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  • Writer's pictureSamantha

From Chaos to Calm

Anxiety and panic attacks can be debilitating – there is a feeling of a complete loss of control. The more out of control you feel, the more the situation spirals. It may feel like there is nothing you are able to do to calm yourself down and settle those chaotic emotions. There are some techniques you can practice which will help to instantly calm you down.

1. Grounding techniques

This type of exercise helps you to focus on the here and now, it distracts you away from those anxious feelings, places you back in control and gives you space to settle.

One of these techniques is using a form of visualisation:

Look around and…

Name 5 things you can see

Name 4 things you can feel

Name 3 things you can hear

Name 2 things you can smell

Name 1 thing you can taste

How does this work? It helps you to focus on the present moment and brings you back to your surroundings.

Another grounding technique is using your imagination to leave the anxious feelings behind:

Imagine gathering all your emotions up and placing them in your fist and putting them in a box, locking the box away or throwing the box away these emotions are no longer of use to you.


Imagine that at the other side of a large fire is your anxiety (in the form of something or someone you don’t like very much). This could be a TV character who is not very likeable. There is a tug of war rope between you and your anxiety. The anxiety starts to pull you into the fire, so you pull back hard and let go of the rope and release your anxiety into the fire.

2. Breathing Techniques

Slowing the breath is a way of triggering a “relaxation response” in the brain. A study by Yu-Jeng Ju & Yunn-Wein Lien (2016) found that focused breathing reduces mind wandering, thought intrusion and helps block unwanted thoughts.

If you practice this style of breathing it stimulates the vagus nerve, especially during a long exhalation this then moves you towards a more restful state.

Ratio breathing or 4-7-8 breathing

Place a hand on your tummy and another on your chest

Count to 4 as you take slow deep breath in

Hold your breath for 7 counts

Breathe out for 8 counts – emptying the lungs of air

Repeat this process until the body begins to relax and settle

Box Breathing

Imagine a box and trace around the box:

Breathe in for 4 – imagine drawing the left side of the box

Hold for 4 – imagine drawing the top of the box

Breathe out for 4 – imagine drawing the right side of the box

Hold for 4 – imagine drawing the bottom of the box

Another breathing method is imagining you have a balloon in your belly:

Each time you breathe in the balloon inflates and each time you breathe out the balloon deflates. The abdomen rising with the in breath and falling with the out breath.

Try these simple techniques to help with panic and anxiety.

Or, if you feel you need further help please contact me.


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