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Zoning Out vs. Zoning In: 3 Ways you can stop Anxiety in it’s tracks.

Zoning Out vs. Zoning In 3 Ways You Can Stop Anxiety in its Tracks.

by, Dr. Lisa Herman


You have anxiety. What’s your go to coping skill?

For many, it’s to Zone Out.


Young african american man walking with headphones in while zoning out | online therapy for anxiety treatment for teens & adults | Synergy eTherapy

When you’re anxious, you zone out. It’s ok, I do this too. You are overwhelmed, tired, stressed, worn out, and have soooo much still to do before the day is over.

And – it’s 9:00pm.

Zoning out is not necessarily a bad thing to do when your mind and body feel done for the day. Your mind needs a much needed mental break from having to exert so much energy during the daytime. And, your body only needs to relax for a bit and not move.

Zoning out can take shape in a variety of ways:

  1. Looking at Social Media sites for much longer than you intended to originally.
  2. Watching not one, but three Netflix shows in a row. Ok let’s be honest…maybe four in a row!
  3. Reading the news on your iPad or starting a new book on your Nook.
  4. Going to sleep.

Our brain takes in so much sensory information in a day. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, our senses are scanning at a rate unimaginable!

Information transmission rates of the senses
sensory system bits per second
eyes 10,000,000
skin 1,000,000
ears 100,000
smell 100,000
taste 1,000


The discrepancy between the amount of information being transmitted and the amount of information being processed is so large that any inaccuracy in the measurements is insignificant. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

I don’t know about you, but just seeing how much our brain does in a second is astonishing! No wonder zoning out is so common, especially when you’re anxious. Because, it’s like our mind is doing thousands of mini marathons every second just trying to get everything accomplished!

Let’s start to find balance and work with our emotions. Let’s also try to Zone In.

In the YouTube video above, I talk a bit more broadly about zoning out and zoning in. Additionally, I will give you a few ideas on ways to deliberately spend quality time with yourself.

Let’s recap 3 ways you can stop anxiety in it’s tracks.


1. Be prepared to Zone In.

We cannot change that of which we don’t know. Simple, right? It’s not as easy as it sounds.

Start slow.

Keep a reminder on your phone to pop up once a day that says something like “Be Mindful” or “What do you feel?” This will prompt to take inventory of what you are feeling. Then CHOOSE the time that you want to spend zoning in. Try using the suggestions I give you in the video. Remember, making this a priority in your day will help follow through.

2. Choose your Zone In skill of preference for that moment.

There are many coping skills that can be valuable in dealing with anxiety. And best yet, they wont cost you anything.

Here are some options:Young woman taking a moment in her day to breathe and zone in | Online therapy for anxiety | Synergy eTherapy

  1. Step outside and feel the breeze and the air. Smell the dew and the new grass. Pay attention to what you feel emotionally and name the feelings. For example, “I feel lonely today. Because, I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t seen my family or friends. ” Or, “I feel overwhelmed with work, my sister’s health, and moving houses in the next few months.”
  2. Journal your thoughts, feelings, hard things and gratitude. Get connected with yourself. No judgement. Be honest or as honest as you are capable of being right now.
  3. Breathe purposefully using bubbles or Square Breathing. Research shows that being able to slow our breathing offers both physical and mental benefits. And these benefits can last a lifetime. Remember, someone should hear your breathing in deeply. Hold your breath, and blow it out, like you are blowing out birthday candles.

3. Now what? The solution to your anxiety is in the process of zoning in.

We are always so eager to fix and to solve our problems. Sometimes, we just need to allow our emotions room to breath and “be.” And when we do this answers or solutions will come to mind. Give yourself credit for doing something that is very hard to do!

Be good to yourself. Zoning in takes time, effort, and a lot of uncomfortable feelings. If you realize that you cannot engage due to a history of trauma or other life circumstances that make zoning in too painful, please reach out for support from a licensed, trained therapist.

Begin online therapy for anxiety

Woman in a white sweater on a computer during an online therapy session for anxiety with a Synergy eTherapy counselor.

If you, or someone you care about, would like support for managing your anxiety, Synergy eTherapy is here to help. We offer flexible, personalized, and convenient online counseling with licensed therapists in your state. With Synergy eTherapy it is easy to get the mental health care you deserve.

  1. Contact Synergy eTherapy.
  2. Meet with one of our online therapists in your state.
  3. Begin learning how to cope with your anxiety and find emotional wellness.


As an online counseling practice, our mission is to offer a variety of online mental health services to help you focus on you. Synergy eTherapy takes the stress out of getting the treatment you deserve with our flexible, convenient, and easy to use therapy services.  We offer online therapy in several states including MinnesotaIowaWisconsinSouth Carolina, California, Kansas, Maine, Illinois & Georgia. We also add new states to our list regularly.  Depending on the therapist you see, Synergy eTherapy can offer help with anxiety, trauma, depression, substance abuse, medical conditions and more.  Our therapists help teenscollege students, adults, and couples.  Also, we can offer psychiatric medication management in some locations.  Getting help doesn’t have to be complicated.   Online counseling may be the answer you’ve been looking for.Photo of Lisa, an online therapist with Synergy etherapy providing online counseling services throughout the United States.


Dr. Lisa Herman is the owner of Synergy eTherapy and Clinical Psychologist licensed to practice with those who reside in the states of MN, WI and NY.

To schedule your FREE consultation with her, please click HERE.

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