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We all feel anxious every once in a while, especially these days in the midst of the coronavirus global pandemic. Sometimes, though, you may end up in a situation that provokes severe symptoms of anxiety.

You may wish that you could make a quick exit, but that isn’t always possible. With each passing moment, you feel your heart beating faster. You feel queasy and uncomfortable, your palms are sweaty, and you’re experiencing shortness of breath.

What can you do when you encounter these situations? Are there any secrets to dealing with anxiety in the moment when it occurs?

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Everyone’s methods for sitting with anxiety will be a little different, but there are a few helpful tactics that you can rely on.

Count Backwards to Feel Less Anxious

Sometimes, giving your brain something else to focus on is enough to lessen your anxiety. You can always try counting backward from ten.

Try to go through the numbers slowly and shift your concentration from whatever makes you feel anxious back to the counting process. This approach may not sound like a therapeutic technique, but you would be surprised at how effective it can be.

Slow Breathing and Mindfulness to Distract from Anxiety

You may find yourself in a situation where you cannot take your mind off what is happening around you. Trying to distract yourself by focusing on something else is risky or dangerous. But that does not mean you have to deal with high levels of anxiety with no remedy.

Instead, take slow, deep breaths—when we’re anxious, our breathing often becomes shallow and rapid. You may even realize that you were holding your breath.

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Repeat a Mantra to Ground Yourself through Anxiety Symptoms

Keep a mantra in your back pocket to repeat to yourself when you are in an anxiety-inducing situation. It could be something uplifting like: “Keep your chin up.” It might be something more stoic like: “Just be.” Or maybe it’s something that reminds you to keep moving forward like: “This too shall pass.”

You can repeat this to yourself—in your thought or out loud—as many times as you need to. As you may notice, this has a grounding effect and makes you feel more calm and centered.

Note Your Triggers for Anxiety 

While this may not help you in the moment anxiety happens, it will come in handy. When you’re in a situation that sends you reeling with anxiety symptoms, take a second to figure out what is setting you off.

Is it a particular person? Could it be the location? Is it one specific noise that reminds you of something else? Sometimes even familiar smells can trigger a vivid memory of a past situation that left us feeling hurt or traumatized, which can spark significant anxiety.

When you have a good idea of what triggers your anxiety, you can take steps to address this issue’s roots.

Plan Ahead to manage anxiety symptoms

One thing that sets off anxiety for many people? Being unprepared and ending up in a situation they did not adequately plan for. If you find this happening to you frequently, it may be helpful to start making it a point to do a little more planning for how you’re going to keep your anxiety under control.

Maybe you need to purchase a notebook or planner to keep track of specific vital details. You could consider using a phone reminder or alarm clock to remind you of particular tasks that need doing so you’re not rushing around.

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With some forethought, you’ll avoid plenty of anxiety-provoking situations just by being better prepared.


If you’re dealing with high levels of anxiety, you’re not alone. Rest assured, there is a path to healing. Talk therapy can help you process your anxiety and develop methods for managing your symptoms. Blue Boat Counseling offers online therapy for those struggling with anxiety living in the state of Ohio.  Contact us today to schedule an online appointment with one of our Columbus therapists. We can help you manage your anxiety.