Anxiety is more than a fleeting feeling of stress or fear. It is a complex emotional state characterized by strong and persistent worry, tension, nervousness, and physical changes.
In and of itself, anxiety isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a natural human response designed to help us react to threats in our environment. And in small amounts—in situations like a dangerous situation or high-pressure scenario—it can even be useful.
But as many of us have experienced, anxiety can become problematic.
When anxiety becomes overwhelming and long-lasting, it can interfere with daily activities and negatively impact mental and physical health. When anxiety reaches this level, a person might be said to have an anxiety disorder. In such cases, professional treatment (with or without the use of anxiety worksheets) is recommended.
Anxiety is the most common mental health condition worldwide. So it’s essential that all mental health professionals not just understand this debilitating condition, but have a range of tools to help their clients work with it. Considering its prevalence, it’s also recommended that coaches and other healthcare/human services professionals have a similar background of knowledge and skills for recognizing and working with anxiety.
One of the most effective ways of working with anxiety is through worksheets. When designed in line with evidence-based principles, practitioners can use anxiety worksheets in session with clients, or as self-directed homework exercises.
If you’re thinking, “Well that’s great. But I don’t have time to create my own worksheets.” Don’t stress. We’ve got you covered.
With Quenza—a digital platform that helps you increase client engagement, scale your practice, and provide automated care—you can access a library of 250+ ready-to-use, evidence-based worksheets, exercises, and activities for clients struggling with anxiety and other mental health conditions.
We’ll provide some examples of Quenza in action later in this article. But if you want to take a look for yourself right now, sign up today for a full-access 1-month trial for only $1.
Now, let’s start our deep dive into anxiety and its management with a look at what anxiety actually is.
Anxiety is a multifaceted emotion. And it can be hard to define and recognize, as it manifests differently throughout the population.
At its core, anxiety is a state of apprehension, unease, and fear, often accompanied by physical symptoms such as palpitations, sweating, and feelings of stress.
In its more severe forms, anxiety can present in a range of disorders recognized by medical professionals, including:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Phobia related disorders
Though many people use the terms “anxiety” and “worry” interchangeably, they are not identical.
Worry is typically associated with more specific and manageable concerns. It is often a temporary and rational response to a known stressor.
Anxiety, on the other hand, tends to be more persistent, pervasive, and disproportionate, often overshadowing one’s sense of reality.
The distinction between worry and anxiety is crucial, as the techniques and strategies to manage them can differ.
Like most mental health conditions, there is no single cause of anxiety.
Anxiety disorders can arise from a complex interplay of genetic factors, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. Certain chronic health conditions, specific types of personality, and traumatic or stressful life events can all serve as catalysts for the onset of anxiety disorders.
While understanding the factors contributing to an individual’s experience of anxiety can sometimes lead to insights that help them manage the condition—it’s important to remember that this isn’t always the case.
The most effective anxiety treatment usually involves a combination of strategies designed to address specific factors contributing to the condition, alongside general anxiety management strategies.
The management of anxiety involves a multi-pronged approach.
For most individuals, effective anxiety management involves one or a combination of:
- Psychotherapy, counseling, or coaching
- Lifestyle change, like exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, and adequate sleep
- Managing the intake of caffeine, alcohol, and illicit drugs
- Self-care practices, such as mindfulness and stress reduction
- Psychiatric medication
On a professional level, psychotherapy, specifically cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), has been recognized as one of the most effective forms of treatment for anxiety disorders.
CBT is a form of psychotherapy that teaches individuals to identify, understand, and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to distressing emotions.
It equips individuals with the skills to challenge their irrational fears and worries, and to skillfully confront situations that cause them anxiety.
CBT can be delivered in a therapeutic setting, with an appropriately trained professional. But it’s also suited to self-help tools, like anxiety worksheets. These two methods aren’t mutually exclusive, with many people using both simultaneously.
Anxiety worksheets are structured tools that help individuals navigate their journey of managing anxiety.
They facilitate self-awareness by helping people identify their sources of anxiety, their triggers, and their reactions. They also assist in designing coping strategies and tracking progress over time.
As a therapist, coach, or health professional, anxiety worksheets have a broad range of applications for client work. They can be used for 1:1 online anxiety treatment, with group coaching or counseling programs, as part of an online course, and for homework exercises.
We’ll explore anxiety worksheets further below, along with examples of some of the therapy tools available in Quenza.
CBT anxiety worksheets are designed to help individuals reshape unhelpful thought patterns that might cause or contribute to anxiety. They aid in identifying cognitive distortions, challenging unhelpful thoughts, and developing healthier and more balanced thinking styles.
One of the cognitive distortions that are strongly associated with anxiety is fortune telling.
When an individual engages in fortune telling, they’re usually projecting into the future to predict that something will go wrong. Not a bad thing in and of itself. But for people with anxiety, fortune telling can fuel persistent and excessive worry about what are often completely hypothetical situations (e.g., not doing a good job on a presentation for work, or getting turned down when asking someone out on a date).
Below is a CBT anxiety worksheet in Quenza to manage fortune telling.
We start with an overview of unhelpful thinking styles (cognitive distortions).
Then provide education on fortune telling.
And finally, guide the client through a series of self-reflective questions.
In Quenza, we have worksheets on all the major cognitive distortions, such as:
- Magnification and Minimization
- “Shoulding” and “Musting”
- Emotional Reasoning
- Mind Reading
- Jumping to Conclusions
And you can access them all right now, when you sign up today for a full-access 1-month trial for only $1.
While anxiety is a topic that’s equally as relevant for youth as it is for adults, worksheets will need to be adjusted for different age groups. In most cases, the overall theme or topic can apply across all ages, but the examples, explanations, and practical exercises need adjusting.
For example, in anxiety worksheets for adults, it’s usually ok to include longer and more technical descriptions and examples, along with independent activities for clients to complete. While with therapy activities for teens and youth, emotional concepts should be presented in simple terms and collaborative exercises are generally best.
To get around this challenge, we’ve made all the Activities in Quenza fully customizable.
So, for example, you could take our anxiety worksheet for adults on the classic Buddhist story about the two arrows.
And use the Activity Builder feature to edit and adjust it for a younger audience.
Combining Worksheets with Anxiety Reduction Exercises
Beyond the use of worksheets, several exercises can aid in reducing anxiety.
Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness exercises can help lower anxiety levels and promote relaxation. These techniques are designed to help individuals connect with their bodies, focus their minds, and manage their anxiety symptoms.
Used in combination with anxiety worksheets, these exercises can significantly enhance anxiety management.
If you don’t already have instructional tools like this ready to use with clients, we’ve got all of them pre-recorded in the Quenza app.
Here’s a screenshot of our progressive muscle relaxation activity, which includes both written and audio material.
Choosing the Best Anxiety Worksheets
The variety of anxiety worksheets available online can be overwhelming. However, by following a few simple guidelines, you can identify high-quality anxiety worksheets that are likely to effectively help your clients.
When looking at options online, ask these 5 questions to identify the best anxiety worksheets:
- Is it evidence-based?
Ideally, anxiety worksheets will be based on sound scientific evidence or follow a proven therapeutic method. If this isn’t the case, look for at least a strong rationale for the design of the worksheet and/or anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness (e.g., good customer reviews or from a reputable clinician). Many public health or mental health organizations put out great evidence-based anxiety worksheets (see ‘Free Anxiety Worksheets’ below).
- Would my client(s) complete this?
An anxiety worksheet can only be effective if your clients actually complete it. You might enjoy art therapy, self-compassion exercises, or role-playing. But if your clients don’t resonate with these, they’re unlikely to engage in the process enough to gain a benefit (especially if given as homework).
- Is it a good fit for my practice style?
This is like the reverse of point 2. If you can’t get behind an anxiety worksheet, and enthusiastically promote it to your clients, you might have trouble getting them interested enough to complete the exercise. The wrong worksheet could also be a jarring contrast to the rest of your work together, such as in the case of using CBT anxiety worksheets in combination with psychodynamic therapy.
- Does the worksheet achieve a specific outcome?
Despite how excited you might get about anxiety worksheets, the reality is, no one likes homework. We do it because we believe the effort will be worth the payoff. So before choosing an anxiety worksheet, be sure to check there’s a specific outcome (or reward) being achieved. This could be learning how to do deep breathing, developing 5 strategies to deal with social anxiety, or any other number of examples.
- Can I customize the worksheet?
Finally, consider whether you can customize the worksheet. This goes both for the structure and template, and the rights to re-use the content in your own practice. For example, an all-digital web-based worksheet will offer little flexibility to adjust the content for your client group. And you might need to ask permission before using any copyrighted material in your private practice (whether in client work or online courses.)
We believe Quenza is the best option for therapists, coaches, and healthcare professionals looking for anxiety worksheets. But if for whatever reason Quenza isn’t the right fit for you, we don’t want to leave you without options.
Below are 2 free sources for high-quality, evidence-based anxiety worksheets.
Funded by the Western Australian Government, the Centre for Clinical Interventions (CCI) is a specialized psychology service that provides CBT-based psychological therapy, research, professional training, and resources.
Under the resources for clinicians section on their website, you’ll find several great anxiety worksheets to use with your clients. They also have information handouts, worksheets, and workbooks on many other mental health conditions and related issues.
Founded in 1909, Mental Health America (MHA) is the leading non-profit organization in the United States, dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness.
Among the massive library of resources on their website, you’ll find a section on DIY tools, which can be filtered to resources and worksheets for anxiety.
Quenza is an intuitive, all-in-one, and affordable solution that supports you to:
- Increase client engagement
- Scale your practice
- Deliver automated care
At the heart of our app and digital platform is our Expansions library: A collection of 250+ Activities, covering topics as diverse as relationships, habits and goal setting, self-esteem worksheets, empowerment coaching, and of course, anxiety worksheets.
Sharing Expansions and Activities with clients is as easy as the click of a button. And you can even send individually tailored sequences of exercises to clients with our pathway builder.
To help you deliver next-level anxiety management, Quenza also includes features to:
- Track and manage your client’s progress and results
- Save, share, and comment on client notes (HIPAA compliant)
- Communicate via secure messages and chat
- Coach multiple clients at one with groups
- Keep all your documents and activities in one place
To try it out for yourself, sign up to Quenza today for a full-access 1-month trial for only $1.
Anxiety is the most common mental health condition across the globe. Therefore, all therapists, coaches, mental health clinicians, and health/human services professionals must understand how to identify and work with it.
While anxiety worksheets aren’t always sufficient as a stand-alone treatment solution, they can help a wide range of individuals manage their anxiety.
By offering practical tools to understand and combat anxiety, evidence-based worksheets can equip individuals with self-help strategies to control their worries and fears. They also foster self-awareness and promote active coping, which can help transform anxiety from a debilitating condition into a manageable part of life.
Rather than spend time creating your own anxiety worksheets, why not partner with a software provider like Quenza, with an extensive library of pre-made, evidence-based worksheets? That way, you can spend more time doing what you do best—caring for clients.
You can try Quenza out for yourself today, by signing up for a full-access 1-month trial for only $1.
If you found this article helpful, please share it with those who might also benefit. Every share could mean another person finds the help they need. We encourage you to leave a comment sharing your experiences, and don’t forget to sign up for more resources to better understand and manage anxiety.
- ^ American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Anxiety. Retrieved June 20, 2023, from https://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety.
- ^ Niles, A. N., & O’Donovan, A. (2019). Comparing anxiety and depression to obesity and smoking as predictors of major medical illnesses and somatic symptoms. Health Psychology, 38(2), 172–181. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000707.
- ^ World Health Organization. (n.d.). Mental disorders. Retrieved June 20, 2023, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-disorders.
- ^ National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). Anxiety disorders. Retrieved June 20, 2023, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders.
- ^ Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012). The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(5), 427–440. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-012-9476-1.