3 Occupational Therapy Techniques for Managing Anxiety


Did you know anxiety disorders affect millions worldwide?! Casting a shadow over daily life for those who grapple with its grip. Yet, within this challenge lies the promise of relief and resilience. Occupational Therapy, referred to as a ‘beacon of hope’ for many seeking to navigate the maze of anxiety.


In this article, we’ll explore three powerful techniques wielded by occupational therapists, each a ray of light illuminating the path to peace.


First, let’s understand anxiety!

Anxiety is often misunderstood as mere worry; however, it is a complex emotional state that can permeate every aspect of life. It manifests through various bodily symptoms, from racing thoughts and restlessness to physical sensations like trembling and sweating.

Beyond fleeting nervousness, anxiety can become a relentless force, disrupting sleep, dampening enjoyment, and hindering productivity and functional engagement within activities of daily living. Its impact extends far beyond fleeting moments of unease, seeping into relationships, work, and overall well-being. Seeking therapeutic intervention is crucial and will assist you in finding strategies tailored to you, to reduce your feelings of anxiety, and simultaneously improve you’re mental and physical wellbeing.

Trained therapists provide invaluable guidance and support, offering tailored strategies to manage anxiety and reclaim life’s joys.

Woman with anxiety disorder sitting on a couch


Technique 1: Deep Breathing Exercises

In the chaos of modern life, the simple act of breathing deeply can be a profound antidote to anxiety’s grip.

Deep breathing, characterised by slow, intentional inhalation and exhalation, holds the power to anchor us in the present moment.

To practice deep breathing, find a comfortable position, inhale deeply through the nose (4 seconds), allowing the breath to fill your lungs like a gentle wave, then exhale slowly (6 seconds), releasing tension with each outward breath.

With consistent practice, the benefits of deep breathing extend beyond the present moment, offering a reliable tool for reducing anxiety symptoms and restoring inner peace.

Woman doing breathing exercise to reduce anxiety



Technique 2: Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is a deep relaxation technique involves systematically tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups throughout the body. As tension ebbs away, so too does anxiety’s hold, allowing for a profound sense of calm to wash over mind and body to assist you in feeling grounded.

To embark on a PMR journey, find a quiet space and begin by tensing a specific muscle group, such as the fists or shoulders, for a few seconds before releasing the tension completely.

Move through each muscle group, from head to toe, allowing each release to deepen your relaxation. Whether practiced at home or guided by a therapist, PMR offers a tangible pathway to reducing muscle tension, quieting anxious thoughts, and centering the body.

Group of people doing progressive muscle relaxation technique

Technique 3: Sensory-Based Interventions

Sensory-based interventions serve as gentle whispers of comfort in the realm of anxiety management, harnessing the power of sensory input to soothe the restless mind.

In the realm of occupational therapy, by engaging the senses—sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell—individuals can modulate their anxiety levels, shifting focus from turmoil to tranquility.

Picture the soft brush of a textured fabric, the gentle hum of a calming melody, or the soothing aroma of lavender drifting through the air. These sensory experiences provide anchors of stability amidst life’s turbulence, offering respite from anxious thoughts and fostering a sense of grounding in the present moment. Each individual presents with sensory preferences and dislikes, an Occupational Therapist can assist with exploring the perfect sensory combination to reduce feelings of anxiety and increase feelings of calm and serene.

Woman smelling lavender aroma for sensory intervention

Applying Occupational Therapy Breathing Techniques in Daily Life

Integrating occupational therapy techniques into daily routines can assist with mitigating your symptoms of anxiety. Whether it’s deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or sensory-based interventions, consistency is key.

Remember, like any skill, mastery comes with practice. Embrace each opportunity to engage in these techniques, knowing that with time and dedication, their benefits will blossom. Moreover, don’t shy away from adapting these techniques to fit different settings and situations. Whether you’re at home, work, or amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, there’s always room to find moments of peace and tranquility.

Man applying occupational therapy techniques at work



In the tapestry of anxiety management, occupational therapy mindfulness techniques offer threads of hope and healing. Through deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and sensory-based interventions, individuals can navigate the tumultuous waters of anxiety with grace and resilience.

Remember, these techniques are not solitary islands but rather interconnected pathways to peace, each complementing the other in a symphony of soothing sensations.

As you embark on your journey towards anxiety relief, I encourage you to explore these techniques with the guidance of a qualified therapist. Their expertise and support can illuminate the path forward, empowering you to embrace these practices with confidence and clarity.

Woman doing deep breathing exercise while lying on a grass


Additional Resources

For an exploration of anxiety management techniques and expert in-home occupational therapy services, Vista Healthcare offers a comprehensive range of solutions:

  • In-Home Occupational Therapy: Vista Healthcare offers personalised occupational therapy services delivered directly to your doorstep, catering to individuals in the Gold Coast, Brisbane, and Greater Sydney areas. Whether you’re recovering from an injury, managing a chronic condition, or striving to achieve specific goals, their expert clinicians provide tailored care in the comfort of your own home.
  • NDIS Occupational Therapy: Vista Healthcare specialises in NDIS occupational therapy services, assisting individuals with private home visits, functional rehabilitation, assessments, recommendations, NDIS reports, and prescribing assistive technology.
  • Occupational Therapy Services: Vista Healthcare’s occupational therapy services encompass comprehensive assessments, home modifications, equipment prescription, and skill-building activities to enhance safety, independence, and overall well-being.

To learn more about Vista Healthcare’s services and take the first step towards achieving your goals contact us today via phone at 1300 30 60 37 or email us at contact@vistahealthcare.com.au. We know it can often be challenging waiting weeks to be seen by healthcare professionals, that’s why we have put in place a No-Waitlist scheme to ensure best client outcomes are possible.