7 Ways To Decrease Your Anxiety Right Now

Written by Jenifer Brougham, LICSW

7 Exercises For Immediate

Anxiety Relief Anywhere Anytime


Using your senses of sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste is a quick and powerful way to bring your attention back to the moment and give your mind a break from your anxiety-evoking thoughts.

Below are several exercises to consider.



Identify the Following:

  • 5 Things You Can See- Look for small details, such as a pattern or object you have never noticed or wouldn't typically notice.
  • 4 Things You Can Feel- Feel the sun or wind on your skin. Feel the texture of your clothing, or pick up an object and observe its weight. 
  • 3 Things You Can Hear- Pay attention to sounds your mind has tuned out, such as a clock ticking or distant traffic. 
  • 2 Things You Can Smell- Notice any faint smells you can identify or look around for something with a scent, such as a flower or an unlit candle.
  • 1 Thing You Can Taste- If you have a drink or a snack, try it and think about how it tastes. If not, imagine the taste of something you find yummy. 


Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands slowly while paying close attention to everything about the experience by asking yourself some of the following questions:

  • What's the temperature of the water like? 
  • How does the water flowing over your hands feel? 
  • What sound does the water make as you move your hands under the flow?
  • What does the soap smell like? 
  • What does the soap feel like on your hands?

Many people find this exercise very helpful when they are experiencing anxiety in a social setting because you can easily excuse yourself to use the restroom to perform this exercise and regain control over your emotions.


Splash Water on Your Face or Take a Shower or Bath


Using your mind is an equally powerful way to give your mind a break from your anxiety-evoking thoughts.

Below are several exercises to consider.


Orient Yourself 

Say the following to yourself out loud or silently:

  • My name is (fill in the blank)
  • My age is (fill in the blank)
  • My date of birth is (fill in the blank)
  • Right now, I am in (city, state, country)
  • I am at (home, restaurant, etc.)
  • It is (fill in the blank) o'clock
  • The weather is (fill in the blank)


Use Your Imagination

Your mind can respond to imagined 'things' as powerfully as it does the 'real thing.' 

Deliberately think of a happy time in your life, and imagine every detail you can about the experience. Who were you with? What was the weather like? What smells were present? How did you feel at that time? 


Imagine something that would make you happy and safe. Think about every detail as if the experience was currently happening. For some, that might be as simple as imagining being in the woods on a beautiful day beside a babbling brook. For others, that might be riding on a unicorn over a rainbow. Imagine anything you want, but make sure you are as detailed as possible. 


Focus On Your Breath

Take a slow and deep deliberate breath in through your nose, while directing the air flow to your belly and attempting to restrict your chest from rising. This forces the air to your diaphragm which sends your brain a signal that everything's 'okay.' Then breathe out slowly through your mouth or nose. Do this several times until you feel more centered and calm. If you find your mind wandering back to negative thoughts while doing this exercise, bring your attention back to your breath by focusing on the sounds and feeling of deep breathing.


Practice Compassion

Imagine what you would say and how you would act toward a friend who was suffering like you are. Then, say those things to yourself. Such as, "It's no wonder you're feeling frightened or worried." Or "It's not as bad as it seems." This can be especially helpful if you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk about a situation.

Try all of the exercises listed above to find one that works well for you. And remember, grounding requires practice to work effectively because when we become stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, accessing a resource, such as grounding, is very challenging if we have yet to habituate it.

To learn about anxiety or find out if the anxiety you might be experiencing might need therapeutic intervention, click here.

Need Help Determining if You Might Benefit from Professional Help?

Female Skills Based Therapist for Anxiety and Overwhelm, Women's Counselor, Anxiety Therapist Alabama, Anxiety Therapist Florida, Skills Based

About The Author

Jenifer Brougham is a licensed independent social worker and co-founder of ReasonThink, LLC. When she’s not serving her clients, she geeks out on board games, spends time with family and friends, and obsesses over all things productivity.