How Can I Calm Down My Anxiety in the Moment?

In the fast-paced and demanding world we live in, anxiety has become an almost inevitable companion for many. If you are one of the many, you likely want relief and you want it now, perhaps even in search of an anxiety therapist near me in Simi Valley.

Whether triggered by work pressures, social situations, or personal challenges, the overwhelming nature of anxiety can make it difficult to navigate everyday life. At Simi Psychological Group, we understand that learning how to calm anxiety in the moment is a crucial skill that can greatly improve emotional well-being.

In this blog, we explore a variety of techniques and strategies to help you regain control and find serenity in the midst of anxiety.

Mindful Breathing Techniques

One of the most effective ways to calm anxiety in the moment is through mindful breathing. This technique involves focusing your attention on your breath, bringing awareness to each inhale and exhale.

Deep, slow breaths activate the body’s relaxation response, reducing the physiological symptoms of anxiety. Try inhaling for a count of four, holding for four, and exhaling for six. This not only helps regulate your breath but also redirects your focus away from anxious thoughts.

Grounding Exercises

Grounding exercises are designed to bring your attention back to the present moment, preventing your mind from wandering into anxious territory. One simple grounding technique involves using your senses in an exercise known as the 5-4-3-2-1 method.

To practice this technique, identify five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. This sensory exploration helps anchor you in the here and now, breaking the cycle of anxious thoughts.

Positive Affirmations

Often anxiety is triggered or exacerbated by negative thoughts. How often have you had thoughts like, “What’s wrong with me? Why does everyone else seem to have it together?” or worse? Challenging negative thoughts with positive affirmations is one way to interrupt that pattern.

A woman peacefully sitting on a log amidst the serene woods, surrounded by nature's beauty.

Create a list of affirmations that resonate with you and repeat them when anxiety strikes. Remind yourself of your strengths, past successes, and the transient nature of the current situation. Affirmations shift your mindset, fostering a more positive and empowered outlook, which can help alleviate anxiety.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a systematic technique that involves tensing and then gradually releasing different muscle groups. This process promotes physical relaxation, which in turn signals the brain that it’s safe to calm down. Start from your toes and work your way up, paying attention to the sensations in each muscle group. This method not only eases physical tension but also distracts your mind from anxious thoughts. In Simi Valley, our team of anxiety therapists near you are also able to practice this technique with you directly.


Visualization or guided imagery is all about using your imagination. Imagining a peaceful and calming scene can transport your mind away from the source of anxiety. Close your eyes and visualize a serene place – a beach, a forest, a meadow, or anywhere you might feel at peace.  Engage all your senses in this mental image, paying attention to the details. What colors do you see?  What does the air feel like> What smells are in the air? What do you hear around you? What does the ground under you feel like? And so on.

Visualization creates a mental escape, allowing you to detach from immediate stressors and find a moment of tranquility.

If you find this difficult to do on your own, there are also many apps or online programs with already recorded guided imagery exercises, where a gentle voice guides you through the visualization. Whether anxious or not, incorporating visualization and guided imagery is helpful for all.

Mindful Acceptance

Rather than fighting against anxious thoughts, practice mindful acceptance. Acknowledge the presence of anxiety without judgment. Understand that it is a normal human experience and that it will pass.

Using the phrase, “I notice that I’m having the thought that…” can be a way of acknowledging the anxiety or the anxious thoughts that are present without letting them take over, allowing you to observe your thoughts without becoming entangled in them.

When you practice distancing but mindfully accepting your thoughts and emotions rather than trying to resist them altogether, which, let’s face it, generally just doesn’t work, you can reduce the intensity of anxiety.

Social Connection and Taking a Social Media Break

With technology all around us these days and the ease with which we can disappear behind a screen, it’s easy to get swallowed up, becoming more disconnected and isolated. If you’re struggling with anxiety, lack of connection and overuse of social media only exacerbate the issue.

A woman enjoying a cup of coffee while seated at a table.

Instead, try reaching out to a trusted friend or family member when anxiety strikes. Sharing your feelings with someone you trust not only provides emotional support but also offers a different perspective on the situation. Social connection is a powerful antidote to anxiety, reminding you that you’re not alone and that help is available.

For additional tips on managing anxiety in the modern world, check out our blog Navigating Anxiety in the Modern Landscape: 8 Strategies for 2023.

Time Management

Anxiety often arises from feeling overwhelmed by tasks and deadlines. Effective time management can help prevent these feelings from escalating. Break down tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, prioritize them, and create a realistic schedule. A structured plan reduces the uncertainty contributing to anxiety, allowing you to approach challenges with greater confidence.

Physical Exercise

Engaging in physical activity is a natural way to reduce anxiety. Exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters, and promotes better sleep, which is crucial for managing anxiety. Even a short walk or a few minutes of stretching can make a significant difference in calming your mind and body.

Limit Stimulants and Practice Self-Care

Caffeine and sugar can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Consider reducing your intake of stimulants, especially in the evening. Additionally, prioritize self-care activities such as adequate sleep, a balanced diet, and activities that bring you joy. Taking care of your physical well-being creates a foundation for emotional resilience.

For a list of what not to do for anxiety (hint: over caffeinating and ignoring self-care is on the list), check out our blog 14 Things Not to do if you Have Anxiety.

Calming anxiety in the moment is a multifaceted process that involves both physical and mental strategies. By incorporating techniques such as mindful breathing, grounding exercises, positive affirmations, and visualization, you can regain control over your thoughts and emotions. Additionally, embracing social connections, practicing time management, engaging in physical exercise, and prioritizing self-care contribute to a holistic approach to anxiety management. Remember, finding what works best for you may involve some trial and error, so be patient with yourself as you navigate the journey to a calmer and more centered state of mind.

If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety or other mental health concerns, please contact Simi Psychological Group today. Our team of therapists is here to support you. We treat individuals, couples, adults, teens, and children on a wide variety of issues, including depression ,trauma and grief counseling in Simi Valley. Reach out today for a free consultation at (805) 842-1994.