Self-help for anxiety


This research project aimed to identify which self-help techniques are likely to be effective for mild anxiety and could be promoted to members of the public, in order to reduce the community burden from anxiety problems.

Anxiety is common in the Australian community and causes significant impairment in those affected. Treatment by mental health professionals is helpful when anxiety is severe, but may not be necessary for milder levels of anxiety. Many people prefer to cope with anxiety on their own, yet common coping methods could be improved.

Many self-help strategies for managing anxiety have been suggested on websites, in popular books, and other sources, but have not been evaluated for their actual helpfulness. This research project aimed to identify which self-help methods for mild anxiety are the best: which are most likely to work and are feasible to carry out by most people?


A group of 83 international experts in anxiety came to a consensus on which strategies are likely to be effective for a person with mild anxiety. The experts were researchers and clinicians who specialise in anxiety, as well as people who have experienced anxiety problems themselves. The strategies came from a very large pool of items that were identified after a systematic search of books, websites, and other sources for anything that has been recommended for helping anxiety.

Self-help guide

These recommended strategies have been written into a guide for members of the public:

What can I do to help myself with anxiety? [PDF 378.2 KB]

Although this guide is copyright, it can be freely reproduced for non-profit purposes provided the source is acknowledged. Please cite this guide as follows: What can I do to help myself with anxiety?, School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University; 2015.

This project was funded by beyondblue.


Dr Amy Morgan
Lead Investigator

Prof Anthony Jorm

Dr Philip Chittleborough