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3 Tips to Calm Anxiety

Photo by Manuel Galrinho

Periodically, I find myself feeling nervous for no apparent reason, or sometimes for a reason, at which point my mind will create stories to instill fear and worry into my being. My stomach would tighten up and when observed closely, I could feel myself breathing shallowly. It is so easy to to fall into that state once it starts.

Your mind is so powerful. It is so easy to be unconscious. But you know deep down that you are in control and that you can switch out of that state in an instant: the instant you decide to feel joy and refuse to believe in your mind created story, which is no longer serving you.

Three powerful questions to ask your self at any point:

  1. Am I breathing?
  2. Am I relaxed?
  3. Am I moving with grace? (If you are walking)

I picked up this beautifully simple yet effective technique from Dan Millman. The beauty of this technique is that, we can consciously and fully focus on one thing at a time, and so when you have 3 things to focus on, you will be thinking less of your problems, your worries, your stories.

I’ve used this simple technique in my photography work to help my subjects relax, and I’ve suggested it to friends they are buried in worries. It’s very effective.

Suggested book: Way of the Peaceful Warrior, No Ordinary Moments: A peaceful warrior’s guide to daily life

I’ve read both books, and they have brought peace into my life. Peace and better understanding of myself. If you only pick up one copy, get the first one, it was one of the core books that changed me for the better. I hope they will contribute into the wellbeing of your soul as did mine.

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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23 thoughts on 3 Tips to Calm Anxiety

  1. Amazingly Powerful! In the last couple weeks, I have been enduring some tense relationships and moments at work. I find myself floating through the days, unable to focus. It really is amazing how often we forget to breathe, and how deeply that affects your state of mind. This advice really helped me; I have posted a note front and center on my computer screen that asks “Are you relaxed? Are you breathing?” to remind myself to bring my focus back to the moment.

  2. I have also found that your posture is very related to your ability to breath fully. When I am slouching in my chair at work, my stomach is crushed and I am only breathing shallowly through my lungs, not taking full breaths. However, when I focussed, relaxed and in the moment, such as when I am with my girlfriend, I rarely ever slouch without thinking. Change your physical nature to change your mental clarity!

  3. I’m a Millman fan, too. Great post. I love your blog.

  4. Thanks so much for your support and readership! Have a beautiful week!

  5. Thank you so much for this website. It really helps remind me to live with more meaning and peace. I admire your spirit. ~miguel

  6. Tina,

    Found your post as a fellow blogger in the Carnival of Positive Thinking.

    Thank you for the reminder and affirmation. I needed to hear this again. My simple mind needs to keep things simple, and you’ve reminded me to act, not react.

  7. JD

    What’s interesting is the distinction between stress and anxiety. Stress can really help your performance if anxiety doesn’t get in the way.

    One of the fastest ways I’ve found to eliminate anxiety is to change the focus. I change focus by changing the question — for example, what’s the most resourceful thing I could do in this scenario? … or what would a great outcome look like? … etc.

  8. Paige

    Thank you for sharing. I will be passing this along to friends.

    I also found this http://www.transworldynamics.com/content/view/39/18/
    It’s about PASSION AND PURPOSE and I think it goes with your post.

  9. I have also found that your posture is very related to your ability to breath fully. When I am slouching in my chair at work, my stomach is crushed and I am only breathing shallowly through my lungs, not taking full breaths.

  10. Thanks for the post. Simple and effective ideas.

    I used to spend so much time looking for ways to deal with the external elements that I thought were causing me anxiety in my world. Funnily enough, it wasn’t very productive because every time I’d solve one, another one would pop up.

    It wasn’t until I realised that things could only cause me anxiety if I focussed on them, that things started to really change. Instead of trying to find ways to overcome every external issue, I just stopped focussing on them and started focussing on internal elements, just like you suggested.

    The difference? I wouldn’t say I don’t get anxiety any more but it’s definitely not anywhere near what it used to be.

    Thanks for the tips!

  11. High levels of anxiety can be exponentially threatening to the peace of mind, incipiently appearing when something unfamiliar and discomforting interferes into the generic flow of thoughts. People may face anxiety modelled individually that rattles their cores of current existence. In my case, my thoughts become jittery, and also complying to your states of ‘shallow breathing’, at times, they’re indecisive especially during exigencies or crucial moments. At the truth, you don’t know when something completely happens out of the blue, and feel to be in the straits.

    i really share your perspective, that if more things are focused on, especially with deep resonance, it trains the mind to be active in other matters. It’s not an inconvenient distraction, but rely on those aspects to invoke healthy imperatives to move wayward.

    It’s tremendously interesting to know that the mind can be stopped into leering into the negative sides. The coaxing techniques (like doing something one loves) is very feasible. I love this part (!) –

    “Your mind is so powerful. It is so easy to be unconscious. But you know deep down that you are in control and that you can switch out of that state in an instant: the instant you decide to feel joy and refuse to believe in your mind created story, which is no longer serving you.”

  12. Cynthia

    I conquered my social anxiety.
    But I still have general anxiety, it was never as bad but I been trying to calm it by focusing on my breathing “Hey I am alive.” or Positive thinking.
    I just really hate the sensations it prevents me from enjoying myself. But, I know I am strong so…I know anyone can achieve a peak of peace once they realize they will be okay. I always try to tell myself I am okay. Whenever it strikes.

  13. Ngan

    Thank for your ideas. Acctually, I usually lose calm when I communicate with everybody, when get into serious trouble, I am truly worry about that. 3 simple questions bring about very good outcome, help me keep calm

  14. I too highly recommend both the book and the movie. Very useful to help us see what’s really in front of us more so than what we think should be in front of us.

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