• Joanne Greaves

How to calm down when feeling anxious or panicking

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

Taking control of your breathing, as soon as you recognise you feel anxious or overwhelmed is a good way to send messages to your panicky mind that there is nothing to worry about.

1. Inhale for 2 seconds

2. Hold your breath for the count of 4

3. Breath out through your mouth slowing for the count of 6

4. Repeat all 3 steps for 3 minutes.

Grounding yourself in the moment will take your attention out of your scary thoughts, and uncomfortable feelings

  1. If you're sat down - feel your feet on the ground and concentrate on how your body is being supported by the chair.

  2. If you're standing or walking - It's good to be able to be barefoot notice how your feet are making contact with the floor and notice what the floor feels like.

  3. 5-4-3-2-1 method:

  • Concentrate on 5 things you can see, really study something in detail and get really interested in its colour shape and texture.

  • Find 4 things you can touch around you. Feel the texture, notice if it's cool or warm, and hard or soft.

  • Acknowledge 3 things you can hear. This could be an external sound such as the sound of birds singing or the internal sounds of a hungry stomach rumbling.

  • Find 2 things you can smell maybe if your outside the smell of a flower or something else in nature. If you're inside maybe the smell of soap or a meal you are cooking.

  • The last 1 is notice one thing you can taste. It could be something you have just drunk, for example the taste of coffee or toothpaste on your teeth or just the normal taste of your mouth.

Exercise is brilliant for burning off cortisol which is the stress chemical your body produces when you are stressed or worried.

  • Going for walk can help to work off the stress in your body and looking around in nature engages your senses and distracts your mind and has a calming effect on your brain.

  • If you can't go outside, put some music on and move about or you could dance, this sends a message to your brain that there is nothing to worry about, which will help you to calm down.

  • Running is really helpful when feeling anxious as it releases endorphins into the brain it helps to clear space in your mind.

  • If your brave you could try cold water or outdoor swimming this puts your body into the shock response which puts your body into flight or fight response or panic mode. As you repeat this experience you diminish the stress response in your body and your mind. (This may be an extreme thing to do but it works for me) 😁

All these techniques are really useful in helping to calm down an anxious or stressed mind but alongside this it's important to find out the root of what is causing the anxiety. This is where making your mental health as important as your physical health comes in. Talking to a counsellor can help you find out what your stress triggers are and then you can work together to find ways of preventing future anxiety in your life.

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