Dealing with anxiety: 5 tips to help you address the situation immediately

Dealing with anxiety: 5 tips to help you address the situation immediately

Know that feeling of your heart beating faster in response to a stressful situation? Or your palms getting sweaty when you’re confronted with an overwhelming task or event. That’s anxiety, our body’s natural response to stress. Anxiety is a natural human emotion, that usually helps to spur us into action.

However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming, it can affect our quality of life. Some indicators include reduced performance at work, strained relationships, avoidance of activities that were previously enjoyed, and constantly feeling on edge. Anxiety isn’t something you can get rid of. But it is manageable and there are strategies you can use to avoid feeling consumed by it and long-term methods to combat this recurring issue.

But what to do concretely when anxiety strikes? Let’s explore together some quick coping tips to help you address the situation immediately.


Naming something can make it feel less scary. When you’re having a panic attack, knowing that it is a panic attack, and that it will pass, can go a long way. Similarly, if you live with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, knowing that what you’re feeling is part of a health condition, not a reflection of how the world actually is, can help you feel more grounded.  


Sometimes, the best way to stop anxious thoughts is to walk away from the situation. It’s easier said than done, but distraction can be a useful tool. Taking some time to focus on your body and not your mind may help relieve your anxiety. Go for a walk, listen to music you love, get yourself a beverage to enjoy, chat with a co-worker, whatever works to distract your mind. 

3/ Try the 5-4-3-2-1 method

Grounding yourself makes a big difference when you’re feeling anxious. To do that, you can use the 5-4-3-2-1 method:

  • Look around and spot five individual things.
  • Touch four things near you.
  • Acknowledge three things you can hear.
  • Identify two smells.
  • Check in with your mouth for one thing you can taste.

By tapping into your senses, you’re bringing yourself back to the present moment and anchoring yourself there.

4/ Write down your thoughts in the moment

Writing down what’s making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.

Since we can only write one thing at a time, it forces us to slow down, organize our thoughts, and focus on them one at a time. Journaling can provide greater clarity on concerns and help identify patterns and triggers.

5/ Practice breathing exercises

Breathing is one of the most powerful calming tools. Between the added oxygen and the stimulation for your parasympathetic nervous system, breathing can work wonders and it can be helpful to memorize some breathing exercises you can do anytime, anywhere. So here are three breathing techniques you can learn and practice right away!

The 4-7-8 breathing technique

The first thing you want to do is place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, right behind your front teeth, and sit in an upright position. Then, follow these steps in the cycle of one breath:

  • With your mouth closed, inhale through your nose to a count of four.
  • Hold your breath for seven counts.
  • Exhale through your mouth, making a whooshing sound for eight seconds.
  • Repeat steps one to three for a total of four breath cycles.

The box breath

This type of breathing exercise is so powerful that people with high-stress jobs, like the military, often use it to maintain calm. Its primary focus is to distract the mind while you count and fill your lungs with oxygen. Box breathing is one of the simplest breathwork techniques and can be done almost anywhere, at your desk, in your car or even at a busy coworking space. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:

  • Exhale all of the air in your lungs.
  • Inhale for four counts.
  • Hold your breath for another four counts.
  • Exhale for four counts.
  • Repeat three to four times.

The belly breath (or diaphragmatic breathing technique)

Belly breathing fully engages your abdominal muscles, diaphragm and lungs. Contrary to normal breathing, diaphragmatic breathing expands the abdomen when inhaling rather than the chest. Our normal breaths tend to be shallow, but with belly breaths, you slowly fill your lungs with air making the breath deeper. You can practice belly breathing lying down or sitting in a comfortable position.

  • Place your left hand over your heart and your right hand over your belly.
  • Inhale slowly, filling up your belly with air.
  • Purse your lips and exhale slowly, feeling your stomach contract.
  • Repeat up to 10 breath cycles.

Finally always remember: it is inevitable that we sometimes face challenges and setbacks in life that can affect our mood and mental well-being. Don’t feel embarrassed to seek treatment if your condition doesn’t improve and you need counselling services to manage your anxiety. For further medical advice, you can also consult online our doctors.

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