Anxiety: 6 ways to ease your day

Anxiety is a normal response to perceived danger or threat that everyone experiences at some point in life. It is characterised by feelings of apprehension, nervousness, and tension. Anxiety can arise from various situations ranging from everyday events like having a disagreement with a loved one, to more significant life-changing events like a job interview.


Normalising anxiety can reduce stigma, promote understanding, encourage self-compassion, improve mental health awareness, facilitate early intervention, support effective treatment, and enhance quality of life. However, it's important to seek professional help if anxiety becomes a significant disorder.

When feeling anxious, it can be challenging to calm oneself. The emotions may feel overwhelming and challenging to control. However, there are techniques that one can learn and practice to help provide instant relief from anxiety, allowing one to remain calm even in stressful situations.

One popular technique is meditation. But, there are several other quick and easy techniques that you can try when you feel a rush of anxiety building inside you. Here are six to try.

1. Meditation for anxiety

Meditation is beneficial for managing anxiety. It reduces stress, improves emotional regulation, enhances mindfulness, promotes calmness, and improves sleep. Incorporating meditation into your daily routine will be a powerful tool for managing your anxiety and improving overall mental well-being.

However, it's always a good idea to seek professional advice if you're dealing with severe anxiety or considering significant changes to your treatment plan.

2. Acceptance

Accepting the anxiety may seem counter-intuitive, but it is an essential first step. Accepting that your anxiety is a normal and natural feeling can help you to usher it out faster than if you fought it.

Imagine a tug-of-war, where the rope becomes tighter and tighter until you can hear the tension. That is exactly what happens when you pull away from your anxiety. Now imagine if one of the opposing teams went with the rope. How can you have tension if you lean into something?

Next time you experience anxiety, approach it with curiosity; be brave, explore it, and find out if you can learn anything from it.

3. Avoid stimulants 

It is advisable to avoid stimulants like coffee and alcohol. Caffeine has been proven to induce more anxiety, especially when consumed in high doses. Alcohol may seem like it will calm you down, but over time, it will only worsen the symptoms of anxiety you are experiencing.

4. Relaxation techniques

Adopting relaxation techniques can also help reduce anxiety. When you feel anxious, your breathing will become rapid and shallow, and your muscles tighten, leading to physical symptoms like heart palpitations, light-headedness, nausea, and sweating.

Relaxation exercises emphasise breathing and identify areas of tension in the body that one can release. One such exercise is the simple breathing exercise, where you take slow and deep breaths through your nose for four seconds, hold the breath for another count of three seconds, and exhale gently through the mouth for another count of six.

5. Distraction techniques

Distracting yourself is another technique that can help calm anxiety. Doing something that requires complete focus and fills your mind, like counting backwards, can be an effective distraction.

When trying this technique, seek a quiet place, then close your eyes, and count backwards until you feel your anxiety subside. If this does not work, try counting backwards from 100 in threes. This technique can be done anytime and almost anywhere to calm anxiety.

6. Visualisation

Visualisation techniques like the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 technique can also be effective in calming anxiety. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and first name five things you can see, then four things you can feel, followed by things you can hear, then two things you can smell, and finally one thing you can taste. This technique helps combine mindfulness and breathing techniques, providing another way to calm down and stop anxiety from spiralling out of control.

In summary, anxiety is a natural response to perceived danger or threat. It's OK not to feel OK. Accept anxiety. Find the courage to talk about it. I am here to assist you. Avoid stimulants they hinder rather than help. When you adopt relaxation techniques, you regulate your body.

Remember, anxiety is an emotional response; by distracting yourself and using visualisation techniques, you will discover some quick and easy techniques that can help you reduce your anxiety levels. Have a good day.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London E1 & E14
Written by David Pender, MBACP, Integrative Psychotherapy | Specialising in Anxiety
London E1 & E14

David S. Pender is a qualified BACP therapist who provides counselling and psychotherapy services to adults throughout London & the UK. He has extensive experience in dealing with problems related to anxiety, trauma, chronic stress, social anxiety, panic attacks, generalised anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Free discovery calls

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