How to manage anxiety – advice from the Devon Wellbeing Hub

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in Mental health, Recovery and wellbeing on 16th May, 2023

This week (15-21 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme this year is anxiety.

During stressful times or when we’re under pressure, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal. However, if you’re finding it hard to control your worries and the feelings are more constant and impacting your day-to-day life, it’s important to reach out for support.

In our ever-changing world, feelings of anxiety can feel heightened. Social media, ‘doomscrolling’ and the ability to intake news 24 hours a day can increase our worries. We’re also surrounded by so much choice, which makes it hard to make decisions, or fear we’ve made the wrong one. Working from home can also make anxiety feel worse as it can be harder to connect with colleagues and reach out for help.

Prue Yeoman, Colleague Wellbeing Practitioner at the Devon Wellbeing Hub, says: “When we’re anxious we’re trying to find control. However, a lot of the time, we tend to worry about the ‘what ifs?’ - those hypothetical or future scenarios that are simply beyond our control. Instead of worrying about things that could happen, try to focus on the worries we can do something practical about. Problem solving makes us feel in control.

“The Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) ‘worry management’ technique can prevent us from spiralling and lessen the overall amount of time we spend worrying. It works as follows:

  • Log worries as they arise during the day – write them down or note them on your phone.
  • Decide if the worry is a ‘what if’ or a practical problem that can be solved.
  • Focus back on what you were doing before you started worrying and tell yourself “I’ll deal with that later.”
  • Set aside a short period, 10-15 minutes, every day for ‘worry time’ to look at your list of worries created that day and luxuriate in them.
  • Rip up the ‘what if’ list and throw it in the bin!
  • This leaves the practical problems and you might want to think of some step-by-step actions you could take to resolve these.

“Making this technique a regular habit can help put our mind at ease and prevent worries from interfering with our sleep, work or leisure activities.”

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to managing anxiety. If it’s something you’re struggling with, the Devon Wellbeing Hub is here to help. Our Colleague Wellbeing Practitioners will listen to how you are feeling with compassion and understanding, and direct you to support that’s right for you. For example, we may refer you to TALKWORKS or Plymouth Options for CBT, or signpost you to Anxiety UK. If your concerns are related to work (e.g. returning to work or work pressures), organisations such as Workways or Able Futures can offer support, and we can help you write a letter to your manager. Pastoral care is also provided through our Chaplains, which is available for people of all faiths and none.

Useful tips and resources to help ease anxiety:

  • Get outside. Embrace nature and enjoy a change of scenery.
  • Take part in physical exercise. It doesn’t have to be much, just a gentle stroll can help clear our mind.
  • Take up a hobby that allows you to be present e.g. reading/baking
  • Avoid ‘doomscrolling’ on social media or news websites. Take a look at for positive stories instead.
  • The Managing Your Worries booklet from the University of Exeter guides you through two CBT-based techniques, Worry Time and Problem Solving.
  • The NHS Better Health – Every Mind Matters website has steps and strategies to help tackle your worries.
  • The Worrytree App supports you through the problem-solving process, helping you to either make a plan to deal with your worry or find in-the-moment distractions to help you cope and move on with your day.
  • Talk to someone. Reach out to people around you if you’re struggling. Remember, the Hub is here to help.

Get in touch:

Getting support from the Devon Wellbeing Hub is simple. If you work in healthcare, social care or the police and are struggling with any aspect of your wellbeing, or you lead a team who would benefit from support, the Hub can help you today. Please get in touch by emailing or by calling 0300 303 5455. You can also fill out the referral form on the Devon Wellbeing Hub website.