We all experience anxiety and stress at times in our life. Anxiety is a normal stress response to help us when we are in a difficult situation. However, when it takes over it can become incredibly stressful and prevent us from living a happy, full life. Anxiety can become debilitating and prevent us from doing the things we love doing, like going out with friends, going to the gym or places where there are a lot of people. It can limit our life experiences and keep us afraid. The more we become anxious, the less we feel we can do and this often leads to depression.
So what can you do when you start feeling anxious?
When you start to feel anxious, notice where you are feeling 'the anxiety' in your body. Is your heart racing? Are you feeling hot and sweaty? Are you shaking? Notice where you are feeling it.
Your heart rate will have increased, this is your body's way of trying to protect you. However, you need to tell it that actually you are ok, and reduce your heart rate.
To do this, take a long deep breath in through your nose, get the oxygen to the brain to circulate, hold it there for 5 seconds. When you release your breath, blow out very slowly through your mouth like you are blowing through a straw. Hold for 5 seconds then repeat this process. Mean while, while concentrating on your breathing, you focus on an affirmation such as "I am calm" or "I am at peace" or "I am feeling good". Follow this with; "All is well in my world". Keep focusing on your breathing and when your mind wanders (as it will) focus on your affirmation.
You need to reprogram your brain from "I am anxious and I need to fight or fly" to "I am actually ok"
If you were feeling the anxiety most in your chest focus on relaxing this area, say "I am calm and relaxed" over and over.
This exercise will help you when you are feeling anxious in most situations. The key is to practice it a lot! Positive affirmations are the way to retrain your brain.