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Managing Your Anxious Mind: Therapy Techniques for Anxiety

February 13, 2024

Person standing in a Manhattan subway station looking for new ways to manage their anxiety. Freedom from anxiety is possible with our trained therapist tips and tricks.

Navigating anxiety and dealing with anxious thoughts is a challenging journey that can lead to feeling hopeless or out of control. Understanding and utilizing skills to manage anxiety is an important player in regulating its symptoms. Let’s explore some techniques to help support you through this journey.

Distinguishing Between What Could Happen and What Will Happen

Worry is often intricately tied to anxiety as we tend to imagine the worst-case scenarios, even though these fears rarely occur. It’s essential to evaluate the most probable outcomes in worrisome situations in order to address concerns about the worst possibilities. Consider these five questions to help differentiate between potential and actual outcomes:

  1. What is causing your worry?
  2. Are there any indicators suggesting that your worry is unlikely to happen?
  3. If your worry doesn’t happen, what is the most probable outcome?
  4. In the event that your worry does happen, how do you plan to cope and will you eventually find a way to overcome it?
  5. Reflecting on your responses to these questions, has your perspective on your worry evolved?

Coping Skills

Coping skills and strategies play a crucial role in managing anxiety when it arises, and they can also contribute to long-term relief from anxiety.

One technique for managing emotions is deep breathing, which is not only highly effective but also easy to practice anywhere and at any time. Deep breathing is an excellent tool for managing anxiety in the moment and promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. Here are six steps for how to do it:

  1. Find a comfortable sitting position and place one hand on your abdomen.
  2. Inhale slowly through your nose, making sure that your breath is deep enough to cause the hand on your abdomen to rise as you fill your lungs.
  3. Hold the breath in your lungs for a brief pause.
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth, keeping your lips slightly puckered.
  5. Take it slow and focus on your breath. You can use a timing sequence of 4 seconds for inhalation, 4 seconds for holding the breath and 6 seconds for exhalation.
  6. Practice deep breathing for 3 to 5 minutes. You can gradually extend your practice duration as you become more comfortable with the technique.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Black woman practicing yoga to allow her body to fully relax and let go of anxious thoughts in Brooklyn.

Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that can help you achieve deep relaxation while also increasing your awareness of muscle tension, which is often associated with anxiety. Here’s how to practice it:

Find a comfortable position, either sitting back or lying down. Follow these steps for each focus area of the body and notice the difference between its tense and relaxed state:

  • Toes: Grip your toes tightly into your feet, then release and let them relax.
  • Calf Muscles: Stretch your feet by pointing or flexing them, then allow them to relax. 
  • Thighs: Contract your thigh muscles tightly, then release. 
  • Torso: Engage your torso by pulling it in, then allow it to naturally relax.
  • Back: Contract your shoulder blades together, then gently release the tension. 
  • Shoulders: Elevate and tense your shoulders towards your ears, then allow them to hang loosely. 
  • Arms: Clench your fists and pull them towards your shoulders, then relax and lower them down. 
  • Hands: Close your hand into a fist by curling your fingers inward, then gently relax and release your fingers. 
  • Face: Tighten your facial muscles by scrunching your features toward the center of your face, then allow them to relax and soften. 

After going through each area of your body, finish by doing a full-body tension and release exercise. Squeeze all of your muscles together, and then release all tension, allowing your entire body to relax. Progressive muscle relaxation promotes a sense of calm and helps you become more attuned to the physical signs of anxiety, making it easier to manage these symptoms when they arise.

Challenging Irrational Thoughts

Challenging irrational thoughts is a strategic way to manage and reduce anxiety. Here’s a structured approach to follow that can help you evaluate and reframe your thoughts:

  1. Identify the Thought: Begin by recognizing a thought that has been contributing to your anxiety. It could be a specific worry or negative belief.
  2. Gather Evidence: Collect evidence both in support of and against the thought.
  3. Focus on Verifiable Facts and Concrete Information: For example, if your thought is about failing at a task, gather evidence of your past successes, your task preparation or process and any positive feedback you’ve received.
  4. Examine the Evidence: Compare the evidence you’ve gathered in support of and against the thought. Consider whether your thought is based on factual information or primarily driven by emotions or assumptions.
  5. Challenge the Thought: Ask yourself a series of questions to challenge the thought:
person writing down their thoughts in a Manhattan coffee shop to help challenge the anxious thoughts
  • Is this a facts- or feelings-based thought? 
  • What would my best friend’s viewpoint be in this situation? 
  • What is the likelihood that my fear will happen? 
  • What scenario is actually most likely to happen? 
  • If my fear does happen, will it still matter in a week’s time? What about in one month or a year? 

Automatic thoughts

Automatic thoughts are rapid, subconscious thoughts that play a significant role in shaping our emotions and perceptions of ourselves and the world. Positive automatic thoughts can uplift our mood, while negative ones can bring us down. Even though these thoughts occur quickly and often go unnoticed, they have a profound impact on our emotional state. Recognizing and replacing negative automatic thoughts with rational ones can enhance our overall mood and well-being. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Identify the Trigger: The first step is to recognize the trigger that prompted the automatic thought. 
  2. Acknowledge the Automatic Thought: Once you’ve identified the trigger, take a moment to acknowledge the automatic thought that accompanied it. 
  3. Replace with a New Thought: After acknowledging the automatic thought, work on replacing it with a more rational and balanced thought. 

By practicing this process, you can become more aware of your automatic thoughts, challenge their validity and replace them with more constructive thinking patterns based on logic. 

two black women smiling because they have managed their anxiety through proven tips and tricks from Manhattan Wellness therapists. you are never alone in your anxiety treatment.

Keep in mind that while these strategies may not entirely eliminate symptoms of anxiety, they can assist your handling process when it arises. Discovering the approaches that suit you best and consistently incorporating them into your routine can gradually enhance your ability to cope. If you feel that anxiety is significantly disrupting your daily life, know that you do not have to navigate this journey alone. 


The truth is, there’s no single or one-size-fits-all approach to anxiety treatment. Everyone has a different approach to managing anxiety and anxious thoughts. That is why it’s important to get clear on what works for you. Once you have a better understanding of yourself and your values, you can start designing your life based on the things that are most important to you. 

Therapy for women in Manhattan and Brooklyn is a great way to figure out how to manage your anxious mind. At Manhattan Wellness, we will provide you with a safe space to explore your feelings and goals. So you can find clarity on what you want for yourself. We will pair your vulnerability with our empathy and encouragement. Then together we will uncover the key elements that will take you from where you are now to where you want to be. If you are ready to make the changes you want in your life:

  1. Submit a Contact Form or Email Us at
  2. Learn More About Our Team of Female Therapists and Our Areas of Expertise
  3. Let’s Talk About How We Can Help You Feel Empowered & Ready To Take The Next Step. 

We believe that you have the power within yourself to make the changes you want and find your version of success. Our female therapists are here to support you in navigating this journey. Allowing you to reclaim your identity and take control of your life. Thus allowing you to create the future you’ve been dreaming of.

Other Therapy Services Offered in Manhattan, WESTCHESTER Brooklyn, & Throughout New York

At Manhattan Wellness, our therapists are here to support you in navigating this journey and reclaiming your identity. So you can take control of your life and create the future you’ve been dreaming of. This is why we offer a variety of services to ensure you get the support, care, and guidance necessary. The therapy services we offer are Therapy for Maternal Mental Health, Self-Esteem Counseling, and Anxiety Treatment. Along with Dating/Relationship Counseling, Counseling for College Students, and more. Feel as if you are not living the life you deserve? Let’s talk about

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