Managing anxiety and worry

Anxiety is a natural, human response to a something we see as a threat. These feelings can be unpleasant and difficult to manage but we’re here to help you. 

The word 'anxiety' describes feelings of unease, worry or fear. Everyone’s experience of anxiety is different. You might feel anxiety as sensations in your body, thoughts, feelings, or changes in your behaviour. Read more about the symptoms of anxiety on the NHS website.

There are things you can do yourself to manage anxiety and we've listed some tips below. If anxiety is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, consider contacting your GP or an NHS talking therapy service.

Tips for managing anxiety

  1. Postpone the worry. Instead of engaging with your anxiety right now, try postponing it – and setting aside 30 minutes at the end of the day for worrying. It can feel like an odd thing to do at first, but it will allow you to control your anxiety instead of the other way around.
  2. Connect with friends and family. Chatting to those you love will improve your mood and can be a distraction from your worries. Don’t be afraid to be honest about how you’re feeling so you can work through the difficult times together. Try the Silverline befriending service if you’d like to talk to someone different.
  3. Be present. Our minds have a tendency to ruminate on the past, or fast-forward to the future, sometimes in a negative way. By noticing what’s happening in our minds, bodies and the external environment with an attitude of kindness and curiosity, we can calm ourselves down. The Mental Health Foundation has find tips for being present and mindfulness.
  4. Try online CBT. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. There’s no need for a therapist. You can see a selection of mental health tools and apps in the NHS apps library.

How to manage difficult thoughts or feelings

If you’ve tried all the tips above, you could practise the APPLE technique from Anxiety UK:

  1. Acknowledge – Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.
  2. Pause – Don’t react as you normally do. Don’t react at all. Just pause and breathe.
  3. Pull back – Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts.
  4. Let go – Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don’t have to respond to negative feelings. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
  5. Explore – Explore the present moment, because right now, in this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else – on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else – mindfully with your full attention.

Do you need more support?

Information provided by Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis (APF) is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It’s intended as general information only. APF is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for any loss or damage suffered by users resulting from the information published on

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