Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

What are some ways to contain really bad anxiety in public places without having to make it obvious or leave the room?

24 Answers
Last Updated: 08/11/2020 at 3:09pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Danielle Johnson, MSED, Community mental Health Counseling, LMHC

Licensed Professional Counselor

Sometime situations and feelings can be so strong that we struggle to function. You are not alone! My practice is flexible and open-minded and tailored to your personal needs.

Top Rated Answers
March 12th, 2015 8:45pm
There are a few techniques that you could try to do that I have found helpful whenever I'm stricken with a bad anxiety attack in public. First, try to remember that having an anxiety is a disorder that afflicts many people, and if your suffering from an attack in public it's not the most important thing to try and worry what others think of you. Having said that, I do understand, however, that it's not a necessarily good thing to be out trying to complete tasks or be with friends and have an attack. If at all possible, try to take slow sips of something cold, like water. I would avoid alcohol or soda because you don't want to add caffeine into the mix or numb your senses. Calmly walk to a place that's less crowded than where you are or take a quick break to go outside. Take slow, deep breaths. If your close to your car, sit in it for a few moments, and turn on the radio to something light, or conversations that can get your mind off of the anxiety. Sometimes, it's helpful to get in a good amount of exercise before you go out. Doing physical activities can exert your mind and even help you concentrate and relax. When I am going to be out in social situations and I'm with friends, I sometimes will quietly tell the person I'm closest with that I feel anxious and that I need some space or to leave the current situation. In most cases, you're friend will react very empathetically and even go with you or make sure that you get what you need. It's like having a designated driver, but for anxiety. The person knows you may have an attack, and is prepared to help you if you do. I've found having someone else who knows about your anxiety to be invaluable. Try to give yourself some slack when it comes to public circumstances. There may be some events that you know might trigger an anxiety attack and it might be best to decline going if you're feeling a bit vulnerable already. Be mindful of your triggers. Sometimes it helps to make a list of some things that give you anxiety when your out.
December 21st, 2015 2:52pm
Take a few deep breaths through your mouth, and try and clear your thoughts. Then focus on something in front of you and start noticing the details, distracting yourself.
January 22nd, 2015 7:23am
Near a friend, always! Someone who tryly cares won't ask you questions, they will understand and comfort you. A friend was always there during my panick attacks, and they make it so much easier to go through it. Whenever you start feeling bad, grab a friend or someone who know and tell them exactly how you feel. Plus if it's someone you don't know that much, you can even build new friendships!
July 21st, 2015 10:59pm
I often sing to myself (softly) to contain anxiety. I try to recall all the lyrics, and focusing on something helps me to calm myself.
April 16th, 2015 4:30pm
I use day dreaming a lot and even more so, I use my music to help me escape the situation. If I don't want to be rude, I just think of a song in my head, rather than putting in my earphones.
June 30th, 2015 4:12am
Clench your muscles for 15 seconds and then relax. Repeat. AND BREATHE. Find a certain point in the room and focus on it. Don't take your eyes off of it.
November 2nd, 2015 1:31am
Those who have bad anxiety often can't help but feel overwhelmed. However, if you limit the tasks assigned to that individual's role then you are allowing their minds to function without the worries of 'needing to be' or 'having to be' something that they feel that they are not. For instance, for those who suffer from social anxiety when in public places or especially social conversations, you are overwhelmed with 'what if' thoughts, your body does not obey your mind, your heart races, your palms sweat, your eyes feel as if they cannot focus, and body shifts positions as if getting comfortable is an impossible measure. And with all this happening, it is often hard to find to find the ways to make what is in your head sounds as good verbally. Limiting ones purpose in the conversation from having a successful and intelligent sounding conversation to having the goal of having a conversation that either lets the other person know that you are interested in what they have to say or leave the conversation knowing that you did your best to be a beneficial influence and a light in that other person's life. To whatever you change your goal to, know that simplicity is key and the feeling of content comes with being a beneficial influence in others live, but will always be a need you should first be for your own life.
September 5th, 2017 1:53am
Start focusing on your breathing process. 1.Breathe in slowly but deeply. Take 4 seconds to breathe in, feeling you stomach move in the process. 2Hold your breath for 7 seconds. 3.Breathe out as silently as you can manage, taking 8 seconds. Once you reach 8, you should have emptied your lungs of air. 4.Repeat as many times as you need, making sure to stick to the 4-7-8 pattern.
January 25th, 2015 12:27pm
Breathe deeply, and focus on your own breathing. Let all the tension out as you exhale. Also, Meditation before getting in public place can help reduce your anxiety.
May 2nd, 2015 3:41am
A way to contain bad anxiety is to take an object that has significant value and is positive. This can also help with public speaking.
August 8th, 2016 11:45pm
I heard that sniffing certain essential oils are very helpful also maybe reading a few positive affirmations that you keep on you at all times would be helpful. There are also breathing exercises that you can do.
November 1st, 2016 2:34pm
If I'm feeling anxious, chewing gum helps for me. It helps calm my body down, and on the plus side you will have fresh breath!
May 28th, 2018 6:09pm
You can try different breathing techniques, that help you calm down. Something I always do is find 5 things I can touch (not literally, but technically), 4 things I can smell, 3 things I can hear, 2 things I can see and 1 thing I could taste (just in my head).
June 30th, 2015 11:08pm
Take deep breathes and try sitting down for a minute and think of your happy place try to take your mind off of it
August 4th, 2015 10:59pm
grip your hands together firmly the more anxious you get the firmer you grip will get this will also give you another focus
August 18th, 2015 9:15am
Count 5 things you can see. Count 4 things you can touch. Count 3 things you can smell. Count 2 things you can taste.
September 14th, 2015 12:40am
Breathing in and out, and then focusing on something other than the anxiety usually helps. Focus on something peaceful, or just zone out at a simple item
November 2nd, 2015 4:06pm
Here is a simple anxiety attack first aid technique that will take just a minute. I can't promise it will work, but it might be worth a try. It's called belly breathing. Sit comfortably. Close your eyes if you can. If you can't, just try to focus on a neutral object. Inhale slowly to the count of 3, letting the diaphragm expand away from your body. Exhale slowly to the count of 3, letting the diaphragm move back to your body. Do this a few times, then check in with your anxiety. Better?
July 19th, 2016 10:19am
Sit down, close your eyes, breath deeply and think about a happy or calm place if possible. Or else, listen to music, message a friend, or play a game on your phone. If the situation is a little formal, staring into space might help
August 10th, 2016 8:00am
Anxiety can be really tough to deal with and I think everyone has their own coping strategies. For me I try and 'ground' myself. So I'll count backwards in my head and focus on that, or I'll focus on my surroundings and every detail around me. It helps me feel more in control.
November 8th, 2016 3:17am
I use fidget toys to curb my anxiety when in a public place. While some people question me while I fidget, they are usually very nice! Sometimes if I can, I plug in my earbuds and turn on my go to relaxing playlist!
June 27th, 2017 8:20am
Breathing exercises to start with. Focusing on something right in front of you to help you feel grounded. Counting Backwards from 10-1 or even 20-1.
December 4th, 2017 5:49pm
Breathing in for 6 seconds, holding it for 7, and exhaling for 8! It's discreet and no need to step outside to do it.
August 11th, 2020 3:09pm
Take deep breaths, count to 10, close your eyes and imagine that you are in your favourite place. Take yourself outside or to a quiet room wherever you are and you will feel better already. You could always sit down in a quiet corner somewhere and relax and chill. I'm sure nobody would mind. YOu should use mindfullness techniques such as deep breathing and stretching or saying your favourite word over and over again in your head. Ask someone nearby if they can sit with you for a bit so that you have someone near you. Or phone your friend on your mobile phone.