Dealing with Anxiety: Short Term Strategies

As many of you know, I was diagnosed with depression & anxiety last year. It’s something that goes way back, but I was able to address a lot of the core issues last year.

I definitely still have lapses, and like any other person on the planet, I have good days and bad days as well.

I was talking to a student of mine the other day about exam anxiety and thought I’d share some things I do to help in that moment of stress. Some of these I have talked about in previous posts, but they’re worth mentioning again in.


Catherine Mede reminds me of this one whrn I’m having a bad day. A few deep breaths take us out of ‘fight or flight’ mode by giving oxygen to the brain and physically calming our body.

When I take these breaths, I visualise the breaths going through my body, calming down my whole physical self.


This leads pretty clearly to visualisation. I blogged about this one last year, as it was a key strategy to my progress.

One of my biggest issues is self-esteem, and allowing others’ words and actions to affect my already frail sense of self-worth.

My counsellor suggested a visualisation on this basis. You imagine your heart, and then imagine a shield around it. When I visualise, my heart is a lotus, and it’s shielded by a glowing white sphere.


This is also a form of visualisation. For me, a safe place is my counsellor’s room, even though I haven’t been to see her for over a year.

Her room was peaceful and healing, and she was a role model for me.

Sometimes, when I am feeling particularly low, I imagine I am in her room. It sounds weird, but I kind of super-impose her room over the place I am in.


This is one I read in a meditation book, but I canโ€™t remember which one! It’s effective but you do need to really focus.

Start by identifying the emotion you are feeling, then identify a time when you felt the opposite of that emotion. Be specific.

For example, if I was feeling inadequate at teaching, I would think of a time when I had felt proud & confident in my students’ progress.

Next, you take a few big belly-breaths, and imagine you are back in that scenario. Remember how you felt, and what your body was like. Were you full of energy? Relaxed? Creative? You’ll find yourself shifting from a state of anxiety to replicating the emotions from your chosen scenario.

The above are strategies that still use, and I still need to utilise these at least once a week at the moment. I know I can rely on these to carry me through rough moments.

What strategies would you add to this list?

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