Tips to Stop Anxious Thoughts in the Moment

by Aug 7, 202344 comments

Your brain feels like it’s going a million miles a minute. You have unwanted thoughts circling around your head with nowhere to go. They’re making you feel on edge, anxious, nervous, and everything in between. You can’t seem to focus on anything else.

Your stomach feels like it’s doing flips. Your hands are clammy. And you’re even starting to shake. Now, you’re even more anxious at the thought of others seeing you like this. You’re hoping it’s not noticeable, but now, that’s another worry circling through your head.

Here are some tips on how to stop anxious thoughts in the moment.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a great way to try to slow your body and brain down a bit. When you have anxiety, your mind may feel like thoughts are coming and going a million miles a minute. Your heart rate can skyrocket, and you may become short of breath. Try to get control over your body and brain again by working to slow everything down to a normal state of functioning again.

There are a lot of deep breathing techniques out there, so you’ll have to try a few out and see what works for you. In the meantime, give the 4-7-8 breathing technique a try:

  • Breathe in for four seconds.
  • Hold your breath for seven seconds.
  • Exhale for eight seconds.
  • Repeat as needed.

Write in a Journal

Instead of letting all of those thoughts circle in your head with nowhere to go, get them out onto the pages of a journal instead. This is a great way to turn that anxious energy into an activity. Write about how you’re feeling, what made you feel this way, and anything you’re doing that may be working or not working.

Not only is journaling great in the moment that you’re feeling anxious, it’s also a great tool to look back on later when you’re not feeling anxious. When you’re feeling better, you can use your journal as a learning lesson for the next time you’re feeling anxious. You’ll be able to learn about any potential triggers, the signs, and symptoms you experienced, as well as things that may have worked or not worked to help you cope.

Try Grounding Techniques

Since a lot of anxiety is actually caused by worrying about past or future events that haven’t even occurred yet, it’s important to try to bring yourself back to the present moment. The 5-4-3-2-1 grounding method is a great way to bring your attention back to the present moment by recognizing things in your environment as a way to distract yourself from your anxiety.

The idea behind the method is to name five things that you can see, four things that you can feel, three things that you can hear, two things that you can smell, and one thing that you can taste.

Move Your Body

Exercise releases feel-good chemicals in your body and brain that not only help to make you feel good from the inside out but also work to improve your mood and reduce your overall stress. You can move your body in whatever way works for you.

Hit up your gym. Go for a walk around the block. Cycle around your neighborhood on a bike or hop on an indoor cycling bike. Or, try rolling out a yoga mat in the comfort of your own home and stretch in a way that feels good.

Next Steps

Anxiety is a completely normal emotion. Anyone and everyone can experience it from time to time. That being said, if your anxiety is starting to have a negative impact on your daily life and routine, it may be time to seek additional support. We’re here to help. Reach out to us today to set up an appointment.

Click here for more information on anxiety therapy.