3 Tricks to Cope Better With an Anxious Moment

I try to drill into my clients that strong mental health takes training like your physical health.

There’s nothing wrong with a quick win, though.

During a difficult day when you are feeling anxious or stressed out, try these three quick tricks. You can pull them off in thirty seconds or less.


Experiment With These Three Tricks


1. Pause and notice your inner experience.

If you read our blog regularly, I write about noticing what’s going on with you probably on a weekly basis. There’s a good reason for that. Self-awareness never goes out of style or necessity.

A good way to do this is paying attention to your body. When I get upset, my stomach likes to act as if it’s an Olympic gymnast. Maybe your chest tightens, or your jaw clenches, or does something else. Just practice checking in on your body in tough moments. It will give you clues.


2. Put your emotions into words and say them out loud (if possible).

Research has shown that the simple act of verbalizing your feelings can help calm you. Labeling your feelings doesn’t take much time or effort. It’s not like you are stopping your day for a lengthy meditation exercise. Yet labeling your feelings can help soothe you.

You can just say, “I’m noticing that I’m feeling really anxious about how I’m behind schedule on this project.”

No, you probably don’t want to be in a meeting and say it out loud. I’d stick with the inner monologue in that instance. If you are feeling self-conscious, just act like you are on a call for a few moments and chat with yourself about what’s going on.


3. Speak kindly to yourself.

After you have acknowledged and stated how you are feeling, make the choice to talk kindly to yourself. The prior two steps will be pointless if you follow them with a line like, “Here’s more evidence that I suck at life.” Instead of motivating you, it will upset you more. Not helpful.

Instead, say something like, “I’m noticing that I’m feeling really anxious about how I’m behind schedule on this project. I’m going to choose to be kind with myself even though I’m having a tough time.”

One last key point: Make sure your tone matches your words. Saying anything with a snarl or sarcastic tone sends a different message whether we are talking to others or ourselves.

Give these 3 quick tricks a try, then get present and focus on what’s important to you in this moment. You might just see your day start to turn around.

Are you struggling with loss & grief, anxiety, or burnout and live in Ohio? Reach out to me at Oak Harbor Counseling Services. My office is conveniently located in northern Columbus. You can learn more about my counseling practice here or email me at [email protected].

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Brent Flory

Brent is a licensed professional counselor in Columbus, Ohio. He works with adults and adolescents, and specializes in helping people who are struggling with anxiety, loss & grief, and burnout.
In his spare time, he enjoys hanging out with his family, playing basketball, and eating too much ice cream.

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