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To Sam

Anxiety coping techniques

hi, i cant stop shaking when i am anxious do you have any tips on how to stay calm

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Anxiety is your body’s response to feeling threatened or stressed. And it can happen even when you’re not in any danger. Your pulse and breathing might get faster and this can feel uncomfortable, especially when it’s difficult to leave a situation like an exam or an interview. Feeling anxious is normal and there are ways to feel calmer.

Our body react to danger, stress and feeling scared by giving us a short burst of energy to protect us. When the stress or danger has passed your breathing and heart rate don’t slow down quickly and that can make you feel shaky, dizzy or sick.

Knowing what your body is doing, and why, can help you feel more in control and less frightened. As soon as you notice feeling anxious, try taking 3 or 4 slow deep breaths. Breathe in slowly to the count of 4 and out slowly to the count of 4. This will help your breathing and heart rate to slow down and help you feel calmer.

While you take slow breaths you could distract yourself from anxious thoughts by noticing things around you. You could name 5 things you can see and 3 things you can hear. Or you could count from 50 down to 1. Exercise can help to release energy that your body may be holding on to from stress and anxiety. If you can, try exercising regularly. You could try yoga, swimming, walking or cycling. Putting your face into cold water can also help a lot when you are having a panic attack.

There are other ways to manage your anxiety and it can help to try different things to find what works for you. Keep practising, even when you’re not feeling anxious so that they’re easier to do when you are.

Remember, it’s okay to ask for support too. You could speak to a Childline counsellor or someone you trust, like a friend, teacher or your doctor about how you're feeling.

I’m glad you wrote this letter to me, take care.


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