What can I do now to calm down?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious or scared, try these simple exercises to help you calm down.

Let us know which ones work for you. If you have any other suggestions for this page, please send them to midspace@health-in-mind.org.uk.

Distract yourself

Distracting yourself from intrusive thoughts or difficult emotions can help
re-focus your mind and help you feel calm.

  • Jump up and down
  • Play some music
  • Read a book
  • Watch your favourite TV show
  • Make food
  • Slowly make a cup of non-caffeinated tea
  • Doodle on a piece of paper
  • Call a friend or family member
  • Go outside for a walk
  • Write down how you are feeling
  • Make a list of things you like
  • Sing!
  • Look at this list of smiling animals from Bored Panda

Check out a list of distraction from Get-Self-help.

Breathing exercises

Sometimes when you are feeling distressed it can cause you to become breathless. This shortness of breath can be accompanied by other physical symptoms such as sweating, faster heartbeat, feeling faint and shaking.

The following videos can guide you through simple breathing exercises that can help calm you down and relieve these symptoms.

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

Breath in through your nose and then slowly through your mouth. Notice as your breathing moving through your nose and releasing 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.


What have you done in the past that has helped you feel better? Create a wellness toolkit of activities and strategies that keep you calm. Learn more on our wellness toolkit page.

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.

 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 more calm and present?

Positive affirmations and coping statements

Using encouraging and positive statement towards yourself, you can help pull yourself out of a difficult situation.

It could be as simple as “This feeling will pass” or “I am strong, I can get through this.”

Check out our page on positive affirmations for more ideas.

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Improve your wellbeing

If you’re experiencing low mood, anxiety, or stress in your life, looking into self-help activities and ideas might be the right option for you.