Health & wellbeing

Manage your Anxiety & Build Confidence - video series

Port Macquarie
01 Jun 2020

This ten part series of online videos are based on our in-house workshops facilitated by headspace Youth Mental Health Clinician and Therapeutic Facilitator Sara Phillips. They are exceptionally helpful, and include easy to follow strategies and tips, similar to what you would learn in our face to face groups.  Sara has proven results with young people of all ages in building confidence & managing anxiety.

* Have you watched the series?  Let us know what you think by completing this 2 min survey HERE 

Build Confidence & Manage Anxiety Part 1

This video is a brief description of how anxiety works in your brain and body using the brain in the hand model.

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View it Part 1 here 

Build Confidence& Manage Anxiety Part 2

This video looks at some triggers of anxiety, when is anxiety useful and not useful, when to seek help and how to use an emotion thermometer to scale your anxiety and identify your triggers (events/thoughts) and potential strategies to use when your anxiety is 5/10, 7/10 or flipping the lid at 10/10. Next video part 3 will begin looking at strategies to manage anxiety.

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View Part 2 here  Supporting document (Emotions Thermometer) for Part 2 available here


Build Confidence & Manage Anxiety Part 3

This video shares some simple strategies to manage your anxiety using your 5 senses and body awareness...the only hard part is remembering to use them! All these strategies help to bring your attention back to the present moment and calm your emotion mind down, activating your rest and digest relaxation system (as opposed to your fight/flight & freeze response) and help you to bring your thinking brain back online. The more you practice these strategies (brain training) the more effective they are and the easier it becomes to use them when you really need to calm down.... It's always about finding what works for you, being curious and experimenting, trying new strategies.

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View Part 3 here 


Build Confidence Manage Anxiety Part 4

This video explores the negative vicious cycle of anxiety, finding out what thoughts, emotions, sensations & actions happen when you feel anxious. Grab a pen and paper so you can fill out your own or ask to do this in a counselling session so that you build your awareness of what happens for you when you are feeling anxious. In any given situation what are your thoughts? emotions? sensations? actions? And what would work best for you to PAUSE this negative cycle? How can you PAUSE at feeling 5/10 anxious? Will it work best for you to change your thoughts / actions (see part 5) or to change your sensations/emotions (see part 3 and part 6)... what ideas do you already have for PAUSING this cycle? What has worked for you in the past? Can you do more of that?

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View Part 4 here  Supporting document (Belief Driven Formulation) for Part 4 available here


Build Confidence Manage Anxiety Part 5

In this video we explore how to be aware of your thinking, pause or interrupt your thinking and change your thinking to feel less anxious. It is very human to focus on the negative and what can go wrong but in order to feel less anxious we need to learn how to change our thinking to more realistic, slightly more positive thinking. This is a very brief introduction to CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), and we recommend you explore these strategies further in counselling or in online anxiety programs such as Chilled Out Online, Mood Gym or This Way Up.

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View Part 5 here  Supporting document (Cognitive Distortions) for Part 5 available here


Build Confidence Manage Anxiety Part 6

In this video we explore training your brain to come back to the present moment using a body scan / progressive muscle relaxation. You can also find similar exercises on Youtube, Insight Timer App, Calm or Smiling Mind App. The more you practice the more you can PAUSE your thinking from being caught up in worrying about the future or the past and be able to bring your thinking back to the present moment. In this exercise we focus on sensations in the body but you can use other anchors for your present moment awareness such as the breath, or focusing on counting breaths or an affirmation or mantra or listening to music. It's important to try all of these exercises and find one that works best for you. Remember all visualisations / mindfulness exercises are an experiment...and it's not about 'feeling better''s about training your brain to focus on the here and now....interrupting the negative spiral of anxiety. Daily practice, at least 5 minutes works best.

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 View Part 6 here 


Build Confidence Manage Anxiety Part 7

In this video we explore a way of observing our thoughts without getting caught up in them or pushed around by them. This exercise is commonly known as 'leaves on a stream' and comes from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Many clients find this an empowering exercise to realise that they are not their thoughts, that their thoughts don't need to control what they do, that it is possible to observe and choose which thoughts to listen to, and to choose to take action in line with your values and goals even when your thoughts are trying to persuade you otherwise. In other words it's possible to feel the fear and do it anyway! Remember the more you practice this exercise the easier this is to do because you are creating new pathways in your brain! Participants of a mindfulness course showed changes to their brain function on an MRI, after daily practice for just 8 weeks - that's pretty cool!

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View Part 7 here


Build Confidence Manage Anxiety Part 8

In this video we practice the important ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) skill of defusion... how can we change the way a thought looks, sounds or feels so it no longer has the same power over us. This is a great exercise to do creatively, to draw the way an anxious thought looks, sounds & feels and then play with changing the way it looks, sounds and feels....can you change the colour, change the font, the position of the letters, can you sing it to music, can you say it with an accent? What can you playfully do to this thought so it no longer pushes you around? So you can take action towards what is important for you?

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View Part 8 here


Build Confidence Manage Anxiety Part 9

In this video we explore a Coping Ahead Rehearsal, from DBT, but also used by all elite athletes. The power of imagination is such that if we imagine ourselves coping 100x then our brain responds as if we have actually coped during an event 100x, this means we can use our imagination to calm ourselves down and for our brain to be less anxious when needing to cope within an anxiety-inducing event. We also explore using kind and compassionate self-talk to help us through an even that we might trigger anxiety. This is a powerful tool that we can use in many areas of our life. Instead of using our imagination to make us more anxious, we can use our imagination to imagine ourselves coping well. 

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View Part 9 here


Build Confidence Manage Anxiety Part 10 - Final episode 

In this video we put all the strategies together and encourage you to set a goal and write up a step fear ladder to create manageable steps to 'feel the fear and do it anyway'.What is your goal? What is the easiest and smallest step you can take towards it? What strategies will you use as you move towards your goal? How will you reward yourself along the way? How many steps can you take this week? Does it feel easier when your goal is broken down into manageable steps? Remember the only way to feel less anxious is to gradually face the thing you are anxious about...& break the anxiety avoidance cycle. To live the life we want to live we will always face new situations, new things that trigger anxiety, Living a full and meaningful life doesn't mean avoiding anxiety, it means managing anxiety to learn and grow and do what is important to us.

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View Part 10 here


Thank you for tuning in and listening to our 10 part series with Sara.  We hope you have learned how to better manage your anxiety, and added some new tools to help support your growth to be the best version of 'you'.

Sara Phillips has been trained in both the Chilled Out Anxiety Program for Teens and the ProACTive Treatment Program for Young People with Anxiety. Many resources shared in these videos come from these programs. For more information on both of these programs please visit: Chilled Out   &  ProACTive for Young People