5 Simple Steps to Ease Your Anxiety

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Have you ever experienced a “brain freeze?” In other words, maybe you have experienced your mind going “blank” on the task at hand due to anxious thoughts. Perhaps this has happened in the middle of an exam or work presentation. You have adequately prepared only to find that the anxiety in your mind is preventing you from remembering certain facts.

When anxious thoughts begin to interrupt our minds, our nervous system becomes affected, impacting higher order brain functions including planning, abstract thought, decision making.

When anxious thoughts or panic strike, sometimes you don’t have the ability to take a break to “collect yourself”. The best part about grounding exercises is that no one has to know what you are doing! You can be on the brink of caving into all those negative thoughts and shift your focus entirely. It is an active process and helps us feel in control when anxious thoughts do the opposite.

Begin with Breathing. The importance of the Breath.

We hear this all the time. But why is the breath so important? Aren’t we breathing all the time?

Breathing correctly to ease anxious thoughts is crucial in bringing the nervous system back as quickly as possible to an equilibrium that enables these brain functions you need to thrive.

This breathing exercise helps regulate the nervous system and is something you can incorporate whenever, wherever. It has been associated with improved sleep, improved heart health, decrease in anxiety and depression, and immediate stress relief.

Square Breathing (box Breathing) in 5 simple steps:

It is helpful to imagine that you are drawing a square in your mind or an “air square” in coordination with your breath. You can also draw a square with your finger in the air to mimic the steps.

  1. Inhale through the nose for a count of 4, filling the lungs completely by extending your belly (first side of the square)
  2. Hold the breath for a count of 4 (second side of the square)
  3. Exhale through the mouth for a count of 4, releasing all the air out of the lungs by pushing the belly out (third side of the square)
  4. Rest while holding the lungs in an empty state for a count of 4 (fourth side of the square)
  5. Repeat for 2-3 minutes.

It would sound like this:

 “In, two, three, four.

Hold, two, three, four.

Out, two three, four.

Rest, two, three, four.”

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About Me

I am a licensed therapist in the state of California with a master’s degree in social work from UCLA.