Your anxiety may try to control your day and your response to events – it often succeeds, as such a terrifying and suffocating feeling. However, you can empower yourself to regulate your anxiety and regain control over your life. Here are some quick calming tips for those times when your anxiety almost knocks you down…

Break away from the situation

Your anxiety may have been piling up throughout the day. Or it may have gotten triggered by an event or a conversation. Either way, the intuition is often to keep working at the problem. However, this act may further increase your anxiety. Research says, sometimes, it’s best to just step away from the situation entirely in order to gain perspective.

Reevaluate your work

If you feel like you have too much on your plate or too many demands on you, then try breaking away from your present situation. Do something relaxing or random. Take anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours.

Then come back to your workload and pick just one thing to work on for a block of time.  The sense of accomplishment from finishing that one thing will fuel you to complete other tasks. Try aiming to get 3 high-priority tasks done a day.  

Simplify a task by chunking  

If the thought of doing something or talking to someone is giving you anxiety, then break that task into several steps. Try ‘chunking’: take small steps and spread the task over multiple days, if time allows. This way the chore will seem less daunting and will have less power over you.

For example:

The thought of calling my doctor gives me anxiety. How can I break this task down into several steps?

  1. Obtain contact info
  2. Practice what I will say
  3. Schedule the call on my calendar
  4. Make the call

Ground yourself  

Regardless of why you’re feeling anxious, anxiety may be worsened by telling yourself that it’s not a rational or practical feeling. Anxiety may also worsen if you try to ignore it. Instead, try grounding yourself to your surroundings when you feel panic settling in…

The Technique

Look around you. Find 5 things you can see. 4 things you can touch. 3 things you can hear. 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.

There are different forms of grounding. This technique gradually shifts your attention away from your nervousness and worries, and towards the present situation. Do it as many times as necessary throughout the day, and even try it in different environments.

Anxiety often happens when your doubts and worst fears go into overdrive. Sometimes you can’t even be sure why it happens.

You shouldn’t feel pressured to beat your anxiety as soon as you feel it. Rather, cope with it on a practical timescale through the techniques and steps above. The situation will seem more manageable once you’re able to calm down.


Written by: Merusha Mukherjee