Tips for Calming Anxiety
I’d like to share three tips that can make a difference for those who suffer from anxiety. But first I want to say that if you are currently working under medical or mental health supervision, by all means use these tips in addition to your current treatment. While it might be possible that you can get to a point where you no longer need the treatment, it is best that you to stick with what you’re already doing under professional supervision.
It is important to have a good understanding of anxiety. Anxiety is a distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/anxiety)
When you experience anxiety you are getting a rapid influx of fearful thoughts. Very often, the root cause of anxiety is a traumatic experience from the past. When you get into a state of anxiety, the cause was created in the past but your thoughts are actually a fear of something you think could happen in the future. Both anxiety and depression take you out of the present moment. Depression is the mind focusing on the past, while anxiety is the mind focusing on fear of the future.
Calming anxiety is about establishing a new pattern of thought. It’s about shutting out the noise and the chatter in the brain, and getting yourself into a calmer mental state. Every little bit of work you do to try to get yourself to focus on calm thoughts has a positive effect.
These tips are not about eradicating what happened to you in the past, nor are they about getting to the root of the problem or looking directly at your fear. For deeper healing, you can work with a health care practitioner. But, if you practice these three things you will most likely be able to take better control over your life and begin to experience more peace.
1. Meditation. Meditation helps you train your mind into a calmer state. Oftentimes people who suffer from anxiety don’t want to meditate because when they actually sit down with the intention to meditate they feel negative or worrisome thoughts. Just allow that to be ok. It’s to be expected. Over time, however, meditation will help slow down the thoughts. There are many kinds of meditation, but one type I would recommend to anxiety sufferers is guided meditation. There are many guided meditations on Youtube, and there are other websites that have downloadable guided meditations. Guided meditations will give you something to focus on that actually helps take you away from the influx of thoughts. You may find yourself drifting back to unwanted thoughts, but if that happens, just gently bring yourself back to focusing on the guided meditation. If you find that you still can’t pay attention to the guided meditation, simply focus on relaxing your feet. You will soon feel either a tingling or numbing sensation, which means your body is beginning to relax. Don’t worry if you fall asleep, your body probably needs the rest. If you’re not already doing this, I suggest you meditate first thing in the morning upon waking up. That’s when your mind is the calmest. But, you can do it anytime. Find what works best for you.
2. Simply slow down. Slow down how fast you’re talking, walking, and moving. Become aware of how fast you’re trying to get things done and consciously slow yourself down. Anxiety likes to move on speed. The faster you are operating the faster anxious thoughts come to you. This is very simple – just slow down and be very mindful. When you find yourself speeding up, just stop and remember to slow down.
3. Breathe. When we are in a state of anxiety we unconsciously take shallow breaths. Whenever you are feeling anxious just practice this breathing technique and it will automatically cut down the anxiety. I often suggest this breath technique to my clients as well as one I use myself. Take your time with your inhales and exhales. Breathe in very slowly and deeply. Push your tummy out as you are inhaling as if to bring your breath all the way down to the bottom of your lungs and into your tummy. Hold your breath for a slow count of four. Then, exhale out very slowly on a count of ten. Do this breath technique for at least four times in a row, and work up to doing this breath technique for about 10 – 15 minutes at least once a day. You will notice a difference in how you feel, and it will help slow down your brain waves. In fact, this is a good practice when you begin your meditation.
It may be difficult to incorporate these exercises into your life at first. Remember that consistency is key. If you are able to practice all three of these exercises, there is a good chance you will begin to feel a difference within a relatively short period of time depending on the severity of the anxiety. But, even if you do only one of these exercises, it’s a good idea that you try to practice it at least one to two times a day at first. You will be able to do more over time if you stay consistent.