Skills not pills for anxiety control.
Your hands sweat. Your mouth goes dry. Your heart beat triples. Your stomach clenches. You have an almost uncontrollable urge to run, run, run. All of these could indicate you are feeling stressed, stressed stressed.
Maybe you have to give a presentation or speech before a group of people. Maybe you are being recognized for an award or service. Maybe your spouse, significant other, or boss sent an email saying, “We need to talk”. Maybe you have a big test. Maybe you are a first time parent with a sick child. Or a dozen other things.
Stress and anxiety are actually the body’s way of protecting you.
The ‘fight or flight’ response that is ingrained in all humans from conception is responsible for keeping us safe from perceived harm. So the nervous and cognitive systems indicate to the brain danger! Danger! Danger! And the brain sends signals back to prepare to fight or flee.
The problem arises when your brain sends constant signals to your body to be in a state of anxiety. No one wants to feel stressed all the time! Life is meant to be enjoyed, not worried about. Here are some tips we hope will help you learn to manage anxiety in a natural way.
Train Your Brain
First be aware of what causes your anxiety. Is it speaking in front of people? Being in crowded rooms? Driving in rush hour traffic? What causes your anxiety levels to skyrocket? Once you know why, you can help prepare your brain to deal more effectively.
There is a saying that if you repeat something three times, your brain gets the hint and will follow. Try telling yourself (and your brain), “I am fine. It will pass soon. There’s no reason to panic. I can do this.” If your brain knows there’s an end to the stressor, it can help you deal more effectively.
Also, try focusing on something else. Count. Name the books on your home library shelf. Name your colors of the shirts you have. Think of baby names. Plan a dream get away. Give your brain something else to do besides concentrating on your anxiety.
Breathe the Breaths
We have all heard “slow down, take a deep breath” before. Maybe while trying to tell a story or when someone we trust can see we are growing more and more anxious. They are trying to help us manage the ‘flight or fight’ response.
Think about all the organs and body systems that help us breathe. Our nose, our lungs, even our heart helps us draw in the air we need to continue to live. See the air entering your nose, traveling down to your lungs, then to your heart and blood stream.
Deep breathing really does help with anxiety. It forces your body and brain to focus on something besides the anxiety (as mentioned above) and also to physically do something. Try the one deep breath in, hold 5 seconds, and release. It may take a few moments to build up to this, so if five is too long, try three.
This is perhaps the hardest one. Our imagination and thoughts somehow love to try to terrify us. It’s so much easier to think of what could go wrong rather than picture what could go right. What we envision happening is almost always worse than what actually is.
Start telling your imagination and wayward thoughts, “No!” when they start down the anxiety path. Don’t give in to the images of doom and failure that often accompany anxiety. Replace them with something better, calming and more likely to help you focus on the positive instead of the negative. There is truth to ‘mind over matter’. If you mind believes you are safe and calm, your body will not react to anxiety. You will feel relaxed.
Go to ‘your happy place’, that mind’s eye image you hold of a place special, safe, and secure to you. This may be a flower filled meadow or a sand chair on a sunny beach in front of frothy, gently rolling ocean waves. Or maybe it’s a cool mountain lake, a library, the bakery, a coffee café, or a shoe sale at your favorite store. Immerse yourself in this place. Feel it, smell it, see every detail, hear the tiniest of sounds, and taste the most delicate of flavors.
Every day we see clients for anxiety and fear issues. If you’ve given it your all and it just isn’t getting better, set up a consultation and find out what hypnosis can do to give you the relief you want and deserve.