The Anxiety Relief Tool You Need to Try

CPTSD Foundation
4 min readMar 25, 2024


We all deal with anxiety — that mix of nerves, restlessness, and worries that can make life feel overwhelming. No surprise, anxiety is the most common mental health diagnosis in the United States. Anxiety can look different in everyone, especially if you have a complex trauma history, which makes your nervous system overwhelmed. Common anxiety symptoms include worry, nervousness, fear, trouble sleeping, increased heart rate, sweating, fatigue, poor concentration, feeling out of breath, distraction, heaviness in the chest, stomach issues and so much more.

I love helping clients work through anxiety because it is something we can improve. There are so many tools to share that reduce this kind of activation in the body and mind. In this article, I will focus on my favorite method of calming the nervous system. This simple tool is something anyone can try, no matter who you are. Let me introduce you to “Sit and Stare” — a quick and powerful way to reduce anxiety.

How the ‘Sit and Stare’ Tool Works:

Life can get super busy and stressful. So, it’s important to take short and frequent pauses throughout the day. It only takes 1 to 2 minutes, but it can make a big difference in how you feel. Think of the accumulation of these pauses by the end of the week, it adds up.

Imagine this: you’re watching the ocean waves or staring at clouds moving in the sky. You feel peaceful, right? “Sit and Stare” is about bringing you that calm feeling. These activities positively influence the Default Mode Network in the brain into more passive mind wandering.

This is very different than getting stuck in a worry cycle.

Light a candle and look at the flame. Watch the dance of colors and how the flame moves. Inhale deeply, exhale longer. What color do you see? Take another deep breath and notice any smell from the candle. Listen to the gentle sound of the flame. Take another deep breath, and exhale longer than you inhale. Feel your feet on the ground and pay attention to your breathing. Just start to notice how you are feeling at this moment. Continue to observe the flame for another moment or two.

The cool thing about “Sit and Stare” is that it’s easy to do anytime. Put a candle on your desk or somewhere you like to sit. Throughout the day, try it out for 30 seconds to a minute. Doing this regularly adds up and it can help you feel less activated. How can you make this a habit in your life?

While this tool can be very powerful, anxiety management tends to work best with a wide variety of techniques used every day. I like thinking about it as an anxiety management daily practice. Unfortunately, it isn’t something we can do weekly or monthly rather short bursts throughout the day.

Remember, simplicity is powerful. The “Sit and Stare” tool reminds us that we can find relief from anxiety in micro-moments. So, the next time anxiety starts to bother you, take a deep breath, light a candle, and watch the flame dance. Feel the magic of mindfulness and enjoy how it frees your mind and body. It all starts with a single, calming gaze with little pockets of relative safety and connection.

I warmly invite you to try this for yourself and create a daily habit of incorporating tools to manage anxiety.

For coaches and therapists, check out my anxiety management course to equip yourself with evidence-based interventions and insights to help individuals cope with anxiety and regain control over their lives. You will leave with concrete strategies you can apply immediately with your clients.

Discover more about the course and enroll today at

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Successfully equipping complex trauma survivors and practitioners with compassionate support, skills, and trauma-informed education since 2014.