January 22, 2022 3 min read
As soon as you feel the anxiety beginning, focus intently on your breathing and absolutely nothing else.
Initially, you want to activate the relaxation response in the body (Parasympathetic Nerve system) with long exhalations. Start to take sluggish ... deep breaths. Initially, focus on launching all of the oxygen from your lungs as you breathe out a couple of times. You'll know you're doing it right when you feel your core begin to engage at the end. Don't worry about taking a deep breath in, just let your lungs naturally fill up on their own. Do this 3-4 times.
Next, inhale for a slow count of four through your nose and hold for a count of 4. Then exhale for a count of 4 and hold for a count of 4. This is called "square breathing." In 4, hold 4, out 4, hold 4.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Advise yourself that you are having an experience, but you are not that experience. While you feel that something is incorrect, advise yourself that you were actually safe and all is well. Keep in mind, you are not your thoughts. Your thoughts are a part of you. "I'm noticing that I'm feeling nervous" is a lot less extreme than "I'm anxious."
This might seem insignificant, however don't underestimate the power of developing distance from your thoughts. When we produce range between ourself and our thoughts, we develop space. Because space is the moment when we have an option to make-- the option of how we select to response to our thoughts and feelings.
Utilizing the full power of your senses can be enormously helpful when you unexpectedly feel anxious. Ground yourself to the minute by bringing your attention to 5 things you see, 4 things you feel, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you taste. You can mix this up in any order that fits you depending on which of your senses is the strongest and most effective. If you're very tactile, then start with what you feel. If you're visual, then begin with what you see.
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