When anxiety strikes, it can take over your entire being, often causing you to spiral into negative thoughts you feel like you can’t control. Before you let that spiraling go too far though, know there are ways to get anxiety under control in just a few short minutes. These simple techniques will have you feeling better before you know it.

Take deep breaths

Taking slow, deep breaths is a great way to keep anxiety from getting the best of you. Deep breathing diminishes anxiety by helping the body move from its physical fight-or-flight response to a more relaxed state. It often helps to count your breaths to stay focused.

Deep breathing diminishes anxiety by helping the body move from its physical fight-or-flight response to a more relaxed state.

With this deep breathing exercise, make sure you completely fill your stomach with air when you inhale, hold it in for a moment or two, then exhale, slowly letting all the air out.

Visualize something calming

Visualizations are a great meditative practice that can quickly ease anxiety by refocusing your attention away from your anxious thoughts.  Visualize soft waves rolling onto a beach. Visualize yourself lying in the grass watching clouds pass in the sky. Pick something that your brain automatically recognizes as soothing.

Photo Courtesy: [Unknown/PeakPx]
Now, place each negative emotion on a wave or a cloud, and allow them to easily float away, just like that. Usually, we place judgment on our emotions, telling ourselves they are good, bad, correct, or incorrect, and this can worsen anxiety. Allowing the emotions to simply exist is much more effective.

Say positive things to yourself

Anxiety is all about negative emotions planting themselves into your mental space. You can easily handle those negative thoughts by allowing positive ones to enter as well. Your anxiety might be leading you to think something like, “I’m never going to be successful because it’s just too hard.” Saying something positive to yourself to counter that, such as, “I am intelligent and hard-working and fully capable of success” will help to re-situate your mind.

Keep some general phrases handy at all times so that you can battle your anxiety with positivity. It can also help to tap on your chest while saying positive things aloud to yourself so that you really drive the message home to your brain and kick that anxiety to the curb.

Evaluate your thoughts

Using a logical line of thinking to combat anxious thoughts can really help to put things into perspective.

Anxiety tends to cause people to think a lot of unrealistic things are likely to happen, when the truth is, your mind is playing tricks on you. It helps to take those thoughts, one by one, and consider them more seriously. Ask yourself if the things you are thinking are realistic? Is it likely these out-there outcomes you’re imagining will come to pass? If they did, what’s the worst outcome overall? Is it actually that bad? Would you be able to handle it?

Using a logical line of thinking to combat anxious thoughts can really help to put things into perspective. Most of the time, you will quickly realize that you have gotten carried away in negative thoughts that have little basis in reality. In the event that your anxiety is founded, even then it will be easier to realize that you will be okay no matter what happens.

Watch something funny

They say laughter is the best medicine for a reason. Finding some way to get yourself laughing is an effective way of managing attacks of anxiety. Not only will your body change from a tense state to a relaxed one physically, but you’ll be diverting your attention to something else for a bit.

When you do come back from the funny thing you were watching, your mind will be better equipped to deal with it. So, in the event of an overload of anxious thoughts, queue up a funny video as soon as you can, and your anxiety will dissipate in no time.

A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:

Mind Games — Top Psychologists Rely On These 5 Tricks To Stay Happy!” – Living101
These five simple tips will help to keep your spirits up. 

“Mindfulness meditation mends mild cognitive impairment” – Science101
Keep your brain from cognitive decline with mindful meditation.