The Anxiety Spiral

The "Anxiety Spiral" is a negative cycle of worry upon worry building up until one feels overwhelmed with anxiety. It is often associated with the "fight or flight" response. Very often it starts with something small, and then the "what if"s start and help it grow into something really big. "What if I had forgotten to unplug the iron? Then something might have caught fire and..." The only way to effectively beat the Anxiety Spiral is to stop it before it grows.


Save Sally Longhorn from herself! Sally, like many other Longhorns, has a tendency to worry, and when she starts worrying they can grow and cause her to worry more and more until she’s caught in …
start the anxiety spiral
Instructions: The object of this game is to challenge Sally's worries and help her interrupt the Anxiety Spiral before it grows too big.

Challenge Sally’s worries with the best choice you are given. She will let you know how well you are doing. You win the game when Sally is convinced that she doesn’t have anything to worry about. Good luck!

About the video

FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

1) How will knowing what the "Anxiety Spiral" means help me with my stress?

2) I can't get through the video. What's wrong?

3) I don't understand how this video works. What's wrong?

4) When I click on the Anxiety Spiral I cannot get the video to load. What's wrong?

How will knowing what the "Anxiety Spiral" means help me with my stress?

Many times when we feel overwhelmed with anxiety, we are not just worried about one thing but several things. If we stop to "pull them apart" we often discover that the big worry is made up of several smaller worries that build on each other. For example, "If I fail this test I won't get an 'A' and then I won't get into graduate school, and my family will be disappointed..." Notice how the worry originally was about making an 'A?'If we can challenge the smaller worries when they start, they won't have a chance to grow and collect new ones. See the cognitive distortions module for practice on learning how to challenge your specific worries.

I can't get through the video. What's wrong?

If you are having technical difficulties watching the video, it could be your internet connection. Try pausing the video to allow it to download in its entirety before playing it.

I don't understand how this game works. What's wrong?

The game is designed to run backwards. You start at the "end" of the story when Sally's worry is the largest. Your initial attempts won't be very successful, so you have to go "back in time" to an earlier point in the story to see if you can interrupt the Anxiety Spiral and keep it from getting bigger. If at first you don't succeed, keep trying. In real life it will also take practice!

When I click on the Anxiety Spiral I cannot get the video to load. What's wrong?

Check to see that you have not blocked pop-up windows in your browser or perhaps you need to update your Flash player?


About the video

The very talented cast:

Molly Searcy........"Sally Longhorn"

Hannah Jones......."Hannah"

Voice talent:

Marian Trattner....."Mel"

Lynn Hoare.........."Lois"

Alicia Garces........"Mom"


Remember to Think Small

Think Small IconWhat's one small thing you can do to reduce your stress? Seriously, try it as an experiment and see what happens. You can always go back to your old way of doing things.




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