Simple Exercise to Help with Anxiety, Panic, Fear, Anger and Overwhelm

This is a very effective exercise that helps to relax the mind by slowing your thoughts down and shifting – or diverting – your focus away from unpleasant internal struggles you may experience.

You are going to be using 3 senses:

1: Sight (peripheral vision)

2: Hearing

3: Touch

You can do the exercise speaking out loud or silently.

Do not worry if you find the exercise difficult at first, it will get easier with practice. It is the doing of it that is important – not being good at it. If you lose the thread at any point, just start again.

Here goes:

Sit or lie in a comfortable position and fix your gaze on a certain object in the room. Start by noticing what you can see in your peripheral vision.

Here is an example of what you might say to yourself:-

I can see –
My coffee mug on the table
The plant on the shelf
A magazine

I can hear –
Children’s voices
Raindrops on the window
A car driving past

I can feel –
My left forearm resting on the sofa cushion
The heel of my right foot pressing against the wooden slats of the table
Strands of my hair lightly resting on my shoulders

I can see –
A white armchair
A framed photograph on the wall
A brightly painted wooden chest on the floor

I can hear –
The whine of my neighbour’s vacuum cleaner downstairs
A car door slamming
The hum of the fridge

I can feel –
The silver bracelet on my wrist
My tongue touching the inside of my lower teeth
A light draft coming from an open window in the bedroom

I can see –
The headphones on the desk

I can hear –
My breathing

I can feel –
My left thumb touching my index finger.

(Continue as necessary)

This exercise takes a lot of concentration which is why it works so well. You might find it gets harder to find the words as you go on as your brain (and breathing) slows down and you feel yourself relaxing.

This is a portable exercise that you can do wherever you like such as in bed, in the car (as a passenger), on the train, in a quiet place at work etc. Do it whenever you feel you are struggling. It is especially effective if you are susceptible to panic attacks.

If the place you are doing the exercise is very quiet, you may have to repeat the same sounds but that is not a problem.

‘Feel’ is fascinating as you are not moving and will notice tiny sensations.

NLP Visualisation Exercise to Help Reduce Anxious Feelings

If you are feeling anxious, panicky or overwhelmed, you may find the following relaxation exercise helpful. You might like to ask someone to guide you through the exercise if you find visualisation difficult:-

Get comfortable, close your eyes, and take 3 deep breaths. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly.

Think about where the anxiety is in your body and locate it. Does it have a shape? Does it have a colour? Does it have a texture? What temperature is it? Is it cold, cool, warm, hot? How big is it? Is it moving or is it still? Is it stiff or flexible? Is it light or heavy?

Whereabouts in your body are you feeling the anxiety? Guide your consciousness to the area. Is it in your throat? Your shoulders? Your chest? Your stomach? Your abdomen? Is the anxiety in more than one area of your body?

What is surrounding the anxiety in your body? How does it feel? What colour is it? Is it clear or murky? Clean or dirty? What temperature is it? Is it moving or is it still?

If the area surrounding the anxious shape is angry and stressful and has a colour and a temperature, imagine pouring cool water or liquid into it to dilute it. Fade the colour. Change the temperature. (I have suggested liquid. However, your mind’s eye may give you a different image.)

If the anxious shape persists and resists, imagine moving it around and rotating it. If it is solid, imagine loosening it. Pour on more liquid – or whatever comes to your mind – and repeat the above. Breathe deeply. Take your time.

See the anxious shape slowly dissolving as the area that surrounds it washes over it, enveloping it, making it smaller and weaker and fading the colour until only calm remains where the anxious feeling once was.

And imagine waves of calm expanding into and filling the area where the anxiety was. Take 4 deep breaths, inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly.

If the image of the anxiety has sharp edges, imagine blunting and softening the sharp edges. Visualise the image getting smaller and weaker and fading in colour as the area surrounding it gently dissolves it.

You may experience new, strange, anxious feelings where the old anxious feelings once were.

You will now need to fill these areas with new energy.

Take 5 deep breaths and imagine a bright golden ball of light gently spinning and vibrating above the top of your head, radiating and shining warmth onto you. Make it as big and as bright as you want.

The golden ball of light slowly comes down into you through the top of your head, down your neck and into your shoulders, gently vibrating, filling and melting into the space where the anxious feelings once were. Imagine that when you breathe in you are taking in its energy.

The golden light now becomes brighter and brighter and the vibrations become stronger and stronger. As you breathe out, imagine that all the anxiety is expelled from your body. Then feel the golden warmth slowly melting into your shoulders, down your upper arms, into your elbows, down into your forearms, through your wrists, into your hands and out through your fingertips.

You feel the warmth of the golden light penetrating your core as it settles into each part of your body. And you can relax as you feel its soothing sensations massaging your body, feeling secure that the golden ball of light will reach every part of you.

Then imagine the golden ball changing to a beautiful golden, warm, orange colour, giving you feelings of safety, calm, peace and tranquillity. The glowing ball very gently travels back up your body and melts into your chest, your stomach and your abdomen, filling the void where your anxious feelings once were. Then the golden orange ball moves into your back, down your thighs, into your knees, down your calves, through your ankles, into your feet and out through your toes. You can trust the golden orange ball of light knows exactly where to go and what to do.

When you are ready, take 5 deep breaths. When you exhale, know that you are exhaling all the old unhelpful feelings. Then slowly count from 5 to 1, open your eyes, stretch and yawn, feeling refreshed, energised and serene with a strong sense of well-being.

This is a useful tool to help you relax at any time. With the help of the techniques mentioned above you’ll be able to help yourself in taking control of your anxiety.

If you find it hard to get into a relaxed state, it sometimes helps to count down from 5 – 1 and tell yourself on each count that you are becoming more relaxed.

Stay with this practice, do it often and be as patient as you can. The more you do it the easier it will become and the more effective it will be.