The following work done by Ashwathy on Anxiety Disorders was presented in Oct conference “Coping with mental health – Ahmedabad”.

Review of evidence on Anxiety Disorders and Self-Regulation Techniques

Authors: Ashwathy Menon(1), Gunjan Y Trivedi(2), Riri G Trivedi(3)

(1) Forensic Psychologist and Intern at Society for Energy & Emotions (SEE), Wellness Space, Ahmedabad, India (Correspondence: [email protected], +91.90996.47196, (2) Life Coach & Co-founder, SEE, Wellness Space, Ahmedabad, India, (3) Personal Transformation Therapist and Co-founder, SEE, Wellness Space, Ahmedabad, India


Anxiety is the most common form of psychiatric disorder. Due to the physiological mechanisms activated with the anxiety and stress response in the body, subjects with chronic anxiety and stress have a greater risk of both physical and mental health problems.


The objective of this poster is to review anxiety disorders and evidences in the area of self-regulation (i.e. the techniques which can be easily learnt in a few days).


A qualitative search and review was conducted on PubMed and other libraries for anxiety and self-regulation methods based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) classification of anxiety types. The findings were documented to capture (a) Types of anxiety (b) self-regulation methods and (c) key findings.


The results confirm the evidence supporting three main categories of self-regulation techniques for managing anxiety i.e. (a) Biofeedback (b) Mind-body therapies (c) Emotional Freedom Technique. All categories and related techniques provide sufficient evidence for anxiety management (e.g. Tai Chi helps with GAD – Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Yoga has good benefits for PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Biofeedback and EFT are also useful for many of the anxiety types).


The findings support the use of self-regulation techniques for managing anxiety. Most of these techniques can be learnt in few days,  involve lifestyle change and have no side-effects. Future work in this area should explore more randomized control trials and explore how to combine these techniques with other interventions such as medications or psychotherapy.

self-regulation methods for anxiety

Highlights of the findings:

  • There is sufficient evidence confirming that HRV (Heart Rate Variability) Biofeedback is an effective self-regulation intervention for anxiety disorders[5][6].
  • Mindfulness-based interventions are effective in improving physical and mental health, functioning, self-care, and overall quality of life[7][10].
  • Yoga might be an effective and safe intervention for individuals with elevated levels of anxiety[1][2].
  • Evidence indicates that one hour of regular daily Tai Chi activity practiced for over one year significantly reduced stress, anxiety and depression, and enhanced mood in healthy adults and patients with chronic conditions[3][4].
  • The use of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) also helps in reduction of anxiety [8].
  • Acronyms- EEG- Electroencephalogram, EMG- Electromyography

(Source: Heartmath LLC)

Limitations & Discussions:

Future work in this area could explore effectiveness of self-regulation for various types of anxiety i.e. which method is more likely to be effective for PTSD as compared to GAD. Such questions, when addressed, could enhance the effectiveness and provides choices to the subjects needing help with anxiety.

Additional work in this area could combine self-regulation with either medical intervention or psychotherapy to understand if the combined method (as compared to one method alone) could be more effective and efficient.


1. Kirkwood G, Rampes H, Tuffrey V, et al, Yoga for anxiety: a systematic review of the research evidence British Journal of Sports Medicine 2005;39:884-891.

2.Cramer, Holger & Lauche, Romy & Anheyer, Dennis & Pilkington, Karen & de Manincor, Michael & Dobos, Gustav & Ward, Lesley. (2018). Yoga for anxiety: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials. Depression and Anxiety. 35. 830-843. 10.1002/da.22762.

3.Wang, C., Bannuru, R., Ramel, J., Kupelnick, B., Scott, T., & Schmid, C. H. (2010). Tai Chi on psychological well-being: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 10(1). doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-23

4.Wang, F., Kyoung, L.E., Wu, T., Benson, H., Fricchione, G.L., Wang, W., & Yeung, A.S. (2013). The Effects of Tai Chi on Depression, Anxiety, and Psychological Well-Being: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21, 605-617.

5.Goessl, V.C., Curtiss, J.E., & Hofmann, S.G. (2017). The effect of heart rate variability biofeedback training on stress and anxiety: a meta-analysis. Psychological medicine, 47 15, 2578-2586 .

6.Lagos, Leah & Vaschillo, Evgeny & Vaschillo, Bronya & Bates, Marsha & Pandina, Robert. (2008). Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback as a Strategy for Dealing with Competitive Anxiety: A Case Study. Biofeedback. 36. 109-115.

7.Burnett-Zeigler, I., Schuette, S., Victorson, D., & Wisner, K. L. (2016). Mind-Body Approaches to Treating Mental Health Symptoms Among Disadvantaged Populations: A Comprehensive Review. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 22(2), 115–124. doi:10.1089/acm.2015.0038

8.Bach, D., Groesbeck, G., Stapleton, P., Sims, R., Blickheuser, K., & Church, D. (2019). Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health. Journal of evidence-based integrative medicine, 24, 2515690X18823691. doi:10.1177/2515690X18823691

9.Heart Math Website:

10.Serpa, J. G., Taylor, S. L., & Tillisch, K. (2014). Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) reduces anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation in veterans. Medical care52, S19-S24.