How to Calm an Anxious Mind

How to Calm an Anxious Mind

Tools and Techniques for Daily Management and In-the-Moment Relief - By Emma Mills

Reading time: 4 minutes

Anxiety varies from person to person but almost always includes constant worrying, a sense of dread and difficulty concentrating. It may come in waves or be consistently in the background and although there is no one size fits all ‘cure’, there are some great ways to manage symptoms so lets explore those along with which yoga activities could help.

  • Yoga – This form of exercise gets us to focus on breathing, stretching and relaxing. It is also so diverse in styles that we can chose what we need from a practice each time we get on the mat. Some people enjoy a soothing and gentle approach that includes a meditation to close the practice, others find a quicker flow more beneficial, finding that standing or sitting still worsens worrisome thoughts and overthinking. So explore how you feel and what you need at that moment.
  • Journaling – Keep a journal* of how you feel each day, do certain social encounters trigger thoughts or feelings? Do you feel happy when up in the morning? And what activities help? This way you can start to identify ways to manage your anxiety and how you can help yourself.
  • Change perspective – If a certain situation or upcoming event is causing you worry or distress, try to look at the bigger picture, when we feel anxious we tend to hone in on the tiny details instead of the whole situation which if we allow it could have a negative impact on your mind, leading you to believe things are much worse than they really are.
  • Find comfort – If things feel too overwhelming and you just can’t do today, don’t be hard on yourself, be kind, surround yourself with items of comfort such as favourite blankets, hot soups, old jumpers, things that make you feel calm.

  • Talk it out – Reaching out to someone about how you feel really does help, this can take many forms, counselling, a friend or relative or maybe even your hairdresser. Just saying your feeling anxious out loud can help you process what to do and how to help yourself, you might be surprised by how many other people are feeling the same way, they may even have some great advice.

All the above tips are fantastic at coping with anxiety in your day to day life but what can we do in the moment when anxiety has taken hold and we don’t have time to roll out the mat and prepare for it.

  1. Box breathing – Inhale slowly though the nose to the count of 4, hold the breath at the top to the count of 4 and release through the mouth to the count of 4. Repeat for 1-3 rounds or until the breathing slows.
  2. Use your senses – Look around you, what 5 things can you hear, see, smell, feel or taste. Distract your mind to the environment around you.
  3. Question yourself – Try to analyse why you are feeling panicked? What is the worst that could happen? What other options do you have?
  4. Play music – Have a playlist on your phone, something you know will calm your mood or has lyrics you can focus repeating.
  5. Think ahead – Think about something in the future that you are looking forward to, a nice dinner that evening, a holiday or reading another page in your current book.

At some point in all our lives we experience anxiety or stress, the level of anxiety will vary from person to person but one thing is for sure, there are ways to control and manage anxiety even if it does feel out of control right now.

Know that there is help and advice to anyone that wants or needs it, you do not have to cope alone.

Love & Light to all.

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Emma Mills

Emma is a 200hr qualified yoga teacher, specialising in Hatha Yoga and breathwork, aside from this she has completed many CPD yoga courses and recently completed a 'flexibility workshop'.

She is currently teaching voluntarily online and being inclusive to every student is always at the forefront of her mind when setting up a class.

Using social media and the discovery of Instagram she has been able to reach out and share the joys of practicing yoga with many other likeminded people.