Everyone goes through moments of fear and worry. After all, it is a normal human experience. And whether you're dealing with occasional anxiety attacks or trying to control excessive worry, doubt, and anxiety, having tools to help calm your mind and body can reduce the intensity and duration of these feelings.
Here are nine strategies that can relax your mind, ease your anxiety, and help you regain control of your thoughts so you can feel better.
Understand the connection between anxiety and depression.
While not a specific strategy, understanding the connection between anxiety and depression can help you determine if what you're experiencing is temporary or a sign of something more serious.
RespectivelyLeela R. Magavi, MD, psychiatrist and regional medical director ofcommunity psychiatry, Anxiety and depression are intertwined and often get worse. Part of the reason, she said, is that the same neurochemicals are involved in both conditions.
More precise,Juliano Lagoy,MD, a psychiatrist concommunity psychiatry, who explained how it causes the decrease in serotonindepression and anxiety, it is common for someone with depression to feel anxious at the same time. For this reason, it is important to recognize feelings of anxiety and share them with a specialist, especially if you have been diagnosed with depression or are showing signs of depression.
acknowledge your fear
By recognizing when you feel anxious, you can take steps to reduce your symptoms. The first step is to accept that you cannot control everything. To do this, the American Anxiety and Depression Association (ADAA) recommends putting feelings of stress or anxiety into perspective.
If you have an anxious thought that won't go away, ask yourself, "Is it really as bad as I think it is?" Walk yourself through the thought process before moving on to the worst case scenario. If you still answer yes, ask yourself the following questions:
- How do I know the thought is true (what is the evidence)?
- Can I reframe the thought into a more positive or realistic scenario?
- What are the chances that what I'm worried about will actually happen?
- What is the worst possible outcome? How bad is it and can I deal with it?
This exercise is useful for people who struggle with chronic fears and worries.
Schedule a break to worry
It may seem counterintuitive when you look at strategies to help you find relief.distress, but take a short break each day to release your energy and focus on the task at hand. How you set this up depends on your routine. One way is to schedule a time at the end of the day, perhaps 15 minutes after dinner, to work out your concerns for the day.
At the beginning of the day, you can write down any worries or fears that come to mind. Then give yourself permission to deal with them later. This allows you to get on with your day while still acknowledging that something is bothering you.
Later, when you review your worry list, be sure to set a timer. Review what you've written, identify any thoughts that still scare you, and cross out any that no longer seem important. Give yourself a few minutes to address each concern.
interrupt your thoughts
Andnegative thoughtsor excessive worry running through your mind, there seems to be no way to turn it off. One strategy you can try is to interrupt your anxious thoughts by doing something else. While it doesn't always work, it's possible that taking a break from overthinking throughout the day can lead to less intrusive thoughts. Here are some techniques to try:
- practice deep breathing
- Take a mindfulness break
- move your body
- Engage in an activity that brings you joy
- Call a friend or loved one
- Go outside and take a walk.
- Keep your hands busy drawing, knitting, doing puzzles or building
Negative thought patterns and your beliefs
Practice mindfulness meditation and relaxation.
mindfulness meditationBreathing, relaxation, and breathing exercises can help calm your mind and body, which can help you feel less anxious.Plus, it only takes a few minutes a day to feel the difference. Use this time to become aware of what is going on in your mind and body. Start with five minutes a day and work your way up to moments of mindfulness several times a day.
To help you get started, listen to a recorded meditation or breathing exercises. Once you are comfortable with the practice, you will find more focus and awareness throughout the day.
Engage in diaphragmatic breathing
- Join usdiaphragmatic breathingand recording your body's signals can help you better understand your emotional response to stress, according to Magavi. Many people who suffer from anxiety find it helpful to engage in guided body scan meditations while taking slow, deep breaths to see how each emotion triggers different sensations in their body, Magavi said.
You can use this information to think about how to respond verbally or behaviorally. She recommends the use of diaphragmatic breathing and pranayama, which is alternate breathing or the practice of breath control.
Do one thing every day that brings you joy.
When you're feeling anxious and want to take your mind off stress, Lagoy recommends making time for the things you love, whether it's riding a bike, reading a book, painting, or chatting with friends.
„regular trainingcan help prevent or alleviate anxiety, as well as learning techniques like meditation, breathing exercises or mindfulness practice," Lagoy said.
Think about what your fear tells you
Anxiety is not always a bad thing. In fact, the anxious thoughts could be yours.Body type to give you valuable information. The next time you feel worry, anxiety, stress, or overwhelming thoughts of fear, stop and take a deep breath. Instead of saying "that's my scare speech," consider how you view the situation and ask yourself if your body is trying to tell you something. Do you need to slow down? Maybe you get sick and your body reacts with stress. Or maybe there is a real threat and you need to act.
The benefits of fear and nervousness
talk to a psychologist
Feeling anxious all the time could be a sign of a mental health problem, such as depression. If your anxiety is excessive and difficult to control, ask your doctor for a referral to a mental health professional or consult a mental health professional directly. Talk to a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist who candeal with the underlying problemit can help you feel better.
Press play for tips on mental toughness
This episode of is hosted by Editor-in-Chief and Therapist Amy Morin, LCSWThe Mind Very Well Podcastshares 10 lessons on mental toughness. Click below to listen now.
A word from Verywell
Occasional bouts of anxiety and worry may just be a sign that you need to take a break and implement some of the strategies listed above. Adding exercise, meditation, diaphragmatic breathing, or a worry break to your day can help calm your mind. However, if anxiety, nervousness, or worry becomes excessive or affects your life, it may be time to seek professional help.
"I hate life": What to do when nothing makes you happy?
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Anxiety and Depression Association of America.Generalized anxiety disorder.North Dakota.
Chen KW, Berger CC, Manheimer E, et al.Meditative therapies to reduce anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.. suppress fear. 2012;29(7):545-62. doi:10.1002/da.21964(Video) What to Do When you're Feeling Anxious (Ft. Grounding Techniques) #adhd #shorts
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Sara Lindberg, M.Ed., is a freelance writer specializing in mental health, fitness, nutrition, and parenting.
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Look around you and name three things you see. Then, name three sounds you hear. Finally, move three parts of your body — your ankle, fingers, or arm. Whenever you feel your brain going 100 miles per hour, this mental trick can help center your mind, bringing you back to the present moment, Chansky says.What is the best thing to do when you feel anxious? ›
- try talking about your feelings to a friend, family member, health professional or counsellor. ...
- use calming breathing exercises.
- exercise – activities such as running, walking, swimming and yoga can help you relax.
- Keep physically active. ...
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. ...
- Quit smoking, and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages. ...
- Use stress management and relaxation techniques. ...
- Make sleep a priority. ...
- Eat healthy foods. ...
- Learn about your disorder.
First, you may want to start with a simple deep breathing exercise called the 5-5-5 method. To do this, you breathe in for 5 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds, and then breathe out for 5 seconds. You can continue this process until your thoughts slow down or you notice some relief.What is the 5 4 3 2 1 rule anxiety? ›
This technique asks you to find five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Using this with someone who feels anxious will help to calm them down and reduce their feelings of anxiety.What triggers anxiety? ›
Difficult experiences in childhood, adolescence or adulthood are a common trigger for anxiety problems. Going through stress and trauma when you're very young is likely to have a particularly big impact. Experiences which can trigger anxiety problems include things like: physical or emotional abuse.What are 10 ways to get rid of anxiety? ›
- Stay active. ...
- Steer clear of alcohol. ...
- Consider quitting smoking cigarettes. ...
- Limit caffeine intake. ...
- Prioritize getting a good night's rest. ...
- Meditate and practice mindfulness. ...
- Eat a balanced diet. ...
- Practice deep breathing.
- Talk to someone you trust add. Talking to someone you trust about what's making you anxious could be a relief. ...
- Try to manage your worries add. ...
- Look after your physical health add. ...
- Try breathing exercises add. ...
- Keep a diary add. ...
- Complementary and alternative therapies add.
And to recommend that you avail yourself of almost 100 exercises to help you strengthen your brain's capacities for the 5 C's of coping: calm, clarity, connections to resources, competence, and courage.What are the 4 Rs for anxiety? ›
In a series of graphics, Earnshaw breaks down the 4 Rs: relabeling, reattributing, refocusing, and revaluing—a therapy technique developed by psychology Jeffrey Schwartz that's often used in treatment for OCD.
- Keep Your Blood Sugar in Check. ...
- Avoid Stimulants. ...
- Get Enough Sleep. ...
- Just Breathe. ...
- Practice Mindfulness. ...
- Exercise. ...
- Do What You Enjoy. ...
- Where to Get Help.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. People may find it helps manage anxiety. This breathing pattern aims to reduce anxiety or help people get to sleep.What are the three A's of anxiety? ›
Take a moment to see it, absorb it, identify it.What is the 10 second rule for anxiety? ›
Think to yourself, “Just 10 more seconds.” Take a deep breath, and make it through those next 10 seconds. If you still have more to do, repeat the process.What is the 80 20 rule anxiety? ›
20% of your daily tasks, activities & interactions are creating 80% of your stress. So if you want to remove stress from your Life, simply identify what those 20% of tasks are, that generate the most stress. Once you know what they are, minimise or remove them, and you'll remove 80% of your stress!!What is the 7 point scale for anxiety? ›
Score 0-4: Minimal Anxiety. Score 5-9: Mild Anxiety. Score 10-14: Moderate Anxiety. Score greater than 15: Severe Anxiety.What is the 5 second anxiety rule? ›
Mel Robbins explains the rule as, “The 5 Second Rule is simple. If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it. The moment you feel an instinct or a desire to act on a goal or a commitment, use the Rule.What is floating anxiety? ›
The American Psychological Association defines free-floating anxiety as “a diffuse, chronic sense of uneasiness and apprehension not directed toward any specific situation or object.” To put it another way, you might simply feel worried, nervous, and fearful for no clear reason.Why does water help with anxiety? ›
Water has been shown to have natural calming properties, likely as a result of addressing dehydration's effects on the body and brain. Drinking enough water is an important step in managing your anxiety. Even if you're not experiencing anxiety, drinking sufficient water can create feelings of relaxation.What personality types are prone to anxiety? ›
Research has indicated that individuals with high emotional reactivity (high neuroticism) and introverted tendencies (low extroversion) are more likely to experience anxiety than other personality types .
Matcha and green tea
Both have L-theanine with calming properties. Green tea is often in the form of crushed leaves and is steeped like traditional tea. Matcha is the entire tea leaf ground into a fine powder. It has a rich, buttery flavor when mixed as a drink.
- Breathe. One of the best things you can do when you start to feel that familiar panicky feeling is to breathe. ...
- Name what you're feeling. ...
- Try the 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique. ...
- Try the “File It” mind exercise. ...
- Run. ...
- Think about something funny. ...
- Distract yourself. ...
- Take a cold shower (or an ice plunge)
When deciding which option to choose, it's helpful to think of the four A's: avoid, alter, adapt or accept. Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no “one size fits all” solution to managing it.What are the big 4 coping strategies? ›
“Big 4” — a set of evidenced-based, cognitive behavioural therapy-based techniques that help individuals cope with stress and improve their mental health and resiliency. The Big 4 are positive self-talk, visualization, tactical breathing, and SMART goal setting.What are the 4 major coping strategies? ›
- Lower your expectations.
- Ask others to help or assist you.
- Take responsibility for the situation.
- Engage in problem solving.
- Maintain emotionally supportive relationships.
- Maintain emotional composure or, alternatively, expressing distressing emotions.
It involves looking around your environment to identify three objects and three sounds, then moving three body parts. Many people find this strategy helps focus and ground them when anxiety overwhelms them.What is the 5 4 3 2 1 calming down method? ›
- 5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. ...
- 4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. ...
- 3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. ...
- 2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. ...
- 1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste.
Foods naturally rich in magnesium may, therefore, help a person to feel calmer. Examples include leafy greens, such as spinach and Swiss chard. Other sources include legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Foods rich in zinc such as oysters, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks have been linked to lowered anxiety.Is anxiety a form of mental illness? ›
Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. But anxiety disorders are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available. Treatment helps most people lead normal productive lives.What are 3 instantly calming techniques for anxiety? ›
- CBT technique 1: Focus on how the feelings will change.
- CBT technique 2: Chew it over and act normal.
- CBT technique 3: Catch the underlying assumption and chase down logical. conclusions.
- exhaustion or a build-up of stress.
- lots of change or uncertainty.
- feeling under pressure while studying or in work.
- long working hours.
- being out of work.
- money problems.
- housing problems and homelessness.
- worrying about the environment or natural disasters (sometimes called climate anxiety or eco-anxiety)
The 3 P's stand for Pervasiveness, Permanence and Personalisation. Pervasiveness looks at how much of your life a concern impacts – How big? Permanence looks at how long an issue is going to be of concern – How long? Personalisation looks at how much you feel you are to blame – How much?What instantly calms nerves? ›
Whenever you are experiencing anxious thoughts, doing something that 'fills your mind' and needs complete focus can be a good distraction. Small things like leaving the room or going outside can be effective. One other technique that some people use when calming their anxiety is counting backwards.
Breathing to relax
Taking slow, regular breaths can help you to control anxious thoughts and feelings, and make you feel calmer. To control your breathing: Place one hand on your chest and the other over your stomach. You want your stomach to move more than your chest as you breathe.
Psychotherapy and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety disorders. Signs that it's time to talk to a mental health professional include: Constant or nearly constant anxiety. Anxiety that gets in the way of your daily activities, like work or social life.What sets off anxiety attacks? ›
- #1 Negative Thinking and Attitudes. ...
- #2 Extreme Self-Consciousness. ...
- #3 Feelings of Being Looked at or Judged. ...
- #4 Memories of Past Attacks Happening in Certain Environments. ...
- #5 Anticipation of Failure. ...
- #6 Environmental Changes. ...
- #7 A Lack of Food or Sleep.
- Feeling nervous, anxious or on edge. ...
- Not being able to stop or control worrying. ...
- Worrying too much about different things. ...
- Trouble relaxing. ...
- Being so restless that it is hard to sit still. ...
- Becoming easily annoyed or irritable. ...
- Feeling afraid as if something awful might happen.
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense.
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom.
- Having an increased heart rate.
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired.
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry.