A few techniques to feel less anxious

Someone writing in a journal while holding a cup of coffee

It is mental health month in October, so it is a great time to normalise and talk about feeling anxious.

Like probably a lot of you reading this, I occasionally can feel anxious, worried, and overwhelmed with a certain task, or the world in general. You might feel like you can’t breathe, or can’t get out of the bed in the morning, or a million negative thoughts might be racing through your mind.

This is all normal, and your feelings are completely valid. However, if you want to try and calm your anxiety down, there are a few techniques I use that have been really helpful for me.

  • Breathing exercises: Close your eyes and try and focus on your breathing. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 6 seconds, breathe out for 8 seconds. Or, you don't even need to count, just slow down your breathing and try and think about something that makes you feel calm.
  • Counting: This technique is as simple as counting to 10, 50, or 100. Just keep on counting until your brain is distracted enough to calm you down.
  • Colours: Look around the room and name three things that are the colour blue. Then, three things that are the colour green. How about yellow? Or brown? Acknowledging your atmosphere can help direct your attention on colours and objects instead of your anxious thoughts.
  • Journaling: Writing out all your negative feelings can be really beneficial for your mental health. If there is something in particular that is making you feel anxious, write it down! I have written another article on how to start journaling, so you can check out that article if you want to try this technique.
  • Senses: Name five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, one thing you can taste. Similar to the the colours technique, this can help you focus on your other feelings rather than your anxiety. Feel your feet grounded on the floor, listen to music, or let a friend ramble about and interest or story to distract you.

Please note, I am not a mental health professional. These tips have worked for me, but might not work for everyone. If you are struggling with anxiety or your mental health at all, do not be afraid to ask for help and contact a professional. Click here for the University’s counselling and mental health support service.

Hopefully one of these techniques can help make you feel a little bit less anxious and more grounded. But just remember, if you are struggling or even just contemplating whether to ask for help or not, ask. No matter if it is a professional, your teacher, friend, or family member; your mental health is so important and your feelings are completely valid. You can do this.

Tagged in What messes with your head, mental health, mental health month, anxiety