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Bookmark This: 3 In-The-Moment Hacks To Ease Anxiousness & Nervous Energy

“Mind-mapping” is another practice that requires physically noting your worries, and Carmichael says it’s especially helpful when you don’t know exactly what you’re feeling heightened emotions about. Sometimes you just feel mentally off, and you can’t really pinpoint the exact reasons.

For example, let’s say you’re feeling stressed about work. You don’t know why, exactly, but you notice negative feelings arise when you think about your job. “Let’s do a mind map,” Carmichael says. On the middle of a piece of paper, write the word “work.” Draw a circle around it with a few spokes protruding from it. “Write the first words that come to mind when you think of work,” Carmichael advises.

The words might not even make sense to you at first: “[You] might say, ‘Well, I think of money, I think of desire to fit in. I think of a little fear,” she poses. “Draw some spokes out from those and see what they connect to.” For example, you might connect the money bubble with fear, which can shed light on your feelings about financial safety.

“We start literally getting a map and seeing that metacognition,” says Carmichael. Then you can start to visually understand what you’re feeling and (literally) draw connections to your experiences.

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