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5 Ways to Calm Your Anxious Mind in Less than 5 Minutes

Calm your anxious mind now, in five minutes or less. See some easy ways to calm your anxious mind by working directly on the brain. Learn more at HealthyPlace.

Believe it or not, you can do things to calm your anxious mind in less than five minutes. Even when anxiety is intense, even when your fear is heightened or you feel on the verge of panic, you have the power to take action to stop anxiety in its tracks. The beauty of these actions lies in their simplicity. You don't have to remember fancy techniques, nor do you have to have special equipment or props. You only need yourself, your anxiety, and a desire to be calm quickly. If you're ready, here are five things to do to calm your anxious mind in five minutes or less. 

The Formula to Calm Your Anxious Mind

Calming your anxious mind has a formula of sorts, so you might notice some common themes in these instant-calming techniques. All involve:

  • Action--being proactive and intentionally doing something to reduce anxiety

  • The brain--each of these activities work directly on the brain to improve its functioning

  • The present moment--you stay in your moment rather than trying to withdraw or escape in order to directly deal with (and minimize) your anxiety

Calm Your Anxious Mind Using These 5 Actions

These techniques are deceptively simple and will calm your anxious mind. They are easy, natural to use, and they work to lower anxiety. 

  1. Try stretch/yoga movements: We tend to tense up when we're anxious. When you notice your anxiety rise, check in with your body. If you're tense, stretch. Stand or sit--it doesn't matter. Use yoga poses or your own type of stretching. The idea is to stretch to release muscle tension and increase blood flow to your brain and entire nervous system to calm that anxious mind. 
  2. Drink water, and eat a nutritious snack: There's a link between nutrition, anxiety, and the brain. If the brain lacks important nutrients, it doesn't function properly. Among other things, the brain doesn't produce enough neurotransmitters, and connections and communication are disrupted if it doesn't have the right nutrients. The result is often increased anxiety. Proper hydration in the form of water or tea is crucial for similar reasons. When you catch yourself experiencing heightened anxiety or even panic, feed your brain. 
  3. Move vigorously: Anxiety often creates a sense of pent-up energy. Even a brief burst of vigorous activity can release that energy and induce calm. Walk or trot up and down stairs, power-walk to the corner and back, run in place, or do jumping jacks. Whatever you can do to increase your heart rate and increase blood flow to the brain will reduce anxiety at the moment. 
  4. Turn up the volume, or at least put on headphones or earbuds. Have a premade anti-anxiety playlist is very helpful but if you haven't made one yet, just select music that sounds good to you right now. Some people prefer soft, calming music or nature sounds when they're anxious. Others find that style to be agitating and instead prefer music with strong, peppy beats. Play whatever calms you and experience a decrease in anxiety. 
  5. Grab an object and do a mindfulness exercise: It doesn't matter what the object is. The goal is to hold something and direct your attention to it. Study it, listen to it (tap it on your desk, for example), and feel it with all of your fingers, the palm of your hand, and even the back of your hand. Concentrate on only that object. Your thoughts will begin to be less anxious and your anxious mind will calm down. 

You can find a favorite technique and concentrate on doing it repeatedly or you can use them in combination. These five activities all make instant changes in the brain that have a positive impact on anxiety, reducing it in less than five minutes. For a lasting sense of calm, make these activities a habit, regular actions done every day for an anxiety-free life and a calm, not anxious, brain. 

APA Reference
NCC, T. (2018, June 14). 5 Ways to Calm Your Anxious Mind in Less than 5 Minutes, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2018/6/5-ways-to-calm-your-anxious-mind-in-less-than-5-minutes



Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps, and five critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges. She speaks nationally about mental health, and she has a curriculum for middle and high schools. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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