Would you like a strategy for navigating through fear, anxiety, stress, and overwhelm?

The CALM Tips and Techniques below offer simple steps for grounding your emotions by engaging your body and mind in effective regulation practices.

Check Your Breathing

Did you know that is common to take shallow breaths, breathing from your chest instead of from your belly and lungs? Chest breathing is common for those who struggle with anxiety. So take a moment to check your breathing.

  1. Place a hand on your stomach.
  2. Place a hand on your chest.
  3. Inhale/exhale.
  4. Do it again, and when you inhale, notice which way your chest moves. Does it go up/out? That means you're breathing from your chest.
  5. Inhale again and see if you can fill your belly so that it moves out.
  6. Exhale.
  7. Try it again, with a slow inhale, filling your belly, and then exhale like you're blowing out a candle.

Practice this breathing often throughout the day until it becomes natural.

4-7-8 Breathing

To practice your breathing, use the 4-7-8 method:

  1. Inhale for a count of 4.
  2. Hold for a count of 7.
  3. Exhale for a count of 8.

Practice this breathing exercise one time a day, repeating the cycle three to four times.

Box Breathing Exercises

The Box Breathing exercise is a simple strategy to help reduce anxiety by slowing your breathing down and grounding in the moment.

Option 1: Inhale-Hold-Exhale-Hold

  1. Inhale to a count of four.
  2. Exhale slowly, blowing the air out of your mouth like you're blowing out a candle.
  3. Inhale again.
  4. Hold for a count of 4.
  5. Exhale.
  6. Inhale.
  7. Hold for a count of 4.
  8. Exhale.

Option 2: Draw the Box

  1. Inhale to a count of four.
  2. Exhale slowly, blowing the air out of your mouth like you're blowing out a candle.
  3. Inhale again.
  4. Exhale slowly, this time imagining drawing a box with your breath 1-2-3-4.
  5. Repeat as needed.
Box Breathing

Inhale _____, Exhale ______

For this exercise, the purpose is to provide a way to regulate by releasing negative emotions and thoughts and replacing them with positive and helpful emotions and thoughts.

  1. Take a deep inhale.
  2. On the exhale, release your breath with the emotion or thought that is overwhelming or stressful.
  3. On the next inhale, imagine breathing in an emotion or thought that is helpful and calming.

Repeat the inhale/exhale cycle until you sense your heart rate slowing down and calm returning to your mind and body.

Grounding Exercise

A great way to reduce anxiety and return to a state of calm is to practice the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding exercise. You can combine this exercise with the Calm Reset Strategy by starting with the lotion and breathing, and then do 5-4-3-2-1. Between each step, take a deep inhale and exhale.

  1. Inhale/exhale.
  2. Name 5 things you see.
  3. Inhale/exhale.
  4. Name 3 things you hear.
  5. Inhale/exhale.
  6. Name 3 things you smell.
  7. Inhale/exhale.
  8. Name 2 things you can touch (or feel next to your skin).
  9. Inhale/exhale.
  10. Name 1 thing you feel on the inside (a sensation, like warmth in your belly, or emotion, like peace).
5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique Poster (Pinterest Pin (1000 × 1500)) (2)

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