By having a plan to deal with any anxiety you may be experiencing, you can ensure you are able to make the most of your day.

Here are some exercises that you may find useful. Don’t worry if they don’t all work for you, just focus on the ones that do. 

5 sense scan 

This exercise can distract you from the difficult emotions you are feeling. You can write them down, say it out loud or just go through each one in your head. 

Focusing on each of your senses is a simple way to distract yourself from those thoughts that may be causing your anxiety. 

Create a list of: 

5 things you can see 

4 things you can hear 

3 things you can touch 

2 things you can smell or taste 

Take 1 deep breath. 

Do you feel calmer and more present? 

STOPP exercise

Take a moment to do this quick and easy exercise which can help ground you and bring you back to the present moment. 


Stop what you are doing and just take a moment to pause. 

Take a breath

Breathe in through your nose and then slowly out through your mouth. Notice as your breath moves through your nose and releases from your mouth. 


Recognise the physical and emotional feelings you are experiencing. Are you reacting to anything? What does your body feel like? 

Pull Back 

Remove yourself from your current situation and think of the bigger picture. 
Could you look at this situation in another way? 
What would you say to a friend right now if they were going through this? 
Will you be worried about this in a month, 6 months or a year? 

Remember… this feeling will pass. You have made a great step in looking for help – be proud of that. 


Breathing exercises

Breathing exercises can be done anywhere and at any time. You don’t need any special equipment, and you can do them sitting or standing. 

Taking some deep breaths can help you to feel more relaxed. If you try one of these breathing exercises, pay attention to how you respond and stop if you feel uncomfortable or strange in any way. 

  • Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly (a few inches about the belly button) – try to breathe into the hand that is resting on your stomach.  
  • Place your hands on your lower ribs with middle fingers touching – if you are using your diaphragm, when you breathe in, the middle fingers draw away (just a few inches) from each other, and when we exhale, they touch again. 
  • Hug yourself with your hands on opposite shoulders (to stabilise the upper chest muscles and make it more difficult for them to be involved, which can help send the breath down). Three-part inhalation (you can imagine taking three breaths of air in) and long steady exhalation. If you feel that the third breath strains your shoulders, reduce it to two instead. 
Download the Take a deep breath pdf