Mental Wellbeing

Anxiety Sucks! Try These 7 Simple Ways To Calm Your Mind

woman looking downwards anxious

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase. This is at no extra cost to you. I only ever recommend products and services that I love and that I think you will love too.

Sharing is caring!

Anxiety sucks on many levels.  I know, having had first-hand experience.

First of all, there are physical symptoms to contend with.  Palpitations, dizziness, dry mouth, stomach problems, difficulty sleeping, sweating and trembling to name but a few.
Then there’s the obsessing and overthinking, the racing mind and the inability to concentrate. Not to mention the irritability and an overwhelming sense of doom.  Yup, anxiety seriously sucks.
I decided that my anxiety sucked so much that I built myself a ‘toolbox’ of techniques I can pull out at any time to help me.  Today I’m sharing 7 simple tips from that toolbox.
Now, I realise that everyone is different and what works for one person may well not work for someone else.
I hope, however, that you will find at least one or two tips to help.
anxiety sucks 7 ways to calm your mind
Want even more ways to calm your mind?  Claim your free 54-page e-Book which explains how!
You also need to know that there is no quick fix.  The best thing I’ve found is to experiment and practice to find out what works for you.
(If anxiety is affecting your life every day, or if you are under the care of a medical professional already, please ensure you seek advice before trying anything new to manage your anxiety).
So, here are my tips.

1.  Identify Unhelpful Thought Patterns

[tweetshare tweet=”You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you. – Dan Millman” username=”alisonw30″]
Anxiety often fixates on things that we can’t control.  Identifying the thought patterns that are leading to your anxiety can help you to realise this.
This can be easier said than done, I know.
The 4 Rs technique described in this article from Psychology Today is helpful.
Here’s a summary of what to do:
Recognise that you are anxious.  This is the first step (it’s important to follow these steps in order).  Learn to recognise the symptoms – tense muscles, rapid breathing, heart beating fast or however it shows up for you.
Then think ‘there’s my anxiety’.  It’s important to acknowledge it rather than trying to push it away.
Rate your anxiety on a scale of 1 to 10.  You will probably find most times you aren’t at a 10.
Remember that anxiety comes and goes.  It’s like a wave and you will come down as well as go up.  Remember that your thoughts and therefore your anxiety are in your control.
Reflect.  Here is where you get to the crux of the thoughts which resulted in anxiety.  This will probably take a bit of practice.  I find it helpful to write down the thoughts that led to the anxiety.

2.  Challenge Unhelpful Thought Patterns

So, the last tip was to recognise the unhelpful thought patterns.  The next step is to challenge them.

One way of doing this is by looking for evidence that contradicts your negative thoughts.

A couple of other techniques I find helpful are to
  • consider what advice I would give to a friend and 
  • consider how important the issue will be in six months time


Try and identify whether any of your thought patterns are:
  • predicting the future (I know I’m going to fail the exam)
  • catastrophising (my partner hasn’t texted me back, they must be unconscious in the hospital.  In fact, scrap that, they’re in the morgue)
  • mind-reading (I can tell she thinks I’m an idiot)
  • attaching negative labels to yourself (I’m such a failure, I can’t cope)
  • using ‘should’ and ‘what if’ statements (I should be able to handle this)


Challenging negative patterns of thinking is part of an approach known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. CBT has been shown to be effective for anxiety.  You can ask your medical professional how to access this.  I also found this book called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies hugely helpful.


There are many other fantastic books out there to help you work on your anxiety.  You’re sure to find one or two that you will enjoy and which are helpful.

3.  Breathing Exercises

I’ve found these to be a useful way of getting my anxiety under control.  I recently learned, however, that they don’t help everyone and can make the symptoms worse for some.
If you do find them helpful or if you want to give them a try, there are many different breathing techniques.
One technique I use which I find very helpful (with the added bonus it seems to send me to sleep) is ‘box breathing’.  To do this you breathe in for a count of 8, hold for 8, breath out for 8, hold for 8.  And then repeat 8 times.
You could also try making your out-breath longer than your in-breath.
The aim is to reduce the shallow breathing associated with anxiety and panic and to replace it with deep, relaxed breathing.

4.  Write It Down

 thought catalog
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash
It’s no coincidence that there are so many mental health bloggers!  Many people find that writing things down is helpful in reducing anxiety and helping other mental health conditions
You don’t have to start a blog to benefit.  Simply writing your thoughts down in a notepad can help get them out of your head. (You can, of course, use your laptop or tablet if you prefer).
Once they’re there on paper or screen, you can then start jotting down and working through options to resolve whatever it is that’s bothering you.

5.  Look After Your Physical Health

 jumping for joy
Photo by Peter Conlan on Unsplash
No, I’m not going to tell you to go out and get some exercise.  Although it does help many people, this is another area where one size doesn’t fit all.
I personally find that if I’m in the best of physical health, my anxiety levels reduce.
One of the best things I ever did for my mental health was to take a break from alcohol.  The decrease in my anxiety levels has been dramatic. 
That’s not to say I don’t still suffer at times, I do.  However, I find the symptoms tend to be much shorter-lived (no more feelings of underlying dread for days on end) and I can manage them more easily.
It’s also a good idea to reduce caffeine intake, although I’m failing miserably at this one so do sometimes feel a bit jittery as a result!
I was also interested to read recently about how the spice turmeric can help with anxiety and depression.  Apparently, studies have shown that can have a positive impact on neurotransmitters in the brain.
Getting enough rest and sleep is also important.  I know how hard it can be to sleep when your mind is racing.  Here are some brilliant exercises to help if you can’t switch your brain off at night.

6.  Find Something That Relaxes You

Again everyone is different here.  I also find that what relaxed me last week might not relax me today!  So I have a few things in my toolkit here.
I’m a big fan of meditation but I realise this isn’t for everyone.
A mistake a lot of people make with meditation, is thinking that they have to turn off their thoughts and have a completely blank mind.  This definitely isn’t the case.  Thoughts are natural.  It’s noticing them and acknowledging them that is the key in meditation.
You could try this beginners’ meditation to get started.
Other things I do to relax when my anxiety sucks include:
  • taking a hot bath
  • reading a good book
  • watching a film
  • spending time playing with my two cats


7.  Don’t Avoid Things

Image by John Hain from Pixabay
Ugh, this is hard!  But avoiding things is a big reason why anxiety sucks so much.
I developed an irrational fear of driving a couple of years ago.  For a while, I avoided certain roads and would go out of my way not to drive through various junctions.
I realised that by doing this I was avoiding the issue and was becoming more and more anxious about driving.
Now, this did reduce when I started to better look after my physical health, however, I was still avoiding certain roads.
I’ve had to make myself drive along those bits of motorway and through those junctions.  I do feel a lot less anxious now, although certain situations still make me uneasy.
I’ve found it helpful to build up gradually and also to congratulate myself when I’ve successfully negotiated some challenging traffic!

To Recap

Yes, anxiety sucks there’s no doubt about it.  There are, however, simple steps you can take to help manage your anxiety.
Choose one or two of the tips and give them a try.  I’d love to hear how you get on.  If you have any other tips I’ve missed, I’d love to hear about them too.  Let me know in the comments.

Sharing is caring!

  1. Hannah

    I have anxiety and adore this advice! It will be bookmarked to reread when I’m next feeling anxious! X

  2. Chloe Chats

    ‘Consider how important it will be in 6 months time’ this is something I’m really trying hard to focus on. I recently bought a self-help book for anxiety and one of the first things I read was that exact statement. When I worry about something and get really anxious over it, I try and think to myself that in a weeks time or even less than that, it’s no longer going to be affecting me. I’m trying to more reading at the moment of these kind of things because I’ve been really struggling. This post has came at a good time for me, so thank you for the tips. At the moment I am getting a lot of heart palpitations and I seem to get them at work a lot, which could be a sign to be fair, but I try so hard to do some breathing exercises whilst I’m at my desk. I had some really bad heart palpitations today and that’s what I did to calm myself down, I know that when I have heart palpitations if they’re really bad I get panic attacks so I was definitely on the verge today.

    Great post Alison.

    Chloe xx

    1. Alison

      Hi Chloe
      Sorry you aren’t feeling great at the moment. Did you see your GP about the palpitations? I’ve found considering how important things will be in 6 months time really helpful. I also write down things that are worrying me and then look back to see if they actually came true – usually not to be honest! Feel better soon x

  3. Geraldine

    Great tips Alison! I try my best to identify what it is that’s bothering me and try to find something that that I know would definitely keep me fully occupied. 🤗

  4. Angela

    Thanks for sharing, the tips are really practical and easy to apply xx

  5. Alex Grace

    Fantastic post, Alison! These are all readily available means to help ease anxiety. I especially like the 4 R’s method, such a solid process to guide you through. Thanks for sharing x

  6. Nyxie

    This is such an amazing post. Thank you so much for writing and sharing. I’m awful with anxiety and constantly need to work on myself in order to be able to complete basic functions. The 4 R’s are a lovely way to put it and easy to remember.

  7. Julie Coolong

    Thanks for these tips. Going to try a few. Sometimes, I just feel so alone with this ugly thing called anxiety. Thankfully my family is starting to understand better. I have a husband, three grown daughters who are all married and nine amazing grandchildren (they range from 15 yrs-7months). I love when we are all together, but when the anxiety hits and I’m starting to panic, I go to a quiet room and take a break. I hate missing out on the fun, but I’ve learned I can ruin the fun, if I push myself to far.

    1. Alison

      Hi Julie, thanks for stopping by. Anxiety can indeed be ugly and debilitating. I hope you find the tips helpful. Don’t beat yourself up for needing to take a break. I think that’s a sensible thing to do if you feel the panic rising. Take care x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.