Alleviating anxiety is something we all need to learn how to do. Anxiety shows up in many different physical ways. You might not even know that’s what’s going on within your body. Anxiety can cause your heart rate to beat faster than it normally would for no apparent reason.
You can get cramps in your stomach that are so sharp, you’ll wonder if you need to go to the doctor. Breathing escalates and a thousand thoughts race through your mind. You might even feel as if you’re about to pass out. In fact, your entire body, from head to toe can be affected by this feeling.
The most important aspect of dealing with anxiety that you should know is that you’re not alone. Millions of people deal with this and find that when they seek help, they learn how to deal with this very real feeling. They also learn that they aren’t dealing with any type of mental illness, and that what they feel is common.
There are different types of anxiety. For example, most people feel anxious when they have an important meeting or when the boss calls them into the office and they’re not sure why. Those are normal feelings.
The root of anxiety is found deep within the body in what’s known as our danger center. The feeling that we must fight or flee. You may have heard it referred to as ‘fight or flight’ feeling. This is actually a protective instinct that everyone has and adrenaline is often a by-product of anxiety. That’s why people can sometimes do seemingly superhuman feats. Now that you understand what anxiety is, let’s take a look at how people can work on alleviating anxiety.
Know that you can’t always avoid the stressful situation brings on how you feel. What you can do is change your response to that. In other words, you can act and stop reacting. If you’re in the middle of a stressful experience and can take a break, then do it. Go away from the event, the person or even the thoughts and do something else. Give yourself permission to take a mental break.
Do what you can to simplify your life. If you currently live a lifestyle where there’s a lot of chaos because life seems to happen around you, put up some stop signs. Stop rushing around in the mornings trying to get ready for your day. Get everything you need to do in the morning ready before you go to bed. Write out a list of what needs to be accomplished. Rather than making you feel worse, a list will help break down what seems overwhelming into manageable portions.
Alleviating anxiety differs from person to person. Some find it helpful to buy self help books or programs. Others need the use of medication and therapy. Whatever works for you, know that you don’t have to live with anxiety ruling your steps.
Mindfulness and biofeedback are other tools which can be useful in alleviating anxiety.
By mindful, I mean training myself to be aware of the feelings I am having and the thoughts running through my head.
A basic tenet of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is that feelings follow thoughts, and if I can learn to be a bit more mindful, I can take those beginning instants of anxiety and direct them toward a flow experience, which is described so well by Csikszentmihalyi in his book CREATIVITY.
The one thing that most of us who are working on mindfulness are not aware of is how fast the Central Nervous System works.
Again, according to Csikszentmihalyi in FLOW, I perceive and interpret sensory data in packages of seven bits at a time, and that data is composed of auditory and visual components mostly, like tone of voice and expression, and the shortest amount of time between packages is 1/18th second.
That is not much time to manage thinking and feeling.
However there is good news, you have been successful at this many thousands of time.
Another very useful tool is Heartmath heart rate variability biofeedback.
You can train the very sophisticated nervous system in your heart to respond to a cue thought (call it the Quick Coherence Technique) and a breathing pattern by regulating the time between heart beats.
I have been using the Heartmath tool personally and professionally for ten years. It is easy to learn, and works on any given heart beat, fits very well with mindfulness techniques, with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and I am sure your Doctor will not have a problem with your using a biofeedback technology with your medication, if you are going that route.
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Very early in my personal growth experience, a wise person taught me to use the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was resentful or afraid and that phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
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