5 Tips For Coping With Anxiety And Retuning Your Mind And Body Towards A Better State Of Wellbeing
- Breathe – such a simple thing to say but it is so important to listen and be in tune with your breathing, have you started to shallow breathe? Quicken your breathing? Or getting so tense you are forgetting to breathe. We all say it … just breathe, but what we are really needing to do here is to become aware of the breath and how you are breathing. Stop, check yourself, and focus on the breath, take a long slow in-breath, hold, gently expel and repeat. Try putting your right hand across your chest upon your heart area and your other hand on you lower diaphragm (tummy area) this helps you get in touch with the breath and makes it purposeful and focused, it also provides a sense of being held. Something so fundamental to life and we expect it to be automatic – sometimes needs a little helping hand! Stay in the moment with the focus on the breath if you can and repeat this exercise to help calm and soothe.
- Become aware of your ‘Energy’ – we can’t see it, but we can feel it, depleted energy levels, raised energy levels, we know what this feels like, there are other energies that surround us too, excitement, stimulus, overactive etc. these energies swirl and twirl around us, whipping up tornados of emotions and spirals of despair. Try to become more aware of these states, check in with yourself – regularly ask yourself – how am I feeling? Can I feel the excess energy swirling around me? Sometimes we have so much of this that we feel imbalanced, confused and sometimes it makes you physically ill, causing headaches and sickness being the most common. Firstly, it is important to understand your feeling (your state) and recognise it as excess energy, once acknowledged we can begin to move it away thus creating a major shift in how you may feel. There are many techniques you can use from movement such as Thai Chi that moves energy away or draws it in as needed to grounding meditations where you can visualise the energy returning to the earth as unrequired. Other ways may include the use of aids such as chiming bowls that create vibrations and move energy with sound, to candles where the flame can absorb the energy away from you. My favourite is pushing the energy away back into the earth through my feet with a tiny rocking movement – you can even do this when your frustrated at the supermarket checkout! Once practiced you can really begin to recognise these energy forces and shift them more easily.
- Movement in harmony with the mind – Physical movement and the brain is connected, therefore how we move and how we think are too. Did you know that when young children begin to acquire language their motor development plateaus, and that cognitive functioning is enhanced through spatial awareness and the learning of body control? So how can this help us as adults, simple – move! Let us take this to another level and move with awareness and focus of the movement. Go for a walk, a simple slow and purposeful walk, that focuses on the pattern and rhythm of movement, remain fully concentrated on the movements you make, the rising and falling of each foot, the actions of the different muscles in your legs, your feet connecting with the earth. You can bring in some of the grounding here too and the holding techniques in number 1.
- Acceptance – change, conflict and uncertainty are a fact of our lives and as natural states that we all must navigate through, from time to time. Recognition that our responses of anxiety worry and freaking out changes nothing, the issues remain. Again, it is well known that the only thing we can change is our response, but we also know that it is not easy to do this and it sometimes conflicts against our innate fight/flight responses. But we can practise! Just say stop to yourself, and the more you do this the more you begin to recognise these patterns of behaviours too and you will find it happening less. So just say stop and draw breathe (as number 1 above) and then give yourself permission to make a choice ‘how do I want to respond to this’ and follow though in any given ambition to demonstrate alternative approaches and strategies. I am sure we have all worried ourselves sick about things that never happened as the outcomes changed, the goal posts shifted, or some other worry replaced it! Practice some mantra’s through these challenging periods, such as, I am worrying about something that has not happened, it may not happen, and my worry will not stop it from happening. Or another ‘all that I have is this moment, this moment is all that counts, the future is not real there is only the present’. Begin to be more accepting in your attitudes and responses, others will notice the change in you too, surprise them!
- Be kind – so many things that could be number 5, eat well, meditate, begin new hobbies and mental stimulus, gratitude etc. but I’m going for this one as kindness brings us so much connectivity to others, friends, neighbours, families to total strangers and whilst we ‘don’t be kind’ to receive kindness it is often a great outcome that we receive thoughtfulness and kindness in return that enables a restorative top up of positive emotions and endorphins that will help you feel more positive about yourself and also draw more attention to the situations and awareness of others. It is like a smile being received it is very hard not to smile back if you receive one. You can work on your kindness barometer throughout your day from asking the checkout operator how they are with some sincerity and empathy to making that donation on the way out. The real key here is to ensure your integrity is well placed and you are not just the filling up of your kindness bank in the hope of future withdrawals!
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