Anxiety is everywhere these days, we all experience it and some people experience anxiety on a gargantuan level on a regular basis, but it’s a perfectly normal and natural feeling! Anxiety is our body and brain looking after us.
Any feeling you can experience, then of course you can “un-experience” it. I know those of you reading this who have Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or suffer from anxiety often probably think that I’m talking out of my derrière!
Know this, you were not born with GAD, it’s just learnt behavior or conditioned response you have built into yourself.
I am going to explain a very useful tool that I use daily in my practice to help people to manage those symptoms. Don’t think for one minute that anxiety is going to leave you forever, it is there to help you and to look after you.
Of course if we are having “anxiety attacks” on a regular basis then this is a problem, a problem that CAN be changed.
It’s often the simple things in life that can be perceived as a threat to us, e.g. an unexpected bill, social situations, a new task at work or being late etc. Even the constant worries of “did I do it right” “is it good enough” can flood the mind of someone with GAD however, you can relax, it’s just anxiety and as I said, it’s completely normal to experience those feelings.
So “how can I reduce those feelings?” Firstly I want you to understand that this is not YOUR anxiety or as some say, “MY anxiety”, it is simply just anxiety and anyone can use the following when flooded with anxiety to help you reduce those uncomfortable feelings and take control again.
- Think of a time when you felt calm, imagining all those feelings as though you are there, with all the sights, smells and feelings you had when you were calm, hold those feelings.
- Now, with either hand, dig your thumbnail into the flat part of your index finger (as if you were holding a pen), but don’t hurt yourself. Hold this while you think of that calm memory.
- Release, and look around the room.
- Repeat steps 1, 2 & 3 two more times.
- Repeat steps 1,2 & 3 with the feelings of confidence (three times in total).
- Repeat steps 1,2 & 3 with the feelings of being in control (three times in total).
What you have just done is “anchor” in these positive feelings with a physical connection.
We naturally build in anchors to ourselves all the time, like when you smell something and think, “Oh, that reminds me of being back at school” or that song we hear that reminds us of our teenage years, and this is often done when we get anxious over something.
So how can this anchor help? – When you are experiencing anxiety you can deploy your new anchor skill and those feelings of calm, comfort and being in control will come flooding back and the uncomfortable feelings we begin to reduce.
Anyone can do this and use it as and when you need to and as often as you need to. What’s more is that you can keep stacking more positives feelings into your current anchor and it is subtle so no one will know you are using it.
I have one last quick technique that you can use and it uses movement of the eyes. I would suggest that you do not use this if you are wearing contact lenses.
You can use this while using your anchor and while in a moment of anxiety.
- Look straight ahead.
- Move your eyes from left to right horizontally about 20 times.
That’s it, only 2 steps, yeah I know, trust me give it a go and let me know how you get on.