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March 15, 2019 3 min read

I talked about what anxiety is, and what it’s caused by in previous articles; this blog is going to focus on what you can do to reduce anxiety in the moment.

Maybe a stressor has made an appearance; you’re feeling anxious, panicked, maybe your heart is beating faster, your breath is quickening, perhaps you’re even feeling a little nauseous.

What you need to do is GET OUT OF YOUR OWN HEAD, as soon as possible.

 How do you do that!?

1. Breathe

Breathe DEEPLY into your chest and belly. Focus on the air hitting your nostrils, feel it travel down into your throat, feel your belly expand with the inflow, feel your chest broaden, maybe your chest muscles stretch a little. Hold it momentarily at the top, then release it slowly through your mouth creating a noise through pursed lips - focus your awareness on that sense of release, of letting go.

Do this consciously, AT LEAST 4 times in total, preferably double that.

Really focus on the feelings in your body, the movements, the tingling.

2. Understand that you are not your thoughts

Your brain and body have been programmed from previous experiences of your anxiety to respond as you do.

Remember, you can overcome this programming.

 I would recommend quite literally saying the words – “My brain is playing tricks on me – I am not my thoughts – it will pass.

 Use the mantra “I am not my thoughts – this will pass”. Use that mantra over and over again (in conjunction with conscious breathing as described above) until the anxiety dissipates.

I am not my thoughts – this will pass

I am not my thoughts – this will pass

I am not my thoughts – this will pass

3. Witness your anxiety

Anxiety is just a feeling, like any other feeling – you have the power simply to accept it, to label it, to observe it.

Simply watch the feelings in your body, breathe into them, cultivate distance from them. Cultivate compassion for them, don’t judge them

4. Use a calming visualization

Simply find a quiet, private spot, close your eyes and picture the following scene:

  • You’re sitting on a river bank, a light breeze is brushing your cheeks. Feel the grass beneath your backside.
  • Look out over the river, and closer in towards the bank – you see leaves passing by in the current.
  • Now see on one of the leaves the name of an emotion you’re currently experiencing, or a thought that keeps repeating.
  • Watch that leaf float by, on along away from you, further on down the river and into the distance.
  • Do this again with another emotion that is arising, or a thought that is repeating.

Breathe gently throughout this process.

These are just 4 ways to GET OUT OF YOUR OWN HEAD – which is the quickest way to reduce anxiety

There are other options, like doing a meaningful activity that requires you to focus eg. going for a walk, doing some gardening, listening to a guided meditation – whatever it takes to pull you away from your thinking mind, and into your body and being.

In my next article on anxiety relief, I’ll explore traditional treatments for anxiety, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and medication.



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