Anxiety isn’t actually a thing, it is a state of mind and when we continue to feel in an ‘anxious’ way we actually build new neural pathways so your body ‘thinks’ this is how you want to feel. So every time you feel anxious you are making the neural pathway stronger until for example it becomes the dominant one for flying. ie; if I think of flying then I must feel anxious (because you’ve repeated it so many times)
Anxiety can be gripping and intense to the point that you feel in a perpetual state of panic. We all experience anxious thoughts; it is built in our DNA as a way of survival. However, it can become overwhelming and at times can feel uncontrollable.
So we need to change your physiology, and retrain your neural pathways with positive thinking and breathing. Breathing is the one automatic functions that you can control. There are lots of different calming breaths (the 4-3-7- breath is a calming one, breathe in (your nose) for 4, hold for 3, and out through your mouth for 7.
If you feel the anxiety starting, you can use the 4-7-8 breath – breath out, exhaling all of your air then close your mouth, then breathe in through your nose for 4, hold your breath for 7, breathe out through your mouth for 8. Keep repeating.
Doing either of these breathing techniques really do calm you down by triggering neurons in your brain which tell the body it is time to relax, so keep practising them until they come naturally.
Make yourself a little plan –
Use one of the deep breathing methods above, be aware of your anxious symptoms, now close your eyes and go inside and stay focused on the present moment, start focusing your thoughts to the top of your head and relax each part of your body working your way down the body to your feet, bring to mind your happy place that makes you feel good.
If you find you are thinking in a negative way try this to STOP the pattern before the anxiety takes over.
The STOP technique – it’s quick & easy and I also have a 90 second recording for you to use on your phone as well. Once you are aware of going down that negative thought pattern, when you can feel that anger inside, the hurt, the feelings of rejection bubbling inside of you try this –
Take a moment and just close your eyes whilst either at home or at work at your desk. Say to yourself in your mind the word ‘STOP’. Take a deep breath in & as you breathe out, relax your face, jaw, neck, shoulders, arms & hands going all the way down the front of your body to the tips of your toes.
Take in another another deep breath, and as you breathe out, relax down the back of your body starting at the top of your head down to your neck, your back, all the way down your legs & to the tips of your toes.
Now imagine a huge magnet drawing away all the tension, stress & negativity from the bottom of your feet. Take a few small quiet, easy breaths whilst you focus on something you enjoy, someone you love or something you like doing & imagine doing it even better! Open your eyes & come back refreshed, relaxed & rested.
Another way to help to overcome anxiety is to journal your concerns, there are many ways of anxiety journaling. A good place to start is to write down everything that is concerning you. In doing so, you will release it from your mind and onto paper, which in itself can help to ease your anxiety. You don’t need to reread this information or analyse it, in fact, you will probably want to tear it up afterwards. However, by writing it down it will help you to think clearly and break the cycle of over thinking and considering the worst case scenarios.
You can go a step further and question ‘how likely is it really to happen.’ Anxiety blocks rational thoughts, through writing your biggest worries down, you can begin to look at the issues logically. You could also have a different section of the journal to write down your strengths. Qualities that you know you possess which can help you through difficult times. By writing these down, you’re creating new thoughts on how you can overcome your issues and worries.