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I woke up last Friday in a great mood. The sun was shining, I had some lovely plans with the family on the weekend and I was feeling good.

Just a few hours later, everything felt very different.

An unexpected work request completely changed my outlook. I knew this wasn’t a life-altering moment but nevertheless my positivity had gone, and I found myself feeling anxious. 

Just because these moments are common it doesn’t necessarily make them pleasant or any easier to deal with

It happens to us all. Everyone feels uneasy, worried or fearful at some point in their lives. If you feel anxious in job interviews, or when you’re asked to do something new or difficult for the first time, that’s completely understandable. But just because these moments are common it doesn’t necessarily make them pleasant or any easier to deal with. 

Try to take a step back and gain some perspective, keep an open mind and don't judge yourself too harshly. Taking positive action can help stop an anxious moment becoming something more problematic.

Importantly, it can also help you recognise when you need help and prevent you from reaching crisis point. 

Tips to help you deal with anxious moments 

Be prepared

Choose behaviours that help you balance the effects of physical and emotional stress.  

  • Try to be kind to yourself. There are many things in the world that we just can’t control, but we can work to gain control and influence over our reactions. 
  • Notice what you’re doing and if your mind starts wandering, notice that too. Don’t criticise yourself for it. You’re human and that’s what humans do. 
  • Be aware the type of thoughts in your mind, rather than the specific ones. Name the types – are they memories, worries, past conversations or future plans? 
  • Practise self-care. Consider the factors that have an impact on your own health. This is a power we all hold as individuals to influence our level of wellbeing. 
  • Consider your physical health: make sure you exercise regularly, cut down on the amount of alcohol and caffeine you drink and, if you’re a smoker, get help to stop.

At the time

Help yourself remain calm by taking a mindful approach. 

  • Try to ground yourself in the moment by naming five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste. 
  • Take three mindful breaths, focusing on how it feels when you breathe in and out deeply.  
  • Be aware of your body, how it feels and any movements you’re making.  
  • Notice the emotions you’re feeling. Pause to name them, without judging or criticising yourself.  


Take care of yourself, don’t feel guilty and remember the RCN is on your side. 

  • Take time to reflect on what happened. Ask yourself if this is an isolated incident or if you need to consider seeking support elsewhere. 
  • Whatever you feel, try to acknowledge and let go of any guilt this might bring up for you. 
  • Seek extra help if you feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues.   
  • Take positive action. RCN members who are concerned about their level of self-care can talk to an RCN counsellor. Get information on booking an appointment
  • You’re not alone. Remember you can also discuss your health and wellbeing with your GP, friends, family or others you trust. 
  • Take a look at our health and wellbeing resources.

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