Are you looking for how to calm anxiety right now? I can help!
I have struggled with anxiety my entire life. As I’ve gotten older and experienced some ups and downs, I slowly started to reach a place of embracing my anxiety. I’ve now learned how to work with it instead of against it, which has been helpful.
Although I have more good days than bad now, those pesky bad days still creep up on me every once in a while. When my anxiety is at its worst, I feel powerless to my negative mind. My thoughts race, and it feels like I’ve lost complete control of my inner dialogue. And, let’s face it, that internal dialogue is not the sweetest, to say the very least!
When this happens, I have one goal in mind, and that’s to take back control of my thinking and to bring myself back to the present moment. There are different ways to do this, but today, I wanted to share two of my favourites.
I like these exercises for a couple of reasons:
# 1 – They are easy to remember.
An anxious mind is one that has difficulty focusing. So, when I don’t have to struggle to remember a technique, that makes it super helpful.
# 2 – You can do them anywhere.
Having these little techniques in my back pocket to turn to whenever is incredibly comforting, and can be a calming force in itself.
How to calm anxiety right now: 2 simple strategies
DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this blog is written from personal and lived experience. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional mental health services, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health or mental health, you should always consult with a health-care professional.
# 1 – The 3-3-3 Rule
Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., psychologist, shares this little trick to help bring us back to the present moment. The next time your mind is racing, try the 3-3-3 Rule. It’s a simple yet super effective strategy to calm an anxious mind.
How does it work?
- Name three things you see
- Name three sounds you hear
- Move three parts of your body – your fingers, toes, leg, etc.
Why is it helpful?
Focusing our attention on the present moment helps our anxiety because it stops the vicious cycle of anxious thoughts. We tend to experience anxiety when we worry about the past or the future, being present helps stop that worrying. By focusing our thoughts and senses on the here and now, we interrupt our relentless negative thinking, which enables us to regain a sense of control.
# 2 – S.T.O.P
Here’s another simple strategy to help interrupt your cycle of anxious thoughts. This little trick can be used any time you feel anxious tension in your body or worried thoughts about the future. And it couldn’t be easier to remember – just think S-T-O-P.
How does it work?
S: Stop. Stop what you’re doing in the moment.
T: Take a deep breath, or two, or three.
O: Observe your experience – your sensations, thoughts, and emotions. Pay attention to your thoughts. Remind yourself that thoughts are not facts. Notice your emotions and how your body is expressing them. Become aware of your full experience in that very moment.
P: Proceed with something that will help you at the moment – talk to a friend, go for a walk, have a cup of tea.
Why is it helpful?
Similarly to the 3-3-3 Rule, the S.T.O.P strategy helps calm anxiety by literally stopping our anxious thoughts and bringing us to the present moment. Taking a few deep breaths helps us relax. Being mindful of our sensations, thoughts, and emotions allows us to regain control of ourselves and see things more clearly and realistically. Finally, this technique ends with a reminder to proceed with something that will support us in the moment. Something that we commonly neglect to do.
The next time you experience a vicious cycle of anxious thoughts, and you’re looking for how to calm anxiety right now, use these two strategies to calm your mind and regain control. The 3-3-3 and S-T-O-P strategies are simple little tricks that are easy to remember and available for you to use everywhere and anywhere. Keep these strategies in your back pocket, and you’ll always have a superpower to kick anxiety’s butt! You got this, my beautifully resilient friends! <3