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A look at the model

Metacognition: The key to success?

Anxiety reduction tips and techniques

Assessing preferences

The research basis for the strategies, tips, and techniques presented

About the author

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Anxiety Reduction Techniques


Anxiety can cause a very paralyzing, humiliating, and debilitating reaction to an event that parallels or reminds us of a negative memory or fear.

Memories are frozen in our psyche at the moment of occurrence, with all the fear, anxiety, and feelings of the moment. If we were children at the time of the occurrence, the memory may be even more overwhelming to us. As we replay the memory, many will actually relive it over and over as we did at the age we originally felt it.

Feelings of anxiety may trigger a "need to run or escape" reaction. The feelings may seem silly, but often they are strong feelings recorded at the original moment of the memory and frequently can overpower our unprepared adult logic and thought processes.

Strategies (not sequential): Pick one or more that you wish to try out and assess any changes.
NOTE: Anxiety reduction strategies often require more determination and effort than other types of strategies. Good luck.

  • For negative images, self-talks, and visions you can try substituting the negative with positive images, self-talks, and visions.
  • As you begin to feel anxious, you can create a relaxation response to avoid the negative effects of anxiety (i.e., tension, nervousness, forgetfulness, knots in stomach, nausea, shortness of breath). This is often among the easiest to implement and the most effective in dealing quickly and immediately with anxiety.
  • For forgetting pieces of information that you are trying to remember, try a memory dump.
  • Anxiety-producing situations can be lessened or overcome with determination, effort, and practice for some people using a strategy called successive approximations.

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Last update: July 15, 2007
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