your sleep pattern, caffeine, procrastination, or even unrealistic expectation from yourself, you need to as soon as possible acknowledge them.

2. Plan and Organize

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Another reason why students mostly feel stressed is the overwhelming assignments and coursework. Thus, we recommend you break down your assignments into smaller chunks and set goals for yourself. Most of the time, we feel anxiety because we can not control certain things. Therefore, being organized and mindful about your studies will help you feel calm and in control of things.

  • Best Ways to Reduce Stress Before an Exam

3. Procrastinate Productively


Professor Frank Partnoy writes in his book Wait: The Art and Science of Delay that there are two kinds of procrastination : Active procrastination and passive procrastination. Passive procrastination, no doubt, is a negative thing because it prevents you from getting your work done. Meanwhile, passive procrastination is a positive thing because while actively procrastinating, you are delaying one task to focus on a more important task.

So, if you have been feeling anxious about a particular assignment, you can put it off for some time and focus on another task. This way not only you will feel relaxed but also productive.

4. Learn How to Manage Your Time Effectively

how to manage assignment anxiety

Time management is crucial! Setting out time when you need to focus only on one thing such as your assignment makes it more accomplishable and reduces the stress. Thus, set aside an hour or more each day to focus only on your assignments. The key here is to understand when you are at your highest potential to concentrate at what time of the day. You can either start doing your homework in the early morning, in the evening, or at night before bed.

Besides, to stay organized, you can keep a study planner or a calendar. One of the best calendars out there is Google Calendar and Todoist is one of the best task management and to-do app out there. Also, try to make realistic goals to avoid burnout.

How to Manage Your Time Effectively – 10 Best Time Management Tips

5. Get Started Early

how to manage assignment anxiety

Early risers are always considered to more energetic and potential problem solvers. However, nights owls may not agree with the fact that early risers get some extra hours by getting up earlier. They can use this additional advantage by doing the hard stuff earlier in the morning when they are the most energetic. Besides, waking up early has countless benefits some of which are below.

  • If you get habitual to going to bed earlier at night and getting up earlier in the morning, this will help you be more energetic during the day.
  • Studies also suggest that white cells drop in your body when you get a good night’s sleep which you can only get if you sleep and wake up earlier.
  • Early risers are more proficient in taking decisions, setting up goals, and achieving them.
  • They also enjoy reduced stress levels.
  • Moreover, researches prove that early risers are happier than night owls; not just for a day but they live happier throughout everything.

6. Get Goodnight Sleep

how to manage assignment anxiety

Getting a goodnight’s sleep may sound like a very simple and obvious tip. There are countless benefits of a goodnight’s sleep and reducing homework stress is one of them. According to researches, people between 6 to 18 years old, need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. And a goodnight’s sleep significantly affects memory, concentration span, creativity, and all important aspects of a student’s life.

7. Refresh Your Memory Regularly

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It is also very important to build a strong base of your every subject to reduce assignment anxiety. Because if you have difficulty in previous lessons, it will be hard for you to complete any assignment or task. Thus, once in a week, go through your previous lessons and take notes of areas that you find difficult. So, the next time when you sit to revise, you know which topics you need to give more attention to. Furthermore, refreshing or revising previous lessons also helps you build confidence.

8. Stay Organized

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An unorganized life, even desk, does more harm than ignorance. Besides, an unorganized desk is distracting too. Thus, cleaning your room and your desk is highly recommended. To stay organized, you can also get yourself a nice journal or a planner if you are a pen-and-paper person. Otherwise, apps such as todoist or Habitica can also help you get your work done. And here are some fascinating benefits of using a daily planner or agenda.

  • You can maintain an effective school and life schedule
  • Be more productive
  • keep track of everything you do and have to do
  • And most important of all, you can reduce stress levels
  • and much much more

9. Review Your Agenda Regularly

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To live a stress-free life, it is very important to stay organized. And one of the most magical ways is to keep an agenda or a planner where you can plan your life ahead of time. You can make a weekly and a daily planner section where you list down all your homework, assignments, and to-dos. However, just keeping an agenda is not enough. You need to review it on daily basis to lead a stress-free life.

10. Give Yourself Some “ME” Time

Give yourself time

While it is important to study hard, it is equally important not to neglect yourself. During your tight schedule at school, you may usually feel burnout. Therefore, cherishing yourself with some “ME” time can help you be more productive and creative. Thus, once a week, going out with friends, spending some quality time with family, or just taking care of yourself can help you make sure you enjoy a healthy and stress-free life.

You may also be interested in:

  • 10 Daily Activities of Successful Students
  • 10 Disciplinary Principles Every Successful Student Follow
  • The 5 Best Activities for School Assembly
  • The Top 10 Reasons Why Students Fail in Examination
  • How to Write a Personal Statement for College or University

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Homework anxiety: Why it happens and how to help

how to manage assignment anxiety

By Gail Belsky

Expert reviewed by Jerome Schultz, PhD

Quick tips to help kids with homework anxiety

Quick tip 1, try self-calming strategies..

how to manage assignment anxiety

Try some deep breathing, gentle stretching, or a short walk before starting homework. These strategies can help reset the mind and relieve anxiety. 

Quick tip 2

Set a time limit..

how to manage assignment anxiety

Give kids a set amount of time for homework to help it feel more manageable. Try using the “10-minute rule” that many schools use — that’s 10 minutes of homework per grade level. And let kids know it’s OK to stop working for the night.

Quick tip 3

Cut out distractions..

how to manage assignment anxiety

Have kids do homework in a quiet area. Turn off the TV, silence cell phones, and, if possible, limit people coming and going in the room or around the space.

Quick tip 4

Start with the easiest task..

how to manage assignment anxiety

Try having kids do the easiest, quickest assignments first. That way, they’ll feel good about getting a task done — and may be less anxious about the rest of the homework.

Quick tip 5

Use a calm voice..

how to manage assignment anxiety

When kids feel anxious about homework, they might get angry, yell, or cry. Avoid matching their tone of voice. Take a deep breath and keep your voice steady and calm. Let them know you’re there for them. 

Sometimes kids just don’t want to do homework. They complain, procrastinate, or rush through the work so they can do something fun. But for other kids, it’s not so simple. Homework may actually give them anxiety.

It’s not always easy to know when kids have homework anxiety. Some kids may share what they’re feeling when you ask. But others can’t yet identify what they’re feeling, or they're not willing to talk about it.

Homework anxiety often starts in early grade school. It can affect any child. But it’s an especially big issue for kids who are struggling in school. They may think they can’t do the work. Or they may not have the right support to get it done. 

Keep in mind that some kids may seem anxious about homework but are actually anxious about something else. That’s why it’s important to keep track of when kids get anxious and what they were doing right before. The more you notice what’s happening, the better you can help.

Dive deeper

What homework anxiety looks like.

Kids with homework anxiety might:

Find excuses to avoid homework

Lie about homework being done

Get consistently angry about homework

Be moody or grumpy after school

Complain about not feeling well after school or before homework time

Cry easily or seem overly sensitive

Be afraid of making even small mistakes

Shut down and not want to talk after school

Say “I can’t do it!” before even trying

Learn about other homework challenges kids might be facing . 

Why kids get homework anxiety

Kids with homework anxiety are often struggling with a specific skill. They might worry about falling behind their classmates. But there are other factors that cause homework anxiety: 

Test prep: Homework that helps kids prepare for a test makes it sound very important. This can raise stress levels.

Perfectionism: Some kids who do really well in a subject may worry that their work “won’t be good enough.”

Trouble managing emotions: For kids who easily get flooded by emotions, homework can be a trigger for anxiety. 

Too much homework: Sometimes kids are anxious because they have more work than they can handle.

Use this list to see if kids might have too much homework .

When kids are having homework anxiety, families, educators, and health care providers should work together to understand what’s happening. Start by sharing notes on what you’re seeing and look for patterns . By working together, you’ll develop a clearer sense of what’s going on and how to help.

Parents and caregivers: Start by asking questions to get your child to open up about school . But if kids are struggling with the work itself, they may not want to tell you. You’ll need to talk with your child’s teacher to get insight into what’s happening in school and find out if your child needs help in a specific area.

Explore related topics

Dan Bates, LMHC, LPC, NCC

7 Strategies to Manage Anxiety

Strategies that can directly reduce your anxiety.

Posted January 16, 2021 | Reviewed by Lybi Ma

  • What Is Anxiety?
  • Take our Generalized Anxiety Disorder Test
  • Find a therapist to overcome anxiety

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Anxiety can feel like a monster that is out of control and you have no way of conquering it: nothing could be further from the truth. You can make choices to reduce your anxiety. You have the power. By adopting these seven strategies and restructuring your habits, the anxiety monster gets less scary and slowly loses its power.

Schedule/Routine : Not everyone's anxiety is related to some deep-seated trauma hidden under layers of dysfunction and poor coping skills. Your anxiety could be due to a wonky daily, weekly schedule, and routine. “Wonky” is a clinical term, by the way. Okay, it's not really. It's not uncommon for me, as a therapist, to discover that a client's anxiety is largely influenced by a poorly managed and disorganized schedule. There will always be unexpected events throughout your week, but for the most part, you can structure your day and week in such a way as to reduce your anxiety.

What are some anxiety producers for people in regards to their weekly routine?

  • Over-consumption of caffeine, and or alcohol .
  • Fluctuating bedtime and wake-up routine.
  • Irregular and changing meal times.
  • Inactivity.
  • Social isolation and no support network.
  • Disconnected from one's local community.

What are some anxiety reducers for people in regards to their weekly routine?

  • Mindful of circadian rhythm and that your body has a physical need for routine.
  • Reasonable consumption of caffeine and alcohol.
  • Bedtime and wake-up roughly at the same time every day.
  • Eat at the same time every day.
  • Schedule activities otherwise you might not do them.
  • Stay connected with friends and build a support network over time by being a support to others.
  • Get plugged in with your local community.
  • Give yourself leisure time like watching Netflix as a reward and not a right.

Awareness : Having awareness of your anxiety is the first and biggest step in your battle against it. Anxiety has a way of creeping into your daily experience without drawing attention to itself. Therefore, you need to make friends with the anxiety monster and learn everything about it. You can't conquer an enemy you don't understand.

Deep Breathing : "Belly breaths", "deep breathing", "cleansing breaths", "diaphragmatic breathing", or whatever you call it, deep breathing is very effective at controlling anxiety. Below are simple steps you can follow to manage your anxiety.

  • Inhale : Take a deep, cleansing breath through your nose.
  • Hold : Hold the air in your lungs for four seconds.
  • Exhale : Slowly release the air out of your mouth.
  • Pause : Allow for a moment to pass before you take your next breath.
  • Paying Attention : As you inhale, hold, exhale and pause, close your eyes and concentrate on the breath and the sensation of the air filling your lungs.
  • Observations : Allow your mind to make observations about what you are experiencing physiologically and what are feeling emotionally. These self-observations can be very helpful in alerting you to an ignored issue. You may notice a pressure building up in your chest, tightness on the back of your neck, tension resting on your forehead, clenched jaw, or soreness in your back. After noticing, you then have the opportunity to relax that area of tension. On a deeper level, you can attend to the potential emotional issue that could be contributing to your physical state.

Finding Resolution : Possibly, the reason you are feeling distress is due to an unresolved conflict that you are not allowing yourself to deal with because it is uncomfortable. However, ignoring your hurt doesn’t do anything. The feelings remain despite your efforts to dismiss them. It is better to face the discomfort and find a resolution to the feelings.


Progressive Muscle Relaxation : When you have a free moment, sit in a relaxed position and tense every muscle in your body. Then, slowly, starting with your head, release the muscle tension throughout your body all the way down to your feet.

Accept It and Move On : Your anxiety may have its origin in a disappointment or failure which can infect how you feel about the rest of your day, week, or month. Or the anxiety can come out of nowhere and be like a dark cloud hanging over your head. However, just because one thing went wrong doesn’t mean everything will go wrong. Don’t allow your anxiety to be a dark forecast on everything else. Allow for a mistake to be a mistake, a failure to be a failure, or an out-of-nowhere anxiety episode to be an out-of-nowhere anxiety episode, and let that be that. Accept what happened and move on.

Find Distractions : As I said above, sometimes anxiety will impact your mood or thinking without cause. If that’s the case, sometimes there is no resolution to be sought and the best strategy is to distract yourself. Reading a book, watching TV, listening to music or going for a run can aid with distracting yourself from the anxiety long enough that it goes away. Below is a list of 15 ideas that can help with distraction.

how to manage assignment anxiety

  • Listen to music
  • Read a book
  • Go for a run
  • Call a friend
  • Write an email
  • Work on a project
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Ride a bike
  • Draw a picture
  • Write in your journal
  • Write a poem
  • Reorganize your home
  • Do a yoga routine

I wish anxiety were easier to vanquish, but the truth is, it takes a lot work. Most people aren't afraid of hard work, they are afraid of self-discipline, putting in the hard work day after day, even when they don't want to. But that's what it takes. You can achieve self-discipline by following the seven strategies discussed in this post and rolling them into daily habits. Before you know it, one day turns into two, and then three, and then a month and then a lifestyle, a lifestyle of managing and overcoming anxiety. You can do it.

Dan Bates, LMHC, LPC, NCC

Dan Bates is a clinical mental health counselor, licensed in the state of Washington and certified nationally.

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7 Ways to Manage Assignment Stress in Students

  • by Psychologs Magazine
  • April 3, 2024
  • 5 minutes read

Assignment Stress

The experience of attending university may be both thrilling and stressful at the same time. Beginning college, tests, homework due dates, living with strangers, and future-focused thoughts can all cause stress. Stress is a normal emotion that is meant to assist you deal with difficult circumstances. It might be beneficial in moderation since it motivates you to put in your best effort and work hard—for example, during exams. However, extreme stress or the belief that you are unable to control your stress can result in mental health issues including anxiety and depression. It might also have an impact on your academic standing. Let’s find some effective strategies to help students manage assignment stress with some practical tips.

Students and Stress

Every student experiences stress at some point, whether it’s from having five assignments due on the same day or what seems like endless back-to-back tests. And you have to be superhuman if you don’t.

The American College Health Association (ACHA) reports that 12.7% of college students report having excessive stress, while 44.9% report having stress levels that are above normal. It’s normal for students to experience periods of extreme stress due to the numerous obligations and demands placed on them by their academic programs. However, you need to identify the source of your stress and learn coping mechanisms when it interferes with your everyday tasks.

Also Read: NMC Sets up National Task Force to Address Mental Health of medical students

Students may experience increased stress, and anxiety as a result of the pressure to serve well academically and complete their assignments. It can be extremely stressful to constantly, worry about turning in homework on time and getting good grades.

Here are the ways by which assignment stress can be reduced in College Students:

Making a study schedule:.

The reason most students fail or are unable to complete the given assignment at the right time is that they don’t have a study schedule that corresponds with their academic schedule. They underestimate the amount of study time required to complete tasks and overestimate the amount of time they have available. Also, they mistakenly believe they have enough time to finish their assignments on time because of their current schedule—or lack thereof. They begin too late, get behind, and ultimately take shortcuts. Reaching parity is nearly unattainable.

how to manage assignment anxiety

Making a study timetable is just meant to help you figure out when you have time to study, which will help you become more efficient at task scheduling. This implies that you must schedule time on your calendar for tasks other than studying. Stress levels rise, grades decline, and important time spent with friends, taking care of oneself, or spending time with family is lost.

Set Priority:

College students who prioritize their responsibilities will be more productive, organized, and less likely to feel overwhelmed. Setting priorities can also assist students in achieving their objectives, lowering stress, and managing their time better. You can know what homework assignments to perform and when to finish them if you prioritize your tasks. Setting priorities for your assignment will also aid you when making templates for your homework schedule and completing assignments before the due date.

Also Read: NIMHANS help tribal department for school students’ well-being and mental health

Time Management and Plan:

Although it requires discipline and experience, effective time management can greatly increase your productivity, lower your stress level, and help you succeed as a college student overall.

To keep your obligations, projects, and assignments organized, make a to-do list or utilize a task management app. Establish due dates for all of your tasks and make a realistic timetable that allows time for studying, going to class, finishing assignments, and taking breaks. Acknowledge that unforeseen circumstances or shifts in priorities can happen, and be ready to modify your goals and timetable as necessary. Be adaptable and modify your time management techniques to take into account new information.

Understanding what is required of you before taking on any projects, assignments, or chores lowers your chance of making mistakes. You can finish a task more quickly and accurately if you ask questions to clarify the topic. For instance, you can ask questions that lead to useful responses if an assignment isn’t giving you a sense of direction. Asking clarifying questions might also help you troubleshoot unclear instructions. This will aid in reducing the Anxiety and also improve the performance.

Maintaining your physical and mental health is essential while stressing over incomplete assignments. Exercise, which might include taking a stroll or any other physical activity, is one powerful self-care tactic. You can also de-stress by indulging in a hot bath or relaxing with calming music. Effective stress management techniques can include writing, mindfulness or meditation, and socializing with loved ones. Make sure you eat healthily, exercise frequently, get adequate sleep, and take breaks to refuel. Maintaining your mental well-being through mindfulness exercises or getting help when required can also keep you concentrated and productive.

Break Large Tasks into Smaller steps

how to manage assignment anxiety

It is beneficial to divide a large work into smaller, more manageable ingredients when faced with it. You can prevent tension and procrastination by doing this. Procrastinators frequently lament how overwhelming and unachievable the task seems when they wait until the last minute. If you are prone to procrastination, creating a prioritized to-do list could be beneficial. Work your way down the list, setting reasonable deadlines for yourself.

Even if something isn’t completed right away, there are situations when writing something down can make you feel better about it. As you complete the tasks at hand, make time for yourself to focus on them in short bursts. Multitasking or task-switching can be stressful in and of itself. The work is less daunting and more manageable when priorities are established and the larger project is divided into smaller tasks.

Also Read: Stress from pre-board exams among students: how to minimize exam stress?

Seek Professional Help

Professionals in mental health can offer evidence-based therapies, like counseling and medication, to assist manage symptoms and enhance general functioning. Higher levels of contentment, happiness, and life quality may result from this. Seek assistance before you feel that you can no longer manage the stress. Take the time to speak with a professional or find out what resources your school provides for mental health issues. A mental health specialist can identify the sources of your stress, create a mental health plan, and plan constructive strategies to manage stress.

At last, the idea behind assigning tasks comes from the way that pupils learn. It facilitates the assessment of students’ subject-matter comprehension by teachers. Assignments broaden their knowledge base and help them acquire a variety of practical abilities. Education experts say that if students acquire and hone these skills, learning a subject is not insurmountable. Moreover, having a hectic amount of assignments can drain your mental well-being. It’s also important to look after you through the ways of stress management.

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9169886/
  • https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety

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Managing Anxiety, Assignment & Exam Stress

how to manage assignment anxiety

Let’s start with the good news - experiencing some amount of stress or anxiety is an indication that you’re human. It’s how your body reacts to the demands and challenges it faces. It is natural to feel anxious prior to an exam or stressed while juggling assignment prep. 

While stress and anxiety can sometimes be overwhelming,  they can also be an energising and healthy pressure that encourages you to grow your capabilities and take control of your situation.

So how can you strike a balance between too little an too much stress? This blog will cover some techniques you can utilise to help reduce and manage your stress and anxiety levels during assignment periods and leading up to your exams. 

Slow Down to Speed Up 

When you're feeling overwhelmed, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that working harder and longer is the only solution. However, this can actually lead to burnout and a decline in your performance. By taking the time to slow down and prioritize your health, you can recharge your batteries and approach your work with renewed focus and energy.

There are many ways to slow down and take care of yourself, such as practising mindfulness, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet. These activities may seem like luxuries when you're under the pressure of exams and assignments, but they are essential for maintaining your mental and physical health.

Remember that your grades or your academic achievements do not define you. Taking care of yourself is a crucial part of your journey as a student, and it will ultimately help you achieve your goals in a more sustainable and fulfilling way. So, take a deep breath, slow down, and prioritize your health and well-being - it's the best investment you can make in your academic and personal success.

Early Bird or Night Owl?

Not everyone is the same, and no one size fits all when it comes to the best time of day for productivity.  And it’s unproductive to try and force yourself to study when your focus and productivity levels are low.  You are better off trying to try and use those times as your downtime to relax,  catch up with friends,  exercise,  or do something you enjoy, and then make use of the times that work best for you.

Ask yourself these two questions:

  • When during the day do I have the greatest amount of energy and concentration?
  • When do I have the fewest interruptions and distractions?

For some, that might be first thing in the morning. For others, they might find the mornings challenging and have a habit of procrastinating until midday anyway. So rather than making yourself feel guilty for procrastinating, schedule in that time as downtime and kick off your studying session at midday.

Messy Workspace, Messy Headspace

The physical environment of your workplace has a  significant effect on the way that you work. Cluttered spaces can have negative effects on our stress and anxiety levels,  as well as our ability to focus, our eating choices, and even our sleep.

A Good Routine

Hopefully, you already have a good routine in place, but if not, there has never been a better time to start. Self-care doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take up heaps of time. Start with the basics, making sure you get enough sleep,  drink enough water, eat regular meals and snacks,  and get in some movement or time outdoors. Then look to build on this through self-care that helps you to relax. Remember - relaxing is not one activity. It’s the outcome of that activity and how it makes you feel. And what works for your friends may not work for you. Experiment and see what works best for you!  From journaling,  reading,  different types of exercise,  stretching, and meditating, the options are endless.  Pay attention to how you feel after each activity. Ask yourself, does this make me feel grounded and at ease? If so, schedule some time each day to help you shake off the tension of studying or to unwind after an exam.


Not only can sleep deprivation worsens anxiety, but getting enough sleep is vital to feeling and performing your best,  which is particularly important around exam time. Don’t stay up late the night before or get up too early on the morning of. A good night’s sleep is more valuable than a few hours of revision.

Write Down Worries  

It’s been proven that if you take a few moments to write about your fears just before you take an exam, it will help to reduce your anxiety and improve your performance. Write down what you are stressed about, why you are stressed, and what the outcome would be if those  worries were realised.  By writing down your worries,  it can help you to put everything into perspective and help you to feel lighter and less tense by emptying your worries from your mind and onto the paper.

Move your Body  

You don’t need to run a marathon every day, but the movement is just as key to a healthy mind as it is to a healthy body. Exercise is considered healthy stress on the body,  which  can actually help your body fight off the effects of stress. Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever.

Reach Out for Support 

Having people to lean on is great for your mental health. Make sure you let those close to you know if you are feeling overwhelmed or preparing for an upcoming exam. Not only can they help to support you emotionally, but they can also be on hand to help you in other ways (healthy study snacks, anyone!). If you don’t feel as though you have people in your life that understand your stress and anxiety,  that’s what  TalkCampus is for!  Jump onto their global community and chat with other students that get it.

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  • Mar 22, 2021

How to manage exam and assignment stress for students

Let’s start with the good news: assignment stress and exam anxiety are totally normal. Experiencing some amount of stress or anxiety is an indication that you’re human.

Three students working together on their laptops on the same table

It’s how your body reacts to the demands and challenges it’s faced with. It is completely natural to feel anxious before an exam or stressed while juggling assignment prep.

While stress and anxiety can sometimes be overwhelming as a student, they can also be an energizing and healthy pressure that encourages you to grow your capabilities and take control of your situation. So how are you able to strike a balance between too little and too much stress? This blog will cover some techniques you can utilize to help reduce and manage exam stress and assignment anxiety.

1. Slow down to speed up

True productivity requires downtime! For many, studying remotely has eliminated the daily commute or the act of physically leaving your university at the end of a day of studying.

It might not seem like a huge deal, but those rituals are actually super helpful when it comes to telling your brain it’s time to get out of work mode and into rest mode. And rest mode is incredibly important, especially when preparing for exams. Our attention span is a limited resource. There are only so many things we can take in and process at any given moment, and to keep running on high alert is cognitively expensive for our brains. In order to learn something or focus powerfully, we need to take breaks. Schedule downtime in your daily study plan, and stick to it. Take regular breaks during the day and make sure to switch off at night to recharge.

2. Find your optimal study time

Determine your optimal part of the day to work and take breaks at your least productive. Finding your optimal study time can make a big difference when it comes to managing exam anxiety. Not everyone is the same and no one size fits all when it comes to the best time of day for productivity.

It’s unproductive to try and force yourself to study when your focus and productivity levels are low. You are better to try and use those times as your downtime to relax, catch up with friends, exercise, or do something you enjoy, and then make use of the times that work best for you.

Ask yourself these two questions:

When during the day do I have the greatest amount of energy and concentration?

When do I have the fewest interruptions and distractions?

For some, that might be first thing in the morning. For others, they might find the mornings challenging and have a habit of procrastinating until midday anyway.

So rather than making yourself feel guilty for procrastinating, schedule that time as downtime and kick off your studying session at midday.

3. Messy workspace, messy headspace

The physical environment of your workplace has a significant effect on the way that you work. Cluttered spaces can have negative effects on our stress and anxiety levels, as well as our ability to focus, our eating choices, and even our sleep.

4. Establish a good self-care routine

If you're wondering how to deal with assignment stress, you might want to zoom out and look at your overall lifestyle and how it feeds into it.

Hopefully, you already have a good routine in place, but if not there has never been a better time to start. Self-care doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or take up heaps of time.

Start with the basics:

Get enough sleep

Drink enough water

Eat regular meals

Get in some movement or time outdoors

Then look to build on this, through self-care that helps you to relax. Remember - relaxing is not one activity, it’s the outcome of that activity and how it makes you feel. And what works for your friends may not work for you. Experiment and see what works best for you! From journaling, reading, different types of exercise, stretching, and meditating, the options are endless. Pay attention to how you feel after each activity. Ask yourself, does this make me feel grounded and at ease? If so, schedule some time each day to help you shake off the tension of studying, or to unwind after an exam.

5. Get enough sleep

Not only can sleep deprivation worsen anxiety but getting enough sleep is vital to feeling and performing your best, which is particularly important when you're trying to manage exam anxiety.

Don’t stay up late the night before or get up too early on the morning of the exam. A good night’s sleep is more valuable than an extra few hours of revision.

The same goes if you're suffering from assignment stress. Staying up until 4 am to finish your essay might seem like a good idea at the time, but it's unlikely it will be your best work. You'll have to proof it even more thoroughly the next day, and chances are you'll spend more time on the assignment overall.

6. Write down your worries

It’s been proven that if you take a few moments to write about your fears just before you take an exam, it will help to reduce your anxiety and improve your performance. It can also help you overcome assignment anxiety and stop procrastinating on that essay!

Write down what you are stressed about, why you are stressed, and what the outcome would be if those worries were realized.

Writing down your worries can help you to put everything into perspective and help you to feel lighter and less tense by emptying your worries from your mind and onto paper.

7. Move your body!

You don’t need to run a marathon every day, but movement is just as key to a healthy mind as it is to a healthy body. If you can, try to exercise regularly.

It's considered "healthy stress" on the body, which can actually help your body fight off the effects of the “bad” kind of stress. Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever.

If you're feeling stuck with an assignment and it's stressing you out, go for a walk or a run and you'll get back to it with a relaxed body and a fresh perspective.

8. Use your support system

Having people to lean on is great for your mental health. Make sure you let those close to you know if you are feeling overwhelmed or preparing for an upcoming exam.

Not only can they help to support you emotionally, but they can also be on hand to help you in other ways (healthy study snacks, anyone?). You don't have to go through all that assignment stress on your own! If you don’t feel as though you have people in your life that understand your stress and anxiety, that’s what we're here for! Jump onto our global community and chat with other students that get it.

9. Schedule your day

Outlining a routine is a tried and true therapy trick for keeping yourself on track. But make sure your schedule is realistic.

If you schedule an unrealistic amount of exam or study prep, it will make it really hard to achieve and you may end up feeling disappointed with yourself at the end of the day.

Instead, be honest with yourself, schedule in time to scroll on social media if you know that is usually part of your daily schedule! And make sure to prioritize rest and self-care in between those study sessions.

10. Manage your distractions

Self-discipline may well be your greatest challenge when studying from home. With entertaining technology all around us, it can make it so challenging to stay focused. Luckily, with this technology comes other forms of technology to help keep your distractions at bay. There are a number of fantastic free apps available for students that allow you to choose and schedule what distracting apps to block at certain times. While all of these tips and tricks have been suggested with assignment anxiety and exam stress in mind, they are also fantastic for your overall mental health! This advice will be impactful throughout all other areas of your life where you may experience stress.

Experimenting with these suggestions and finding what works best for you will help in maintaining your stress levels to just the right amount, to keep you motivated and focused, resulting in greater levels of optimism and confidence.

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Learning Anxiety: 10 Ways to Calm Your Mind

I t’s no secret that our emotional state can affect our learning abilities, and although a bit of anxiety about an exam or upcoming assignment is normal, when that stress builds up too much, it can hinder our ability to take in, process, and store new information. Unfortunately, anxiety is on the rise among students, and according to one study, the number of students declaring a mental health problem   has doubled   in the last five years. But how and why do stress and anxiety impair our ability to learn?

Research shows that when we’re under stress, the brain simply   stops forming new connections . This is because stress and anxiety activate the body’s fight-or-flight response and bring on physiological and psychological changes that enhance our ability to react to danger. For instance, our adrenaline levels will rise, our heart rate and breathing may speed up, blood is diverted to the limbs, and our body temperature may increase.

If this happens while we’re trying to study, however, the brain essentially blocks access to higher processing, which makes it difficult if not impossible to retain new information.

So if you frequently find yourself dealing with stress and anxiety that’s interfering with your studying, here are a few tried and proven tips for managing your learning anxiety.

1. Identify the source of your anxiety

If you’ve been feeling unusually anxious about your learning, it’s important to identify the underlying cause so you can tackle the problem head-on. If you’re unable to identify the source of your anxiety, start keeping a daily journal where you write down the events of the day along with your thoughts and feelings about them. This can help you identify unhealthy patterns and avoid specific things that trigger your anxiety, whether it’s a lack of sleep, unrealistic expectations, or even too much caffeine.

2. Try mindfulness training

Mindfulness is all about being aware of and paying attention to our thoughts and emotions, and research shows that mindfulness training can reduce anxiety and depression. One study from researchers at the University of Cambridge found that   mindfulness training   can be particularly useful in supporting students who are at risk of developing mental health problems and helping them develop preventative coping strategies.

So what did this mindfulness training entail?

For the study, students were offered eight face-to-face group-based sessions and were also encouraged to practice 15-25 minutes of mindfulness meditation at home, in addition to mindfulness practices like mindful eating and mindful walking. Students who received mindfulness training had lower distress scores after the course and during exam term. In fact, distress scores for the mindfulness group during exam time fell below baseline levels even during exam time, whereas students who had received standard support became increasingly stressed as the year progressed.

3. Seek support

Research shows that getting   adequate social support   is one of the best ways to cope with major life stresses, and people with good social support networks live longer and are healthier than those with few close relationships.

With this in mind, if a specific class or subject is causing you anxiety, don’t be afraid to approach your teachers, counsellors, or fellow students to ask for extra support. If you’re studying abroad or in another city, it’s also a good idea to allocate time to socialising and building networks in your new location, in addition to keeping in touch with your loved ones back home.

4. Prioritise your physical health

Our mind and body are closely connected, so if you’ve been feeling overly anxious, simply making an effort to eat the right foods, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep can already make a big difference to your state of mind.

Regular physical activity   has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and resistance workouts such as weightlifting are linked to   reduced anxiety . Research also shows that certain dietary considerations can   relieve anxiety . Complex carbohydrates such as legumes, whole wheat bread, or pasta and starchy vegetables, for example, are metabolised more slowly, which can reduce feelings of anxiety caused by dips in your blood sugar level.

5. Plan and organise

Another way to manage feelings of anxiety that are related to your learning is to get properly organised by breaking coursework into smaller chunks and setting personal goals and deadlines.

Oftentimes, our feelings of anxiety are caused by a feeling of powerlessness, so getting properly organised will help you to regain a sense of control and feel calmer about what needs to be done. If you need some help, check out   these tips   for scheduling your study time.

6. Distance yourself

Researchers have identified a new strategy to tackle stress and anxiety known as “ self-distancing .” It involves talking to ourselves in the third person, which can help us distance ourselves from stressful situations and gain some outside perspective.

Previous research from Michigan State University also shows that   talking to yourself in the third person   during stressful times can help you control your emotions without any additional mental effort. So instead of asking “Why am I feeling anxious?” you can simply replace the first person pronoun and ask “Why is John feeling anxious?” It’s a subtle change, but one that can make a big difference in how we perceive our situation and emotions.

7. Emphasise positive self-talk

Since we all engage in self-talk whether we realise it or not, one thing that can have a powerful impact our state of mind is focusing on our inner monologue and becoming more aware of how we’re talking to ourselves.

Research shows that while   destructive self-talk   can cause us to question ourselves, positive self-talk can actually boost our productivity. So when something goes wrong, don’t let your first reaction be to chide yourself with thoughts like “How could you be so stupid?” Instead, try to focus on more positive or constructive thoughts like “I’m glad I tried, even if it didn’t go exactly as planned.”

8. Focus on your breathing

Breathing isn’t something we normally pay much attention to, but when we’re stressed or anxious, we can actually forget to breathe properly and hold in our breath for too long or breathe too quickly, which can cause us to tense up even more and increases our anxious feelings.

So whenever you feel yourself getting tense or anxious, focus on breathing in slowly for five counts, and then breathing out for five counts. By the time you’ve done this simple breathing exercise a few times, you’ll already be noticeably calmer and more composed.

9. Procrastinate productively

Most students are no strangers to procrastination, and according to   one survey , between 80 and 95 percent of students procrastinate. But while it’s true that procrastination can be a student’s worst enemy, some experts believe that it’s possible to use this tendency to put things off for good.

In his book   Wait: The Art and Science of Delay , University of San Diego professor Frank Partnoy points out that there are two types of procrastination: active and passive. Passive procrastination is a decidedly negative thing because it prevents you from getting things done. Active procrastination, on the other hand, can be a positive thing, because it involves delaying one task while you work on another important task instead.

So if you’re feeling anxious about tackling a particular learning task, you can temporarily put it off and still remain productive by crossing other important tasks off your to-do list. Not sure how to make it work for you? Check out   this article   for tips on how to procrastinate more productively.

10. Schedule your downtime

Sometimes when our stress and anxiety builds up too much, what we really need is some downtime to recharge our batteries and relax. So if you’ve been feeling unusually tense whenever it’s time to study, you might need to start scheduling some downtime the same way you would any of the other important responsibilities in your life.

Even if you feel you can’t afford to take a whole day off, make a point of scheduling at least an hour each day where you can turn off your phone, put away your laptop, and do something that totally relaxes you, whether it’s taking a nap, listening to music, or going for a nature walk.

Have you ever struggled with stress or anxiety that made it difficult to focus on your learning? If so, what strategies did you use to relax and get refocused?

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How to Deal With Anxiety: 13 Ways to Cope

  • Calm Anxiety Immediately
  • Long-Term Strategies
  • Next in Anxiety Disorder Guide What Is an Anxiety Disorder?

People often use the word “ anxiety ” to describe general feelings of nervousness, unease, or worry. However, there’s a difference between feeling anxious and having an anxiety disorder.

It’s normal to feel anxious during stressful times in life, but if you’re experiencing persistent anxiety that interferes with your daily life, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Though it can be debilitating for some, anxiety is typically manageable or treatable through a variety of short- and long-term interventions. This article will provide several ways to cope with and treat anxiety.

Illustration by Julie Bang for Verywell Health

How to Calm Anxiety Immediately: 5 Skills to Adopt

Anxiety symptoms can be distressing and can adversely impact your life. Though treatment needs will differ from person to person, there are many techniques for coping with anxiety that you can try on your own.

Question Your Thought Pattern

Anxiety often causes worrying thoughts and distressing images that feel intrusive and uncontrollable. One way to stop negative thought patterns is to catch them as they are happening and replace them with positive thoughts or ideas. These positive images don't need to be related to the worrying situation; any positive image can reduce anxiety.

You can also try questioning the validity of your thoughts. Try not to focus on things that are not factual or helpful. As you notice yourself thinking something unkind or untrue, stop and reframe your thoughts toward something more useful.

For example, if you have the thought, "I'm so bad at public speaking," a kinder and more helpful thought replacement could be, "I'm not as skilled at public speaking as I am at other things, but I will set a goal for myself to practice and learn new techniques to improve."

Deep Breathing

Intentional breathing is an effective way to reduce anxiety symptoms in the moment. Deep breathing exercises can be twice as effective: They help minimize stress in the body by encouraging relaxation and serve as a distraction when used as a focal point to interrupt intrusive thoughts.

There are many different kinds of deep breathing exercises . Here is one to try called 4-7-8 breathing:

  • Find a comfortable position and intentionally relax your muscles.
  • Close your eyes or soften your gaze.
  • Take a deep breath in as you expand your belly, counting to four as you inhale.
  • Hold your breath while counting to seven.
  • Exhale while contracting your belly and counting to eight.
  • Continue for as long as desired.

Grounding Techniques

Grounding (or earthing) exercises connect the body to the natural environment. Grounding is a stabilizing factor that can improve sleep, slow heart rates, and reduce stress and anxiety. The easiest way to practice grounding is to spend time outside in the dirt, grass, and other natural environments.

Grounding is most effective when you allow your skin to come into direct contact with Earth's surface, so try taking off your shoes and walking barefoot.

Special equipment can also be used for grounding when it's unsafe or impossible to spend time outdoors.

Physical exercise and movement are linked to better mental health and reduced anxiety symptoms. Exercise includes all movements that are routine, structured, and intended to improve health. Though exercise may impact types of anxiety differently, most exercises have a positive effect on symptoms, especially when added to a treatment plan that also includes things like therapy and medication.

Here are some examples of exercises to try:

  • Aerobic exercises, such as biking, walking, hiking, or swimming
  • Weight-bearing exercises, such as squats, weight lifting, and push-ups
  • Stretching exercises, such as yoga, Pilates, or tai chi

Always check with a healthcare provider before starting a new exercise routine.


Aromatherapy is a method of using essential oils to encourage relaxation and promote health. Depending on the oil, different oils can be inhaled, used in massage, added to compresses, used in baths, or even consumed. Essential oils have been used for a long time as an alternative medicine, and certain oils have been shown to reduce anxiety. These include:

Aromatherapy oils can be purchased over the counter for use at home. Before using aromatherapy, be sure you understand its recommended method of use and never consume an oil without knowing if it's safe. For expert guidance on using aromatherapy, consult an aromatherapist who can help you determine the best oils for your symptoms and offer advice on how to use them.

Long-Term Strategies for Coping With Anxiety

In addition to in-the-moment coping strategies, there are also techniques you can use for managing anxiety symptoms over the long term.

Identify and Learn to Manage Your Triggers

Keeping track of your triggers, or things that bring on or worsen anxiety symptoms will allow you to recognize when they are happening and what causes them. Try keeping a log to track your symptoms. Include what you did before your symptoms started and how long they lasted.

You can also keep track of what relief strategies you tried at the moment and which were most (and least) effective. Once you've logged a few experiences, review them to see if you notice any patterns.

Try Therapy

Working with a mental health provider can be a helpful way to understand your anxiety symptoms and develop a long-term treatment plan. The most commonly used approach to treating anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) .

CBT teaches coping mechanisms such as relaxation, problem-solving skills, methods for questioning or stopping unhealthy thoughts, and psychoeducation.

Daily or Routine Meditation

Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment rather than getting stuck in thoughts about the past or worries about the future. You can develop mindfulness through meditation and decrease rumination, worry, and other anxiety symptoms.

Try carving out time each day for meditation. There are many different approaches to try. Here is a simple option to get started:

  • Sit comfortably with your eyes closed.
  • Start to focus on your breathing.
  • As you inhale, label the breath by saying "in breath" silently to yourself.
  • As you exhale, label it "out breath."
  • While you do this, you'll start to notice thoughts. Without judgment, notice them, label them "thoughts," and bring your attention back to your breathing.

Do this for as long as you can, building upon the length of time with practice. Remember that meditation is about noticing and intentionally slowing down the body and mind; it's not about clearing your thoughts.

The 3-3-3 Rule for Anxiety

The 3-3-3 rule can help you stop ruminating thoughts and bring you into the present moment. Whenever you feel anxious, look around the room and name three things you see, name three things you hear, and move three parts of your body.

Ask About Medications

For some people, medication serves as a way to help treat severe anxiety symptoms. The most common medications used to treat anxiety disorders are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

These classes of medications are found to be equally effective, though some people may respond better to one over the other. Talk to a healthcare provider to learn more about medications for anxiety.

Change Your Diet and Supplements

Diet can have a significant impact on anxiety. Generally speaking, unhealthy diets that include a lot of processed foods can cause or worsen anxiety symptoms. Healthy diets that are associated with lower levels of anxiety include:

  • The Mediterranean diet
  • Anti-inflammatory diets
  • Diets that feature large varieties of foods

The most important factors of these healthy diets are that they include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and minimally processed foods, and they do not include a lot of sugar or refined grains.

Supplements can be a healthy way to add insufficient nutrients to diets. For example, taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement can improve anxiety if your diet doesn't include enough of it. Always talk to a healthcare provider before taking a supplement, especially if you take medications.

Stay Active

Developing a regular exercise routine can help keep anxiety symptoms at bay over the long term. Try coming up with a plan you can stick to by finding enjoyable activities that fit your budget and are easily accessible. By implementing a plan, it will be easier to follow when anxiety symptoms worsen.

Journaling is a great way to get anxious thoughts out and keep track of them over time. There are many ways to journal, and no way is right or wrong. Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Keep a log.
  • Write about your thoughts, behaviors, and feelings each day.
  • Write about your activities.
  • Do a brain dump.
  • Follow a prompt.

Anxiety can make it tempting to isolate, especially when symptoms are at their worst. Staying in touch with friends and loved ones serves as a protective factor against anxiety. Try planning at least one social event per week and following through even as your anxiety increases. To cope with anxiety in the moment, try one of the previously mentioned exercises, such as breathing or grounding techniques.

Attending an anxiety support group online or in person can also be helpful. Support groups can be found online or by asking a mental health provider for recommendations.

Understanding Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety and panic disorders are both common and can be disruptive and challenging to cope with. Though similar, an anxiety attack is different from a panic attack.

Anxiety Symptoms

There are different kinds of anxiety disorders , each of which has its own set of symptoms. The most common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) , social anxiety disorder , and phobias . Panic disorder is another type of anxiety disorder and is characterized by panic attacks. Anxiety symptoms can differ from person to person and vary depending on the specific disorder. Here are some common symptoms associated with anxiety:

  • Restlessness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nervousness or shaking
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling tired
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Uncontrollable worry

Panic Attack vs. Anxiety Attack

In contrast to the often ever-present feelings of anxiety, a panic attack usually comes on suddenly and unexpectedly. Panic attacks are characterized by a racing heart, quick and shallow breaths, chest pain, dizziness, and feelings of dread or doom. Someone having a panic attack may think they are dying or have a sensation that they are outside of their own body.

Though anxiety attacks are not diagnosable mental disorders, some people may have an increase in anxiety symptoms in connection with a stressful or triggering event or experience. This acute onset of anxiety symptoms is often described as an anxiety attack.

There are many techniques you can try for managing and treating anxiety. To cope with anxiety in the moment, try interrupting negative thought patterns with positive ones, deep breathing exercises, grounding techniques, getting exercise, or using aromatherapy. To treat anxiety and manage long-term symptoms, it may be helpful to track your triggers, seek therapy, or talk to a medical provider about medication. Eating a healthy diet, staying active, journaling, and keeping an active social life are also shown to positively affect anxiety.

NIH National Institute of Mental Health. Anxiety disorders .

Eagleson C, Hayes S, Mathews A, Perman G, Hirsch CR. The power of positive thinking: pathological worry is reduced by thought replacement in generalized anxiety disorder .  Behav Res Ther . 2016;78:13-18. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2015.12.017

Menigoz W, Latz TT, Ely RA, Kamei C, Melvin G, Sinatra D. Integrative and lifestyle medicine strategies should include Earthing (grounding): review of research evidence and clinical observations .  Explore (NY) . 2020;16(3):152-160. doi:10.1016/j.explore.2019.10.005

Stonerock GL, Hoffman BM, Smith PJ, Blumenthal JA. Exercise as treatment for anxiety: systematic review and analysis .  Ann Behav Med . 2015;49(4):542-556. doi:10.1007/s12160-014-9685-9

Barati F, Nasiri A, Akbari N, Sharifzadeh G. The effect of aromatherapy on anxiety in patients .  Nephrourol Mon . 2016;8(5):e38347. doi:10.5812/numonthly.38347

Curtiss JE, Levine DS, Ander I, Baker AW. Cognitive-behavioral treatments for anxiety and stress-related disorders .  Focus (Am Psychiatr Publ) . 2021;19(2):184-189. doi:10.1176/appi.focus.20200045

Mayo-Wilson E, Dias S, Mavranezouli I, et al. Psychological and pharmacological interventions for social anxiety disorder in adults: a systematic review and network meta-analysis .  Lancet Psychiatry . 2014;1(5):368-376. doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(14)70329-3

Aucoin M, LaChance L, Naidoo U, et al. Diet and anxiety: a scoping review .  Nutrients . 2021;13(12):4418. doi:10.3390/nu13124418

Locke AB, Kirst N, Shultz CG. Diagnosis and management of generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder in adults .  Am Fam Physician . 2015;91(9):617-624.

By Melissa Porrey LPC, NCC Porrey is a licensed professional counselor and writer based in DC. She is a nationally board-certified counselor.

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10 Ways To Avoid A Homework Meltdown

Sophia Gardner

Apr 11, 2016

Homework can often feel like an overwhelming, never-ending pile of stress. Homework stress can cause frustration and anxiety and ultimately prevent you from achieving your best results.

However, this feeling of not being in control can be avoided by simply adjusting your study habits. Homework and study can actually be a rewarding, satisfying experience if done in an organised and efficient way. Here are some tips on how to achieve that. 

1. Practise good time management

Time management is key to avoiding homework stress. Plotting out the time you need to complete your homework or assignment can quickly make what seems like an overwhelming task much less stressful to approach.

  • Set aside a certain amount of time each day to work on your homework, and choose a time that sits you. You may prefer early in the morning before school, or maybe you’re fresher when you get home from school in the afternoon.
  • Use a calendar or school planner to plot out your work. List important dates, when things are due and when you have exams. This will help you have a good visual of things you need to work towards.
  • Allow enough time to complete your work . Making sure you give yourself enough time to complete your work is crucial in avoiding a meltdown. Be realistic. Estimate how long you think it will take each day to complete your homework, and allow plenty of time for bigger projects and assignments.

2. Ask questions

One of the biggest causes of homework stress is not understanding the question, or how to solve the problem at hand. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and clarify what you need to do. Whether it be a question on how to solve a tricky trigonometry problem or how to structure your essay, no question is a silly question. Try asking your teachers, your parents, a friend or an online Subject Specialist for help.


3. Listen to your teacher and take notes

It sounds simple, but it’s something that many students struggle with. Pay attention and write down important terms and ideas in the classroom. You will find this helps organise your thoughts and remember key information, which will make homework time much more of a breeze.

4. Allow more time for areas you find difficult

Take a practice test or write a practice essay and focus on the areas you find the hardest. The more you practise, the less stressful it will be when the time comes to sit the exam or hand in your assignment.

5. Refresh your memory regularly

Every afternoon, or at least every couple of days, go over what you’ve learnt from previous lessons. If you find that you don’t have the basic knowledge to tackle more difficult subjects go over this more frequently -  this will help you build up your confidence in those areas.

6. Get a good night’s sleep

It may sound obvious, but it’s easy to suffer from sleep deprivation when you are feeling stressed about homework. Research suggests that kids and teens need around 9-10 hours sleep a night.  This will significantly help focus, memory, decision making and creativity, all of which are important inside and outside of the classroom.

7. Avoid procrastination

Procrastination could well be the biggest factor responsible for homework stress. You’d be surprised at how much time you can waste by putting off what you need to do until you’ve checked out your Facebook page or listened to your favourite song! Let these be rewards for once your work is actually done.

8. Have a healthy snack

There is a proven link between what we eat and how well our brain functions. Memory, learning ability and emotional states are affected by what we put into our bodies, and to perform our best we need a healthy diet. (Check out some  delicious and healthy snack recipes here )

9. Remember to breathe

If you’re starting to feel anxious or overwhelmed by your work, take five deep breaths and give yourself a moment of calm. Deep breathing will help control your nervous system and encourage your body to relax, bringing you into a better state to concentrate on your study.

10. Give yourself some ‘me’ time

While it’s important that you manage your time and work efficiently, you are going to be much more productive if you are feeling fresh and have had some time to do things you enjoy doing. It might be going for a walk or a swim, hanging out with some friends on the weekend, or perhaps it’s playing sport? Whatever it may be, make sure you have that balance. A healthy, happy mind equals better study time.

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Anxiety Therapy: Types, Techniques, and Worksheets


Such anticipatory anxiety makes enjoying each moment a difficult endeavor. Unfortunately, anxiety disorders represent a serious and prevalent problem for children and adults worldwide.

The lifetime prevalence rate for anxiety disorders is estimated at 33.7% of the population—an estimate that has remained quite stable over the years (Bandelow & Michaelis, 2015).

Overall, anxiety disorders represent the most common psychiatric disorders within the general population (Öst, 2008), and the number one mental disorder among women (Chambala, 2008).

While anxiety may serve a useful purpose (e.g., alerting us to dangers), too much anxiety impairs functioning and performance in certain activities (Yerkes & Dodson, 1908).

If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

When anxiety reaches the clinical level, it interferes with the ability to live life to the fullest, often causing significant social and occupational impairment. Anxiety disorders cover a lot of territories:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Specific phobias
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Anxiety disorders may be terrifying for their victims, causing physiological, cognitive, and emotional symptoms (Hart, 1999). Those experiencing panic attacks often end up in the emergency room, believing they are dying. It is also common for anxiety disorders to occur concomitantly with other disorders such as depression.

On the positive side, there are several effective therapeutic approaches for anxiety disorders, as well as a variety of techniques and worksheets individuals may apply themselves.

This article will describe these approaches while also addressing the specific issues of social and childhood anxiety disorders. By shedding light on anxiety disorders and their treatment, the goal is to provide useful suggestions, tools, and above all, hope for individuals negatively impacted by these conditions.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free . These science-based exercises will explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology including strengths, values, and self-compassion, and will give you the tools to enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students, or employees.

This Article Contains:

Can anxiety be cured with therapy, 6+ popular anxiety therapy options, exposure treatment for anxiety, 14+ techniques for treating anxiety, 9 useful worksheets for your sessions, helpful exercises, a look at anxiety group therapy + ideas, a note on art therapy for anxiety, 17 creative art and music therapy ideas, treating child anxiety, a note on e-therapy for anxiety, a take-home message.

While anxiety covers a range of areas and may be debilitating, it is highly treatable.

Despite the enormous stressors of modern society, there are ways to respond without succumbing to serious anxiety problems. Anxiety has been described as “the absence of the happy messengers that keep us tranquil” (Hart, 1999, p. 5).

Rebuilding such tranquility is possible thanks to a number of psychological treatment approaches. This article will focus on the non-pharmaceutical approaches that have been found effective for reducing and even curing individuals of anxiety disorders and associated symptomatology.

Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems.

Severe anxiety is generally more a reflection of worry about anxiety itself as opposed to the problem underneath.

For example, an individual with a public speaking phobia is typically terrified of looking like a fool in front of an audience because of their anxiety symptoms (e.g., hyperventilating, throwing up, passing out, sweating, stuttering, etc.).

It is not fear of public speaking per se that is the real problem, but rather, the anticipation of associated anxiety that causes distress. It is by confronting such anxiety that individuals often experience relief.

Although the nature of intervention needs to be individualized based on the particular type of anxiety disorder, the following anxiety treatments can be effective for many people.

1. Cognitive therapy

Cognitive therapy is the most common psychological treatment for anxiety disorders.

This approach involves working with therapists to identify the feelings, thoughts, and beliefs that impact an individual’s ability to modify behaviors. For example, a person with a phobia of dogs would work to uncover the irrational beliefs that surround this phobia, such as the inherent danger in approaching all dogs.

Cognitive therapy is typically combined with behavior therapy to address beliefs and cognitions in conjunction with working toward ways of changing behaviors.

For example, the patient with the dog phobia might try approaching docile dogs while also working with a therapist on their irrational fears. This is an approach known as exposure therapy.

2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is widely used for anxiety disorders because it encompasses each of the underlying tenets that are related to clinical anxiety.

CBT is grounded in the following ideas:

  • Mental health disorders involve key learning and information processing mechanisms (e.g., irrational beliefs about perceived dangers).
  • Behaviors are better understood by exposing their true functions (e.g., examining the belief that sweating and heart palpitations will result in death).
  • New adaptive learning experiences can be used to substitute prior nonadaptive learning processes (e.g., developing new beliefs about a feared object after increasing exposure).
  • Clinicians take on a scientific approach to therapy by creating hypotheses about patients’ cognitive and behavioral patterns, intervening and observing outcomes, and reframing original hypotheses as needed (Hazlett-Stevens & Craske, 2004).

In this way, the CBT approach is tailored to the individual needs of the client and modified based on their progress (Hazlett-Stevens & Craske, 2004). CBT is grounded in the assumption that “emotional [i.e., anxiety] disorders are maintained by cognitive factors, and that psychological treatment leads to changes in these factors through cognitive and behavioral techniques” (Hofmann & Smits, 2008, p. 621).

CBT contains a variety of potential components:

  • Social skills training
  • Cognitive restructuring
  • Problem-solving training
  • Self-monitoring or journaling of symptoms
  • Relaxation training

Also, it may be implemented via brief therapy or over a longer duration depending upon the client and their presenting problems.

Meta-analyses have determined that CBT is an effective approach for the treatment of anxiety disorders (Butler, Chapman, Forman, & Beck, 2006; Deacon & Abramowitz, 2004; Hofmann & Smits, 2008; Stewart & Chambless, 2009).

In addition, CBT implemented by primary physicians with minimal mental health training (i.e., ‘The Calm Program’) has been reported as an acceptable and encouraging way for primary doctors to help anxious patients who might otherwise remain untreated (Craske et al., 2009).

3. Attention bias modification

Attention bias modification is a newly emerging approach that involves the use of computer-based attention training with patients with anxiety to affect hyper-attention to perceived threats in the environment (Bar-Haim, 2010).

In this way, problematic attentional biases can be modified to reduce anxiety.

Attention bias modification is similar to CBT because it involves exposure to feared objects or situations, but it is also unique because of its focus on specific attentional bias targets (Hakamata et al., 2010).

Although studies investigating this approach are minimal, attention bias modification represents a promising new approach for the treatment of anxiety disorders (Hakamata et al., 2010).

4. Hypnosis

Hypnosis has also been found to benefit individuals dealing with anxiety.

Hypnosis is “a state of consciousness involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness characterized by an enhanced capacity for response to suggestion” (Elkins, Barabasz, Council, & Spiegel, 2014, p. 6).

Hypnosis is like meditation, but with added objectives based on the needs of the individual. It may involve varying states of consciousness during which attention is focused and distractions are tuned out (McNeal, 2019).

Importantly, hypnosis is not an out-of-control experience, as the patient has power over and awareness of what’s going on. Additionally, its goals are achievable within a minimal time commitment (Straub & Bowman, 2016).

Hypnosis (including self-hypnosis) has been widely used within the mental health field (Valentine, Milling, Clark, & Moriarty, 2019). It has also been reported as a useful tool for patients dealing with the following:

  • Dental anxiety (Potter, 2013)
  • Surgical anxiety (Capafons & Mendoza, 2009)
  • Anxiety related to sports competitions (Mendoza, 2010)
  • Social phobia (Capafons & Mendoza, 2013)
  • Anxiety disorders in general (Hammond, 2010)

5. Psychodynamic therapy

Psychodynamic therapy as a therapeutic approach often conjures up antiquated images of psychiatrist couches and patients reliving early childhood experiences. Psychodynamic therapy, which is rooted in Freudian theory, involves building strong therapist–patient alliances in which patients may develop the psychological tools needed to deal with fears and anxieties.

Although treatment may be lengthy, short-term psychodynamic therapy also has been reported as an effective approach for anxiety.

For example, one study reported that a 30-session psychodynamic treatment was helpful for the treatment of generalized anxiety – although this approach was less successful than CBT (Leichsenring et al., 2009).

Additionally, in a study examining long-term follow-up after psychodynamic therapy, significant reductions were reported for anxiety symptoms, with short-term approaches producing quicker improvements and long-term approaches providing longer lasting improvements (Knekt et al., 2008).

Finally, in a study comparing psychodynamic therapy with CBT, both approaches produced significant positive effects for social anxiety (Bögels, Wijts, Oort, & Sallaerts, 2014).

In contrast, a comparison of CBT and short-term psychodynamic therapy for patients with excessive health-related anxiety indicated significant improvements only for those who received CBT (Sørensen, Birket-Smith, Wattar, Buemann, & Salkovskis, 2010).

6. Vagus nerve stimulation

In this unique treatment approach, an anticonvulsant device sends electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is targeted because of its ability to modulate anxiety.

Although this approach is typically used for epilepsy and treatment-resistant depression, studies have also demonstrated its effectiveness for treatment-resistant anxiety disorders (George et al., 2008).

Additionally, studies in which vagus nerve stimulation was used to treat epilepsy or depression have reported significant reductions in anxiety symptoms (Chavel, Westerveld, & Spencer, 2003; Rush et al., 2000).

Importantly, vagus nerve stimulation is an invasive approach that is used as an add-on treatment for patients who have not achieved success with CBT and other forms of therapy.

exposure therapy for anxiety

With exposure therapy, the patient is exposed to their feared object or situation, such as flying.

Such exposure is typically gradual, with the exposure beginning with less threatening stimuli and gradually working its way toward increasingly feared stimuli (Wolpe, 1958).

This graduated exposure therapy is grounded in behavioral psychology, with the goal of desensitizing the patient to their feared trigger.

An example of graduated exposure therapy is that of an individual with arachnophobia. In this case, the patient might work with a therapist as follows:

  • The patient first watches a film with giant spiders.
  • The patient then views a large but harmless spider in a glass case across the room.
  • The patient approaches and looks directly into the glass case.
  • The patient works toward actually handling the spider.

Of course, the nature and duration of the arachnophobia exposure therapy will depend upon the patient’s individual symptoms and needs.

If systematic desensitization is used, gradual exposure will also involve relaxation techniques as a way of pairing the feared stimulus with a state that is not compatible with anxiety. Therefore, the patient might experience relaxation training while viewing spider images.

Like CBT, there are different ways in which exposure therapy may be implemented depending upon the client and diagnosis. For example, exposure therapy may be in vivo, as is the case with the live spider. Simulated exposure is a similar technique in which the patient experiences a proxy of the feared stimuli. For example, viewing a film of spiders is a simulated exposure.

Recent technology has provided therapists with the tools to implement more realistic simulations via virtual reality exposure therapy .

In such cases, patients wear headsets in which they experience a highly realistic virtual space. This technique is useful for several anxiety disorders and phobias; for example, military patients with PTSD can use virtual reality to simulate battlefield experiences.

Research studies have shown support for virtual reality exposure therapy in the treatment of anxiety disorders. For example, in a comprehensive meta-analysis, researchers found significant positive effects for virtual reality exposure therapy across outcomes (Powers & Emmelkamp, 2008).

Another type of exposure therapy is flooding. ’ With this technique, patients confront their fears via simulated or in vivo exposure that is not gradual. Instead, patients are rapidly exposed to fear-provoking stimuli until they feel less anxious. For example, a patient with a bridge phobia is taken to a bridge and asked to stand on it until their anxiety wanes.

Flooding is based on the idea that without engaging in avoidance, the patient’s fear will become extinguished (Abramowitz, Deacon, & Whiteside, 2019). Therapists generally prefer gradual exposure over flooding because the latter is intense and may have negative repercussions for patients not prepared for such direct and immediate exposure to feared stimuli.

Other forms of exposure therapy include prolonged exposure , which was designed for the treatment of PTSD. With prolonged exposure, both repeated in vivo and imaginal exposure are combined to enable the patient to experience trauma without the feared outcomes.

This technique has been widely used for the treatment of PTSD and is considered by many clinicians as the best option for this disorder (Van Minnen, Harned, Zoellner, & Mills, 2012).

In a meta-analysis examining prolonged exposure among PTSD patients, individuals in the prolonged exposure group experienced better results than 86% of those in control condition (Powers, Halpern, Ferenschak, Gillihan, & Foa, 2010).

Acceptance-based therapy is another CBT approach sometimes used together with in vivo or simulated exposure therapy. The goal of this relatively new approach is to help patients increase their willingness to experience anxiety as part of their exposure to feared situations (England et al., 2012).

For example, in a study examining the use of acceptance-based exposure therapy for individuals with public speaking phobias, participants received group-based therapy in which they experienced public speaking exposure combined with acceptance-based treatment aimed at promoting acceptance of distressing emotions and sensations associated with public speaking (England et al., 2012).

Participants who received acceptance-based exposure therapy, which seeks to promote ‘psychological flexibility,’ experienced significant improvements in public speaking confidence, skills, and associated emotions (England et al., 2012).


If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.

Along with CBT and other therapist-implemented approaches for anxiety, various additional techniques may help to ease symptoms. Here is a list of ideas:

Mindfulness approaches involve a type of awareness in which a person pays attention to their feelings and thoughts in the moment and without judgment. It is an open-minded and totally accepting way of responding to thoughts (Kabat-Zinn, 2005).

Mindfulness techniques may be beneficial to patients with anxiety by helping to increase relaxation while removing negative or stressful judgments. Mindfulness may be enhanced by using various approaches, such as meditation, yoga, or deep-breathing exercises.

While mindfulness activities are often add-ons with CBT and other forms of therapy, there is recent evidence supporting their unique benefit for the reduction of anxiety (Blanck et al., 2018).

Engaging in aerobic exercise also represents a useful way to reduce physiological stress responses and improve mood (Sharma, Madaan, & Petty, 2006). While it may be difficult for an anxious person to find the motivation to exercise, its potential benefits make it worth the effort.

Physical activity is linked to reduced anxiety symptomatology, as well as improved cognitive functioning, life satisfaction, and psychological wellbeing (Carek, Laibstain, & Carek, 2011).

Exercise is beneficial for anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder (Baldwin et al., 2014).

Exercise has also been associated with reduced anxiety symptoms among sedentary patients with medical conditions (Baldwin et al., 2014).

Exercise is especially attractive because it’s cost-effective and may be performed in a variety of ways. While exercise may not reap the same benefits for patients with anxiety as CBT or other psychological approaches, it may enhance the impact of such treatment.

Along with mindfulness techniques and aerobic exercise, here are a variety of things that individuals can do to reduce anxiety:

  • Get involved in a hobby you love (e.g., baking, gardening, reading, painting, etc.).
  • Listen to your favorite music.
  • Journal your feelings.
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Make sure to eat healthy, as junk food can have adverse effects on physical and psychological health.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Go out in nature.
  • Avoid emotional triggers (e.g., people and places that consistently increase your anxiety).
  • Spend time with animals.
  • Organize your home or workspace, as clutter may exacerbate anxiety.
  • Watch caffeine and alcohol intake.
  • Spend time with family and friends whom you enjoy.

Techniques for treating social anxiety

Social anxiety is a prevalent problem, with over 7% of Americans diagnosed with social anxiety disorder (Norton, 2012).

Social anxiety may take several forms, such as a fear of public speaking, social situations, or meeting new people.

Social anxiety stems from an individual’s fear of adverse judgments or scrutiny from others and the humiliation that follows. As such, social phobia may lead to significant problems within occupational, educational, and social domains, which often result in low self-esteem and loneliness.

The best treatment for social anxiety is CBT, with exposure therapy often recommended.

For example, an individual with public speaking anxiety might work on speaking in front of a few people and gradually work their way up to larger groups.

Socially anxious people may also benefit from social skills and relaxation training.

For example, in an in-depth meta-analysis, including 30 studies and 1,628 respondents, Acarturk, Cuijpers, van Straten, and de Graaf (2008) investigated various social anxiety treatments.

Therapy intervention methods included CBT, cognitive restructuring, exposure therapy, social skills training, and applied relaxation training.

The authors found the psychological treatments to be highly effective for social anxiety disorder, with no differences between treatment types (likely because so many studies used combined treatments). Lower effectiveness was noted for patients with more severe social anxiety disorder (Acarturk et al., 2008).

In another study, which was randomized with a one-year follow-up, Anderson et al. (2013) compared in vivo exposure with virtual reality exposure for the treatment of social anxiety.

Anderson et al. (2013) reported significant improvements at 12-month follow-up, with virtual reality therapy functioning equally well as in vivo exposure. Research also has indicated that attentional bias training for social anxiety is related to significant reductions in social anxiety symptoms (Schmidt, Richey, Buckner, & Timpano, 2009).

In sum, while social anxiety disorder often results in severe impairment, there are psychological treatments that have been found to diminish significantly associated symptomatology and enhance the quality of life for many individuals.

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There are numerous worksheets that may be useful for reducing anxiety. Here are several examples:

  • The Anxiety Workbook : A 7-Week Plan to Overcome Anxiety, Stop Worrying, and End Panic (Cuncic, 2017)
  • Jane’s Worry Elephant : A Self-Help Guide for Kids with Anxiety (Miller, 2019)
  • The Worry Workbook for Kids : Helping Children to Overcome Anxiety and the Fear of Uncertainty (Khanna & Ledley, 2018)
  • Conquer Anxiety Workbook for Teens : Find Peace From Worry, Panic, Fear, and Phobias (Chansard, 2019)
  • The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal : A Creative Way to Stop Freaking Out (Peterson, 2019)
  • The Anxiety and Worry Workbook : The Cognitive Behavioral Solution (Clark & Beck, 2011)
  • The Generalized Anxiety Disorder Workbook : A Comprehensive CBT Guide for Coping with Uncertainty, Worry, and Fear (Robichaud & Dugas, 2015)
  • The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook (Bourne, 2015)
  • Let That Sh*t Go : A Journal for Leaving Your Bullsh*t Behind and Creating a Happy Life (Sweeney, 2018)

Body Scan Meditation

Because such activities may be conducted as needed and for free, they represent highly feasible ways to deal with anxiety issues.

Many therapists will prescribe self-guided mindfulness and meditation exercises for clients to complete between in-person therapy sessions or as a tool to help during moments of intense anxiety.

With the rise in digital technologies, such as smartphones and blended care e-therapy platforms like Quenza (pictured here), the prescription of take-home interventions such as these is becoming increasingly more common and convenient.

While the potential value of self-guided exercise has face validity, standalone exercises performed outside of treatment intervention have rarely been researched.

However, in a meta-analysis of 18 studies, standalone exercises were found to be beneficial for the reduction of anxiety (Blanck et al., 2018).

The standalone mindfulness exercises included breathing meditation, sitting meditation, body scan (gradually attending to different parts of the body) and sound scan (mindfulness that adjusts responses to sounds so their aversive impact is reduced).

Blanck et al.’s (2018) study shows that there are positive ways for individuals to deal with their anxiety on their own, outside of a structured intervention.

If you are feeling anxious or stressed, you can search and apply various exercises based on your unique interests and needs. Here are some examples:

  • Deep-breathing meditation
  • Sitting meditation
  • Body scan meditation
  • Loving-kindness meditation
  • Spiritual meditation
  • Vipassana meditation
  • Transcendental meditation
  • Mantra meditation
  • Walking meditation
  • Buddhist meditation

Quick-start guide to anxiety treatment – Therapy in a Nutshell

Psychological treatment options for anxiety include both individual and group-based therapies.

Norton (2012) describes effective evidence-based approaches designed to help CBT therapists implement group-based interventions for patients with anxiety disorders.

Such group treatment approaches (e.g., exposure, cognitive restructuring, mindfulness, etc.) are useful for all anxiety disorders; there is no need to apply separate strategies for specific anxiety disorders (Norton, 2012).

For CBT group therapy to be effective, the group needs to be both cohesive and task focused. Other key group therapy factors include altruism, imitative behaviors, interpersonal learning, and installation of hope (Yalom, 1995).

While there is more research examining one-on-one CBT therapy for anxiety than for group therapy (Whitefield, 2010), the latter approach has some advantages:

  • Cost-effectiveness
  • The ability to reach more people
  • May facilitate the normalization of behaviors (e.g., by seeing that others have the same problems)
  • The acceptance of challenges that are elicited by peers versus the therapist
  • Positive reinforcement by multiple people
  • Exposure situations that are more easily recreated within a group setting
  • The ability to exercise problem-solving skills by making suggestions to other group members (Whitefield, 2010)

While many individuals with anxiety disorders may benefit from group CBT, there are some people for whom group therapy is likely to be less effective, such as those with co-morbid psychological disorders, more severe and chronic presentation of problems, negative core beliefs, communication problems, interpersonal issues, active suicidal ideation, fear of group environments, extreme stress, or poor relationships (Moorey, 1996).

Additionally, individuals who lack the motivation to change or fail to comply with treatment are less likely to be a good match for group CBT (Moorey, 1996).

Group-based CBT as useful for the treatment of social anxiety disorders (Butler et al., 2018; Hedman et al., 2011).

In addition, preliminary research suggests that large-group CBT classes represent highly feasible and useful approaches for individuals with anxiety disorders (Palay et al., 2018).

In terms of key ingredients for group CBT as a treatment for social anxiety, researchers examined mechanisms for change for two group-based approaches: CBT, and mindfulness and acceptance-based therapy.

Results indicated that mindfulness and acceptance were fundamental mechanisms of change for both group approaches, whereas cognitive reappraisal was more important for CBT (Kocovski, Fleming, Hawley, Ho, & Antony, 2015).

Finally, a qualitative study examined perceptions among individuals with anxiety disorders who achieved benefits following group CBT (Abrahamsson, Nordling, & Michelsen et al., 2018).

Respondents described their anxiety as a lack of security and noted that creating a securing group environment involved the following themes:

  • Sharing with others (e.g., getting to know others with similar problems)
  • Knowledge given to participants (e.g., as related to the link between anxiety and thoughts, behaviors, health, and lifestyle)
  • Structure (e.g., how instructors responded to participants’ needs and provided acceptable structures for group members to practice on their own; Abrahamsson et al., 2018)

Overall, if you are dealing with anxiety and feel that group therapy is a good fit for you, there is likely a group that will meet your needs. Once you do some research and find groups that interest you, it is also a good idea to try out several until you find the best fit.

art therapy for anxiety

There is a certain magic in the act of creating; young children expressing themselves through art appear not to have a care in the world.

Indeed, the therapeutic benefit in the creation of art transcends age and talent. There are two important reasons that art therapy is a viable approach for anxious individuals:

  • It enables a type of self-expression that goes beyond words.
  • Visual representations of anxiety aid in the application of certain types of therapy (Chambala, 2008).

Art therapy has also been described as creating a cathartic release of positive feelings (Curl, 2008). Research supports this idea, as art therapy has been found effective for the reduction of anxiety and other psychological symptoms across multiple populations.

Here are some noteworthy examples:

  • Engaging in art such as coloring mandalas, making collages, and modeling with clay is associated with reduced anxiety among college students (Sandmire, Gorham, Rankin, & Grimm, 2012).
  • Creating art such as ‘healthy image posters,’ greeting cards, and silk wall hangings is related to reduced anxiety among family caregivers of cancer patients (Walsh, Martin, & Schmidt, 2004).
  • Participation in group art therapy is related to the reduction of symptomatology among adult psychiatric outpatients primarily diagnosed with depressive, anxiety, and adjustment disorders (Chandraiah, Anand, & Avent, 2012).
  • Engaging in art therapy is related to the reduction of overall state anxiety among adult cancer patients (Nainis et al., 2006).
  • Creating art is related to reduced levels of perceived stress among Canadian college students (Abbott, Shanahan, & Neufeld, 2013).
  • Making pottery is related to reduced anxiety among elderly nursing home residents (Doric-Henry, 1997).
  • Engaging in art-therapy-based supervision among end-of-life care workers is associated with reduced anxiety and enhancement of emotional awareness and regulation (Potash, Ho, Chan, Wang, & Cheng, 2014).
  • Art therapy incorporated into brief CBT among individuals with anxiety disorders is associated with reduced frequency of panic attacks (Morris, 2014).
  • Simply being exposed to visual art has been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms among psychiatric inpatients (Nanda, Eisen, Zadeh, & Owen, 2010), a finding that attests to the powerful healing power of art.
The function of music is to liberate in the soul those feelings which normally we keep locked up in the heart.

Sebastian Faulks

Music does have a way of changing moods, whether this means sinking into the angst of the blues or experiencing the upbeat feelings of disco. Because of its ability to affect mood, music therapy has been used to help patients deal with a variety of psychological problems.

Music therapy basically consists of “the monitored use of music to promote clinical change” (Bulfone, Quattrin, Zanotti, Regattin, & Brusaferro, 2009, p. 238). Music therapy can be used in multiple ways, such as in combination with CBT or other types of therapy .

Performing music may also foster positive feelings that promote healing. The efficacy of music therapy for the reduction of anxiety is also supported by scientific literature.

For example, music has been found to reduce anxiety among cancer patients receiving chemotherapy (Bulfone et al., 2009; Karagozoglu, Tekyasar, & Yilmaz, 2012), physiological signs of anxiety among patients receiving mechanical ventilatory support (Korhan, Khorshid, & Uyar, 2011), and anxiety among patients with Alzheimer’s disease (Guétin et al., 2009).

Additionally, music therapy is associated with reduced anxiety among individuals with psychiatric disorders (de l’Etoile, 2002; Bibb, Castle, & Newton, 2015; Shiranibidabadi & Mehryar, 2015).

There are many ways we can enhance our moods with the use of music; here are some ideas:

  • Pick music that fits your mood or activity, such as upbeat music for exercise and classical music for relaxation.
  • Try meditative music before sleeping.
  • Take dance lessons.
  • If you are anxious or angry while driving, pick music that will calm your nerves.
  • Do not expose yourself to others’ music if it causes stress.
  • Use music while creating art as a way of adding inspiration.

Similarly, there are several ways you might engage in creative art as a way of promoting positive wellbeing.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Collage making
  • Painting or drawing
  • Building with Legos or Lincoln Logs
  • Making paper airplanes
  • Scrapbooking
  • Stained glass making
  • Sewing or quilting

Treating child anxiety

As with adults, childhood anxiety disorders cause significant impairment and are often unrecognized (Walkup et al., 2008).

Rapee et al. (2009) note that childhood anxiety has a negative impact on peer relationships, school functioning, and family processes. Childhood anxiety disorders also commonly occur in conjunction with other psychological diagnoses and have been linked to inhibited temperament (Rapee et al., 2009).

The most common childhood anxiety disorders include separation anxiety, phobias, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and PTSD.

As with adults, childhood anxiety disorders are often successfully treated using CBT or skill-focused treatment, both of which are sometimes combined with pharmacological treatment.

In a randomized, controlled study of 488 children with anxiety disorders, CBT, both alone and in combination with antidepressant therapy, was related to significant reductions in anxiety severity as compared to a no-treatment comparison group (Walkup et al., 2008).

Similarly, among children with anxiety disorders, responsiveness to CBT during childhood has been associated with reductions in anxiety during adulthood (Benjamin, Harrison, Settipani, Brodman, & Kendall, 2013).

In a study examining the long-term effects of CBT combined with parental anxiety management, children who received the combined treatment were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder three years later (Cobham, Dadds, Spence, & McDermott, 2010).

Interestingly, the combined therapy was significantly more effective than the CBT treatment alone, which makes sense given that psychological symptoms in parents are related to treatment outcomes among children with anxiety (Berman, Weems, Silverman, & Kurtines, 2000).

Along with parental influences, the quality of peer friendships has also been found to predict better CBT treatment responses among kids with anxiety disorders (Baker & Hudson, 2013).

While there is some evidence that children with particular anxiety disorders (e.g., obsessive-compulsive disorder) may benefit from pharmacological treatment (especially selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors), quality studies examining the effects of psychotropic medication for the treatment of pediatric anxiety are scarce (Reinblatt & Riddle, 2007).

There is, however, evidence that CBT is an effective treatment for children with anxiety disorders, with long-term benefits often noted (Muris, Meesters, & van Melick, 2002). Moreover, CBT is particularly effective for treating childhood anxiety disorders when combined with family training (Muris et al., 2002).

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With the large numbers of individuals with anxiety disorders who remain undiagnosed and untreated, psychologists have attempted to find more effective ways to provide treatment.

This point is particularly salient concerning anxiety disorders, as the inability to engage in treatment outside the home is often inherent in the disorder itself.

Fortunately, technology has created an avenue in which individuals with anxiety disorders may be reached. By delivering therapist-guided CBT via the computer (

For example, in a study examining a 10-week dose of iCBT among participants with generalized anxiety, iCBT was associated with significant positive treatment effects comparable to those found for in-person treatment (Robinson et al., 2010). Similarly, CBT e-therapy has been reported as effective for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety (Klein, Meyer, Austin, & Kyrios, 2011).

Finally, in a comprehensive review of 26 randomized controlled studies of internet therapy, 23 studies reported positive results for the treatment of depression or anxiety symptoms (Griffiths, Farrer, & Christensen, 2010). Preliminary findings for the efficacy of internet-based treatment provides promise for adults and children experiencing the often debilitating effects of anxiety disorders.

Anxiety symptoms and clinical anxiety disorders are highly prevalent and often debilitating.

Fortunately, these conditions are absolutely treatable. Effective treatment options include CBT, attention bias modification, hypnosis, psychodynamic therapy, and vagus nerve stimulation.

The psychological treatment approach with the most scientific support for anxiety disorders is CBT. Consequently, CBT is often the treatment of choice among therapists specializing in anxiety issues.

CBT may take many forms, with exposure therapy often reported as highly successful for the reduction of anxiety. Exposure therapy may be enhanced with other therapeutic approaches, such as relaxation training and acceptance-based therapy. There is also support for the efficacy of group CBT for the treatment of anxiety, especially when groups are both cohesive and task focused.

Anxiety disorders are common among children, with the most frequent diagnoses including separation anxiety, phobias, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and PTSD. Research similarly indicates that CBT has long-term benefits for kids, especially when combined with family therapy . Along with CBT, art and music therapy also represent research-based approaches found to soothe an anxious mind.

In addition, there are various things individuals can do on their own to relieve anxiety, such as deep breathing, aerobic exercise, meditation, yoga, enjoying a hobby, listening to music, etc.

Finally, anxiety treatment has been dramatically advanced by technology, with e-therapy (especially iCBT) reaching larger audiences than possible with face-to-face therapy. Overall, given the preponderance of evidence supporting anxiety-focused treatment, those with anxiety disorders or symptoms have much reason to be hopeful about the promise of a tomorrow without suffering.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free .

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Sherry Ken

Exploring the nuances of anxiety therapy in your blog was incredibly insightful. From outlining various types and techniques to providing practical worksheets, it’s a comprehensive guide for anyone seeking support. Your clarity and depth make navigating anxiety management feel less daunting. Thank you for this valuable resource!

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Thanks for always sharing your insights, being selfless, and spreading kindness. I personally can’t thank you enough for all of the amazing content you share. You change lives! WE APPRECIATE YOU. Stay safe!


How do you find a good iCBT for children?

Nicole Celestine

Hi Jill, Good question. While I’m not sure what the prevalence of iCBT services for children is (and it will depend somewhat on your country of residence), I’m aware that many face-to-face CBTs are switching to teletherapy as a result of COVID-19. So, a general suggestion I’d make is that if you have trouble finding online child CBT specialists, try doing a more general search for child CBTs and sending out some inquiries about whether they’ve moved online. Hope his helps! – Nicole | Community Manager

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How to Cope with Stress and Anger While Driving

While behind the wheel, you can’t control other drivers’ actions. This can make it hard to manage your emotions, such as anger or stress, when someone runs you off the road.

“As we experience stress, our body tries to prepare for what it’s going to do in reaction,” says Amanda McNab, a licensed clinical social worker at  Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI)  at the University of Utah. “And when it does happen, we often see people act out in order to get ahead—becoming more offensive than defensive.”

Research has found that individuals who drive while angry are more likely to be involved in crashes .

“When individuals are stressed out, they may be dealing with things at home or work, and they’re driving a huge chunk of metal running down the road,” McNab says.

Having self-awareness while driving can help alleviate some of the anger and stress you may feel.

Practice these self-awareness exercises to manage stress and reduce anxiety:

  • Box breathing . Deep breath in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, out for four seconds. Repeat.
  • 5-4-3-2-1 Method. Identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can heat, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can see.
  • Butterfly hug. Cross your hands across your chest and tap your fingers one side at a time. You can also do this on the steering wheel.
  • Pull over and get help. Call or text 988 if you feel overwhelmed or angry. If it’s an emergency, call 911 for immediate assistance.

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Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Federal Perkins/NDSL Loan Assignment Form

A Notice by the Education Department on 07/03/2024

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Federal Student Aid (FSA), Department of Education (ED).

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, the Department is proposing an extension without change of a currently approved information collection request (ICR).

Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before August 2, 2024.

Written comments and recommendations for proposed information collection requests should be submitted within 30 days of publication of this notice. Click on this link www.reginfo.gov/​public/​do/​PRAMain to access the site. Find this information collection request (ICR) by selecting “Department of Education” under “Currently Under Review,” then check the “Only Show ICR for Public Comment” checkbox. Reginfo.gov provides two links to view documents related to this information collection request. Information collection forms and instructions may be found by clicking on the “View Information Collection (IC) List” link. Supporting statements and other supporting documentation may be found by clicking on the “View Supporting Statement and Other Documents” link.

For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Beth Grebeldinger, (202) 570-8414.

The Department is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records.

Title of Collection: Federal Perkins/NDSL Loan Assignment Form.

OMB Control Number: 1845-0048.

Type of Review: Extension without change of a currently approved ICR.

Respondents/Affected Public: Private Sector; State, Local, and Tribal Governments.

Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 144,114.

Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 72,058.

Abstract: The U.S. Department of Education (the Department) is authorized to accept Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program assignments under section 463(a)(5) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. Institutions participating in the Perkins Loan program, including loans made under the National Direct/Defense Student Loan Program (NDSL), use the form (OMB Control Number 1845-0048) to assign loans to the Department for collection without recompense. This request is for approval of the assignment form which allows for assignment of Perkins Loans either individually or in a batch format, utilizing either the paper based or electronic filing format.

An institution may use the form to assign one or more loans to the Department at any time throughout the year. Some conditions under which an institution could utilize the assignment form include defaulted loans, total permanent disability discharges, voluntary withdrawal from the program, termination from the program, closure of the institution and liquidation of its Perkins Loan portfolio.

The Department is requesting an extension of the currently approved collection. There has been no change to the form. There has been a change in the number of respondents, responses, and burden hours.

Dated: June 27, 2024.

Kun Mullan,

PRA Coordinator, Strategic Collections and Clearance, Governance and Strategy Division, Office of Chief Data Officer, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development.

[ FR Doc. 2024-14600 Filed 7-2-24; 8:45 am]


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