4 Quick Tips to Reduce Stress and Stop Anxiety

Posted: 29th November 2017


By: Helen Wyer

4 Quick Tips to Reduce Stress and Stop Anxiety

At Christmas time we so often put ourselves under immense pressure from the build-up of the season to the actual day itself.   Stress and anxiety can creep up on us like the monster under the bed in the John Lewis advert, but these monsters don’t seem quite so friendly. They steal our sleep, sabotage our confidence and turn our stomach into knots, impacting on our general health and wellbeing. Working on stress and anxiety is a long term process, however these tried and tested techniques are quick stressbusters to get you out of that fight or flight mode quickly and into a calmer state.

Deep breathing

When we’re stressed our breath becomes shallow.  Anxiety thrives on quick shallow breathing so to do the opposite has therapeutic benefits to our bodies. Our heart rate slows, and we feel calmer.

  • First breathe all the way out to get started
  • Breathe in slowly through your nose to the count of seven, breathing right into the belly
  • Hold for two
  • Breathe out even more slowly, through your mouth, to the count of eleven
  • Continue doing this for around two minutes and notice the changes.

If this 7/11 breathing is tricky for you, try 3/5 breathing.  The exact numbers don’t matter.  What’s important is that the out breath is longer than the in breath.



Changing your physiology tricks the brain into feeling happy rather than stressed.  Try the power pose, standing feet hip width apart and hands on hips.  Look up at and to the right, visualising a calm scene.  Apparently, it’s physically impossible to cry when looking up and to the right! Then move!  The way to dispel a strong emotion is to move the body; run on the spot, jump up and down or dance.  Have your favourite dance track on your phone.  Mine is Let’s have a Kiki by Scissor Sisters but choose one which works for you.


Be in the moment

Anxiety is future driven and what we fear will happen often doesn’t.  Be in the moment.

  • Breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • Slowly look around you and find…
  • 5 things you can see – look at their shape and colour as well as what they are
  • 4 things you can touch – consider texture
  • 3 things you can hear – consider volume and pitch
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can be grateful for, however small this might be

This is called grounding.  It can help when you’ve gone too far in you head and need to get back to feeling calmer quickly.


Positive self-talk

Our brains do not process negatives like ‘don’t’.  After all, when we ask a dog to sit we don’t tell it to ‘don’t stand’ do we?  To increase emotional comfort, practice reassuring and realistic self-talk.  Try these as suggestions:

  • This feeling will pass
  • I will get through this
  • I am feeling anxious right now, but I have the power to make myself calm
  • I can feel my heart rate slowing down

If it’s easier for you, introduce calming words into your awareness such as: tranquil, calm, peaceful, relaxing, light, serenity, breeze, beach.  The last two words in the sequence describe scenery which can help us to feel calm if we can visualise that place.  It won’t be the same place for everyone; you can choose what works for you.


So these are my four top tips for when you’re feeling anxious and stressed.  Practiced regularly, you’ll notice beginning to feel more grounded and centred within yourself more quickly when stress and anxiety rear their heads.  As an NLP practitioner, I have many other tools and techniques to share.  Call 07925 628422 for a no obligation chat about how I can help.