The only way to overcome anxiety is by being intentional with your thoughts, actions, and reactions. In this blog, you will learn three easy ways to overcome anxiety by way of intentional actions.
Slow, conscious breaths. This tricks your nervous system out of a stress response.
Recognizing your ramp-up. If you step back and reflect, you may find that your anxiety doesn't come out of nowhere. There are certain micro-stressors you experience that contribute to your varying levels of anxiety. Read on to learn about identifying micro-stressors in your life and how to overcome their power over you.
Use a three-word intention. "I am here." "I am safe." "I am ok." "Everything is groovy." "Life is ok." "I am light." are just a few ideas of how to bring yourself out of an anxious thought loop and into the present moment.
Those three things are enough. If you would like more information about the mechanics of each practice, continue reading.
Nervous system mini-lesson:
sympathetic nervous system - fight, flight, or freeze
cortisol - a hormone responsible for carrying out sympathetic nervous system response
parasympathetic nervous system - rest and digest
endorphins - hormones responsible for carrying out parasympathetic nervous system response
Your body is not designed to function optimally when it is under stress day-to-day. Yet so many of us are addicted to the sensations that stress cause in our body. Hear me out -
You aren't fulfilled in your life, you have unprocessed traumas or grief, you feel like life is happening to you... and it exhausts your soul. When your soul is tired, your physical body is going to feel tired too.
Your body is brilliant has found that the hormone cortisol, helps it battle the feelings of fatigue that could be caused by your lack of fulfillment in life, your stress, your grief... you name it.
Cortisol is a hormone that is released when the body is in a state of actual or perceived threat. It is here to keep us safe. If the ego is the bodyguard for the spiritual body, cortisol is the bodyguard for the human body.
This hormone helped our ancestors decide if they were going to run from a buffalo, fight/kill a buffalo, or hide in the bushes so the buffalo doesn't kill them. What I just described is an illustration of the "fight, flight, or freeze"options that become available to us when we are in a dangerous situation. Cortisol is the hormone that makes our heart pump more blood to our vital organs, our pupils dilate, our breath quicken, our digestion stop... all in the name of making us faster, stronger, and hyperaware of our surroundings.
Cortisol is wildly beneficial in the situation that your life is in danger. The problem that many of us face in these modern times, is our reliance on the hormone cortisol to help us get out of bed. To get us through the day. We're using cortisol incorrectly, and once we begin understanding how to support ourselves and our energy differently - our lives can shift dramatically.
If you're familiar with the self-help world, you might be accustomed to being aware that things are good for you, that you should do them, but you might not fully understand or know how to integrate them into your life. That's why this blog is here.
I'm going to explain breathwork to you in 3 sentences:
When our body is in a state of perceived threat (sympathetic nervous system arousal), our breathing gets shallow. You can trick your body into a parasympathetic system calm state by taking deep breaths. When you are able to take nice, slow, deep breaths, it means that you are consciously aware of your nervous system and you are the one who decides how it responds.
The next time you start to feel yourself getting even a little bit anxious, direct your attention to how it feels to breathe cool air in, and warm air out through your nose. You can say the affirmation "I am here" in your head as you are breathing.
Clutter in my environment. Feeling misunderstood. Actively recognizing shadows/repressed parts of myself. Tension in relationships. The grocery store. Financial strain. Slow/no progression towards goals. Existential crises. Feeling like I don't belong on this planet with these humans who are so cruel to one another. Not knowing what to cook for dinner. Knowing I can do more but not knowing how.
^These are some of the things that give me anxiety.
By knowing the things that cause me to feel anxious, I am able to heal them. You're invited to take a self-inventory of the things that bring you anxiety, so you are able to heal them too. We're more able to experience bliss, joy, and a sense of belonging when we don't feel anxious. You owe it to yourself to take a closer look.
So, triggers... because the full-blown panicked feeling is a crescendo of anxiety until our bodies can't handle it anymore and go into meltdown mode. If you know, you know.
I'd like to invite you to just be present with yourself. Simply observe any feelings, sensations, or areas of tension without having to know "why" or "what" or "how." If you feel tension in your body, I invite you to say "thank you for holding this stress, body. It is ok to let go of that now." Your body holds stress your mind cannot process - if you hurt all over, it could be your body trying to help you, not hurt you.
Stress is like a tower built of blocks. Each block represents a different stressor - and if the stressor isn't addressed and removed, another block will go right on top of the first, and then another and another and another. Eventually, the tower gets so high and wobbly that just one more block causes the whole tower, each block, each stressor, falls crashing down onto the ground... commonly experienced as a breakdown, slip into low mood/energy, panic attack, etc.
Awareness of our bodies and the sensations we feel is arguably the number one way to begin a successful healing journey of any kind, especially healing with anxiety.
The more frequently you check in with your body, the better you will understand its signals. This practice will help you notice triggers more keenly, thus giving you the opportunity to dismantle one block of the anxiety tower at a time.
When you are able to recognize that your body is telling you it is stressed, you are in the present moment, and you can anchor yourself more deeply in that moment by saying a simple affirmation that will extend the moment of presence and potentially snuff the flame of anxiety.
"I am here." "I am safe." "I am ok." "Everything is groovy." "Life is ok." "I am light."
Say one of those, or something of your own, with every deep breath until you're able to ensure the stress block is not added to the tower.
If you found this blog post to be helpful, be sure to subscribe to my mailing list to have more blogs like this delivered straight to your inbox. If you would like more support in discovering what your life can be like without anxiety, please email email@example.com to discuss the most effective approach for you as an individual.
Everything is Groovy,