How often you do feel anxious in the average week?
Three or more times?
What usually triggers it?
How much does it interfere with achieving what you want to accomplish?
Recent research shows that most people have an anxious reaction just from not being able to check who texted or called their cell phone while they are otherwise occupied.
Given the hundreds of important individual and global challenges to feel anxious about, this addition of technology anxiety means most of us are managing some sort of anxiety at least 50 percent of our waking hours, without even realizing it. No wonder scientists talk about the anxiety epidemic in America!
The first step for dealing with anxiety is self-awareness – knowing the situations most likely to cause you anxiety. What’s your anxiety pattern? Here are some good places to start your anxiety self- inquiry.
- Are you usually calm, but your heart races when facing an experience outside your comfort zone?
- Do you start big, ambitious projects with excitement only to find that fear and negative thinking take over your thoughts and cause you to slack off and do a mediocre job, so you won’t stand out too much?
- Are you uncomfortable in many social situations? Do you worry that people are judging your appearance, what you say or whether you fit in?
Whatever your anxiety patterns, the good news is that you have the ability to reduce your own anxiety level in any moment, without any medication or even with herbal tea.
Here are five quick tips to slow down your heart rate, relax your muscles, and calm your mind.
- Don’t react. Take a moment to pause, breathe, expand your awareness to your own body, your surroundings and the circumstances. Then think and act from a place of choosing what you want to do.
- Breathe. Inhale through your nose for five counts, expanding through your belly then your lungs. Hold the breath for five counts, then exhale for five counts with your mouth closed, engaging your vocal chords as though you’re sighing. Make sure to let all the air out of your belly as if though you are tightening your belt. Repeat at least two more times.
- Quiet your energy. Rub your hands together for a count of 30. Place both hands over your heart for a count of 30. Now place them over your eyes and forehead for a count of 30.
- Notice any negative thoughts. Ask yourself, “Is this thought true? Or is it F.E.A.R. – False Expectations Appearing Real?” Ask yourself, “Who made me believe this?” Choose an alternative positive thought. Repeat that 10 times.
- Take any action. To feel less overwhelmed, break down large or intimidating actions into small, easy-to- manage steps.
This process helps you shift from the state of hyper-arousal in the sympathetic nervous system (which anxiety creates), to a state of calmness and focus in the parasympathetic nervous system (which the steps above create). The result, homeostasis, is a comfortable state of physiological balance.
Susan Greif (www.ArtMendsHearts.com) is a Creative Transformational Expert and Healing Arts Professional who uses the expressive, creative and healing arts to help women and children find emotional freedom from anxieties that kept them feeling paralyzed, panicked and in pain. Her clients learn how to let go of anxiety, depression, trauma, abuse, relationship issues, eating disorders and learning disabilities. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
My Time-Out is listed on Feedspot.com’s 2018 Top 30 Emotional Intelligence Blogs on the Planet!!!