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Anxiety reduction techniques are skills that are taught by a therapist to help an individual overcome anx iety, stress, and tension. Anxiety can be experienced in a variety of ways including tension, worry, and nervousness, and can occur in thoughts or experienced as bodily senations. The techniques to reduce anxiety can include relaxation, visualization and imagery, diaphragmatic breathing, stress inoculation, and meditation.

Relaxation or progressive relaxation

This anxiety reduction technique is based on the premise that anxiety and stress are associated with muscle tension. When one achieves deep muscle relaxation, muscle tension is reduced, and this relaxed state is incompatible with anxiety.

Visualization and imagery

This anxiety reduction technique aids the person in making a mental image of what he or she wants to accomplish. For example, a person might wish to release worries or concerns, or create a relaxing image to escape momentarily from a stressful event.

Diaphragmatic breathing

This technique involves teaching a person to breathe sufficient amounts of air to help the person's blood be purified properly and filled with oxygen. In this technique, the individual breathes deeply from the diaphragm, which is located low in the chest, near the abdomen.

Stress inoculation

Self-talk, or the things that people tell themselves about stressful situations, can be habitual. For example, a person may take an ordinary event and automatically magnify its importance. Stress inoculation training is a type of therapy that trains clients to cope with anxiety and stressful situations by learning more functional patterns of self-talk.


In this anxiety reduction technique, a person is trained to focus his or her attention on one thing at a time.

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