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Easing An Anxious Mind

An anxious mind is a strong, and powerful mind, as anyone who has tried to rationalize their way out of anxiety will likely tell you. The way anxiety grips us and completely controls our ruminating thoughts, eclipsing any clarity and peace of mind we previously had, is suffocating to say the least. Feelings of anxiety, which commonly include uneasiness, dread, fear, or in sense of impending doom, can all be deeply unpleasant and manifest themselves into physical sensations like an upset stomach, heart palpitations, nervous tension, or even a panic attack.

Clinica anxiety can be all-consuming, but fortunately, there are people out there that can help. My name is Dr. Shea Kamlet, and I specialize in counseling individuals as well as couples. To learn more about me and my services, which include Hakomi therapy and mindfulness and meditation, give me a call today!

What Kind of Anxiety Are We Talking About?

In this blog, we won’t be discussing general, everyday anxiety, which tends to be easier to get ahold of — we are talking about clinical anxiety, the kind of anxiety that can be debilitating. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety is “persistent and excessive worry” where individuals can lose rational perspective and “expect the worse, even when there is no apparent reason for concern."

Take Some Very Deep Breathes

Okay, I know you’ve heard this one before, and might have rolled your eyes at reading it. But, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t effective — in other words, there is a reason why it is one of the first things that people recommend doing when others are feeling overwhelmed. When we become anxious, our breath becomes rapid and shallow, increasing our heart rate and blood pressure, and therefore increasing our anxiety. Deep belly breaths help decrease anxiety by stimulating your body’s relaxation response, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.

There are plenty of breathing techniques you can try, like deeply inhaling for a count of four, holding your breath for a count of four, and then exhaling for a count of four.

Stay in the Present

Most, if not all, of our anxiety comes from worrying about what will happen in the future, whether it’s five minutes in the future, five days, five months, or five years. Anxiety is a future-oriented state of the mind that yanks us out of the moment we are physically in and throws our vulnerable minds somewhere in the cosmic debris of the unseen future. Reminding yourself to stay in the present moment is hard and takes consistent practice, but grounding yourself in the here and now is one of the best ways to combat this. Look around and take note of where you are. What do you see? What can you touch and feel? This practice can be enhanced by pairing it with deep breaths.

Relax Your Body

When we start to go into an anxious overdrive, our body starts to tense up. For many people, muscles in their back and shoulders begin to constrict, which they may not even notice. Practicing progressive muscle relaxation can help calm you down and center yourself. This may be best lying down since you’ll likely be in a safe environment where you can completely relax, but can also be done at your desk at other public places. Start at your toes and move your way up your body, telling yourself to release each part of your body until you get to your head.

Get Some Fresh Air

Going for a walk outside is one of the best remedies for calming an anxious mind, both immediately and long-term. Going for a walk creates a diversion from your worries and releases muscle tension. Not to mention, some fresh air can help clear your mind and actually makes you feel better. I recommend taking some of your walks without music, but listening to music does bring its own calming effects.

Practice Mindfulness

When we start to get sucked in our thoughts, we may begin to react to them or identify with them. Your thoughts will always be there, and while we can practice until our thoughts are kind and positive, they still aren’t you, and you aren’t your thoughts. Rather, practice observing your thoughts rather than letting them draw you in and absorbing your energy. Is there a way you can untangle yourself from your thoughts? It helps if you acknowledge them for what they are, and maybe even label them if you can. Avoid giving your thoughts too much attention, though, and allow them to pass.


Even small, five-minute meditations can be a huge benefit in calming an anxious mind and putting an end to obtrusive ruminating thoughts. Studies show that with regular meditation practice, you can develop better skills to better manage anxiety and stress, not to mention, cultivate peace of mind. There are plenty of apps that you can try, or you can go to YouTube and search "quick, guided meditations."

Distract Yourself

Distraction techniques or anything that redirects your attention away from distressing thoughts or emotions can be an effective method. They work because your brain cannot be in two places at once, and shifting your attention to any activity will interrupt a string of racing thoughts. Your distractions could include placing your hands under cool water or drawing on a piece of paper.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of ways to help keep your anxiety and stress in check, like eating stress-fighting foods and spending time in nature, but sometimes, we find ourselves defenseless against our own minds. No matter how bad your anxiety gets, always remember that there are people there to help you. I am proud to offer individual therapy in Denver both in-person and online. Please reach out to me if you would like to learn more about my services and would like to schedule an appointment.