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Anxiety is one of the most common mental health illnesses that nearly 1 in 5 people experience. Over the years, I’ve learned a few good techniques in therapy that have really helped me. 

Cold Surfaces

A few years ago, I was telling a therapist about how I felt an anxiety attack coming on at work. She told me one thing I could do to try and stop an anxiety attack is to go outside if it’s cold (or even in a freezer) and the cold can help “reset” your body.

5,4,3,2,1 Technique

One of the first methods I learned about was the 5,4,3,2,1 technique. This is one of the most common methods used. You identify 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and something you can taste. This technique helps take your mind off of the anxiety by having to think about what you see, hear, smell, or feel. Saying these things out loud can also help take your mind off things.

Deep Breathing Exercises

When having an anxiety or a panic attack, your heart rate goes up. When your heart rate goes up, your breathing goes up as well. By slowing your breaths down, this will help bring your heart rate down and over time help you calm down. Try inhaling for 5 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds, then exhale.

Talk to a Friend

Sometimes talking to a friend during an anxiety attack can help bring a person down. During an anxiety attack, talking your feelings out to someone you trust can help to bring you down. Whether it be a family member, a close friend, or a therapist.


Studies have shown that anxiety and depression symptoms can be relieved with exercise. Whether it be a 30-minute walk, riding a bike, or going for a run. Yoga and meditation can also help to alleviate anxiety.

Practicing Positive Self-Talk

Practice positive self-talk. When having an anxiety attack, one of the most important things you can do is to remind yourself that everything is going to be okay, and you are stronger than your anxiety. Remind yourself that you have gone through this and can get through it again.

Keep a Journal

Personally, I find this method one of the most effective. Having a journal (or even an online journal) to write about your feelings during an anxiety attack can help to relieve the anxiety. Writing your feelings out can help bring you down in the moment or can be helpful when looking back at what may have caused the anxiety attack.

I hope that some of these methods can help either you or a friend who lives with an anxiety disorder.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania '21 - Hospitality Management & Psychology - Phi Eta Sigma - Eta Sigma Delta - CMAA
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