How to Stop Feeling Anxious - 3 Quick Strategies to Try When You are Over Taken by Anxiety

When you’re in the middle of anxiety it can be hard to know what to do to help yourself gain control and to calm the anxiety.  Here are 3 quick strategies to try that may help you when you are feeling anxious.

  1. Breath - Take a moment and tune into your breath.  Notice if you are holding your breath or taking shallow breaths.  Breath in for a slow count of 4, filling up your lungs, belly and chest with air.  Hold that breath for a slow count of 6. Slowly release that breath for a slow count of 8.  Don’t worry if you can’t release the breath for that slow count of 8, work up to it. Repeat the process at least 3 times in a row.

  2. Ground - In a seated position put your feet on the ground, gently press you feet into the ground, noticing all the areas where your feet and the floor meet.  Take a moment to feel your leg muscles and notice how they contract as you root to the ground. Close your eyes if this helps you to focus. Aim to sit with feet grounded and gently pushing to the floor for 3 minutes.

  3. Muscle tension - put your palms together and push your hands together.  Notice your muscles tensing in your arms and chest. Push for 15 - 20 seconds then release.  Repeat at least 3 times.

Choose one strategy to work on this week and practice it at least 5 times a day when you are not feeling anxious.  You don’t have to practice it 5 times in a row, 5 times throughout the day should do the trick. Practicing when you are not anxious will help you to remember to use the skill when you are experiencing anxiety.

If you notice that you are feeling anxious more than normal and are having a hard time working through the anxiety, a therapist may be able to help.  I have seen first hand how therapy has helped my clients to gain some control over their anxiety and to help them start managing their anxiety on a daily basis.  When you're ready, I'm here to help you.  To make an appointment call (619) 383-1900 or go to to find out more information on how therapy can help you.