6 Proven Ways to Reduce Anxiety

anxious woman

For some reason, anxiety has been a big subject with my coaching clients this week.  Maybe it is the time of year or something in the air, but it seems like a lot of people are feeling anxious.

That makes it the perfect time to share some of my strategies for stopping anxiety in it’s tracks.

4 Count Breathing – With the exception of real emergencies, anxiety is usually about something that may happen in the future or a reaction to something you already experienced. Focusing on your breathing brings you back to the peaceful present moment.  And, since your mind can only focus on one thing at a time, counting blocks out the thoughts that feed your anxious moments. It goes like this:

Take a deep breath in as you slowly count to 4

Hold your breath for a count of 4

Breathe out slowly to the count of 4

Pause before your next breath to the count of 4 

Challenge Your Anxiety – Most of what worries you never really happens.  It is probably not even true.  Your mind just takes you on a wild ride of creative bad scenarios.  I know mine sure does.  When this happens, ask yourself the following questions to bring your focus back into reality:

  • Can I be absolutely sure what I am anxious about will really happen?
  • Could I be blowing this out of proportion?
  • Am I really in danger right now?
  • Is what you are feeling temporary?
  • Do I really need to put my body into a fight or flight response now?
  • What are the facts?  What is the truth?
  • How would it feel to let this go and remember that I will be okay?

Give It To God – Many of the things that cause anxiety are not in your control.  So, what would happen if you just let the Big Guy handle them?  Let him know you are going to put the issue in his hands and will check in with him after a certain period of time.  And then, set the issue out of your mind until it is time to check in.  It is amazing how well this can work.

I give my concerns over to God every night before I go to sleep.  This not only allows for a good night of rest, but can be an excellent preventive measure in the battle with anxiety.  I often wake up with the worrisome situation being resolved or the solutions given to me. Sometimes, I just no longer care as it has lost it’s power over me.

Make Friends with It – Anxiety can feel like a big, powerful thing that has control over you, but that is just not true.  Many things that trigger anxious thoughts were installed in us when we were little and vulnerable and everything felt more powerful than it was.

When you see anxiety for what it really is you can relate to it in a different way.  Even make friends with it.  Some of my clients give their anxiety names like Minnie Mouse, Cookie Monster, or Jumpy George. Doing this facilitates seeing it in a different, less controlling way.

When it shows up, talk to it.  Thank it for offering to help and let it know that you are all grown up now and have things under control.  Have a nice little chat with your new friend and then give him a new assignment, like Protector of Peace or Facilitator of Fun.

Audit Your Input – What you put into your mind and body can contribute to either peace or anxiety.  I am often surprised when clients who drink a lot of caffeine or energy drinks don’t realize that this can contribute to their feeling anxious. You can cultivate more peace within by drinking calming teas and allowing your body and mind to work at their normal capacity.

Another way you can set yourself up for feeling tense and worried is by reading or watching movies and shows that are full of violence or tense energy, especially before bed.  If these are your preferred forms of entertainment give yourself a cushion between them and your bed time to let your body and mind calm down. Even better than that, switch to more peaceful, fun, or meaningful entertainment.  I once read that our bodies react to violence we watch or read as if it is really happening. Do you really want to put yourself through that?

Practice Peaceful Habits – Creating habits and practices that support your calm and well-being can lead to an anxiety free life.  Let go of what no longer serves you and bring in people and things that feed your soul.  Many of my clients find that simplifying their lives by de-cluttering and learning to say no make a big difference.  Others, will swear that exercise, art, meditation, prayer, yoga, or music have minimized the anxiety in their lives. Find what works for you and make a commitment to doing it regularly.

These tool have proven successful for my clients and myself.  I am confident that they can help you too.  Go ahead, give them a try.  You will find more peace when you do.

If you would like coaching support to deal with the anxiety in your life, I would love to help.  Contact Me

Related posts:

How to Cultivate Inner Peace

3 Steps for Successfully Navigating Life Challenges

Rewire Your Brain to Feel More Positive

4 Ways to Feel Abundant & Attract More Money

abundance wayne dyer

If you are a human on this planet Earth, you probably feel like you don’t have enough money.

Since money represents security, safety, and worthiness in our culture this can be a real problem.

The very thought of it can trigger thousands of voices in your head that make you feel afraid for your future or not good enough.

And then, there is all of the programming you received as a child. Money is the root of all evil. It’s selfish to want money.  Our family will always be poor.  Rich people are the enemy. Continue reading

A Quick Solution to Being Stuck in Dilemma

 

dilemma lifecoachlinda.co

Back in the old days, when I worked as an employee, I had a boss that would often get stuck when facing a decision. The voices fighting for each option in his head would keep his mind spinning and paralyze him at the same time.

Sound familiar? It happens to me too.

My former employer would keep talking to me about whatever the issue was, but just could not move forward.  He was knee deep in dilemma.

Until I found the magic question. Continue reading

What Do Life Coaches Really Do?

helping hand

There is still a lot of confusion about what life coaches do.  Even coaches have trouble explaining it.  And, everyone seems to be a coach these days.  How confusing is that?

In general, a professionally qualified life coach will listen carefully and provide support, perspective, guidance, new skills and tools, motivation, accountability, and champion you along the way to your best life.

Who doesn’t want that?

Most clients work with a life coach because they: Continue reading

3 Ways to Feel More Empowered When Facing a Challenge

strong woman

When something or someone challenges us it is easy to get stuck in the idea that things should be different. Really stuck.

You can tell when this happens because you will find yourself marinating in a yucky, heavy feeling. You might hear yourself complaining, comparing, blaming, or asking, Why? Why? Why?

This is your victim mentality showing up and it is the opposite of being empowered.

When you recognize that you have fallen into the victim trap, you can make a choice to face the situation in a more positive and effective way. Here is how: Continue reading

How to Tell the Difference Between Fear and Intuition

intuition

In those crazy moments when we don’t know what to do or even how to begin to make a decision, intuition is the answer.

Fear doesn’t understand positive risk and thinks we are still two years old.  It wants to keep us safe but is deeply misguided.  We can’t trust our minds because they spin between different answers, telling us yes in one moment and no in the next.

Learning to discern which voice is your intuitive inner knowing is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and you can start right here: Continue reading

When to Let Go of Trying To Figure Things Out

answers

Persistence comes in handy. Without it I never would have the success I have today or even have figured out what was wrong with my printer this morning.

I’ve used persistence to help find answers when they were elusive and often felt inspired by Marie Forleo’s message that “everything is figureoutable”.

But then, something happened that made me realize choosing not to try and figure things out can also be an empowering choice.  Here’s how it went down: Continue reading

How Wayne Dyer Saved My Life

Wayne Dyer

Yesterday, I watched Wayne Dyer with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday and as usual felt inspired by what he had to say. Later in the day I learned he had passed on, or as he would say – left his human body behind.

Since then memories have been coming forward of how his words have touched my life over the years. He is the one I credit with starting my journey toward healing and becoming who I am today.  Continue reading

How to Use Pen and Paper to Heal and Expand Your Life

writing in nature

Call me old fashioned, but I think there are some things best done with pen and paper.  Don’t get me wrong, I have hundreds of documents in my computer, but I’ve seen real magic happen through the act of writing the way it’s been done for years.  Continue reading

A Simple, Proven Way to Clear Your Mind of Negative Thoughts

negative thinking

Your brain is a great tool, but sometimes your mind can drive you crazy. It can get into repetitive loops with the kinds of thoughts that bring you down or hold you back. Or, it can just spin out of control. If you are like most human beings, you are experiencing both.

Here is a simple way to retrain your brain and let go of these negative patterns of thinking:  Continue reading

How to Reconnect with Your Most Powerful (or Joyful, or Loving) Self

empowered woman

It was a few days before my client would give her first presentation before a group and anxiety was starting to bubble up. She asked for my help in minimizing her fear before it boiled over.  Continue reading

15 Money Saving Tips that Help You Avoid Impulse Buying

shopping impulse buys

If you want to avoid impulse buying it may feel like the odds are stacked against you. Advertisers, stores, and even your peers are masters of hypnosis.  They hypnotize you into believing your long term goals don’t matter and there is nothing more you want in the world than to buy their product.

You become their puppet, disconnected from who you really are and what you really want.

Unless, you utilize the following tips …   Continue reading

Suffering is Optional

sad woman

Things happen in life that cause pain and are hard to understand.  This is true.

When they happen it is important to allow yourself to feel your feelings, which often include sadness, anger, or loss.  When you allow your feelings to process, you will be able to heal and eventually move forward.  Continue reading

How to Prevent Those Where Did I Put My Car Keys Moments

distracted and forgetful

I lost my favorite pair of yoga pants. In my house. They have to be here somewhere, but I can’t find them. I’ve been looking for days.

And, I am not alone. My clients and friends talk about it often. One found her earrings in her underwear drawer and another opened her freezer the other day and discovered frozen car keys.  Continue reading

Need Clarity Quick? Try These Magic Questions

confused woman

My client was in a dilemma. She had been invited to join friends on a weekend getaway that sounded exciting, but there was one person going that always seemed to cause some kind of drama.

She kept saying she would like to go, but…  Continue reading

How I Let Go of Cable TV

woman cutting cable tv cord

A couple years back I got a great deal on cable TV. It was almost free when I bundled it with my other services.

When the special rate was over, I was astonished at how much the cost went up and decided to research other options. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford it, I just couldn’t rationalize paying so much when there were other possibilities.

And so, my TV research adventure began… Continue reading

How I am Surviving a Crisis

my cat Joey

My little 3 year old cat Joey is very sick.  He almost died.  And, still could.

Being totally human, I went off the deep end with worry.  I created stories about terrible outcomes and took his fear and upset personally, especially when he seemed to not trust me anymore.  It broke my heart.  Continue reading

Fear and Anxiety – How to Make Friends with Your Lizard Brain

T-Rex dinosaur
For some reason I have been hearing the term “lizard brain” a lot this week.  This is a nickname for the part of your brain that deals with survival and creates your fight or flight response.  You may think of it as your own personal freak out zone.  Continue reading

The Art of Waiting In Line – How I Survived My Visit to the Post Office

People waiting in line impatiently

There I was at the post office.  I had just walked a few miles up and down hills in my neighborhood and I was covered with a sheen of sweat.  According to my reflection in the window, my hair was standing up on end.  It was one of those lay low times when I was hoping not to be seen and instead I ended up stuck in a long, very slow line, with a lot of angry people.

There were conversations up and down the line full of complaints against the post office, government, and the world in general.  The worst offender was in front of me.  He had a big voice and used it quite effectively.  I knew I didn’t want to listen to negativity while I waited, so I engaged him in a conversation.  When I mentioned that it sounded like he didn’t like being there and I was wondering if he was going to choose to leave, I think I might have upset him.  It was probably my calm and gentle nature that saved me.

I shared with him that when I walked in and saw the line I knew I had a choice and mailing my granddaughter’s birthday gift felt worth staying.  And then, I asked him about his family and shifted the conversation to something more positive.  I did throw in a few coachy moments, though, hoping something might stick and help him feel more positive in the future.

Waiting in line is a choice.  What you do while waiting is also a choice.  It’s really quite simple, but also an art.

Here is how you can up level your waiting experiences.

Evaluate the situation impartially.  What are the facts here?  How long are you likely to wait? How important is the end result to you?  Can you change the situation for the better?

Make a choice.  Either you choose to get in the line or you don’t.  Once the decision is made, stop thinking about it unless you get new information to re-evaluate.

Find ways to make the best of the situation.  Avoid joining in with the complainers.  It will only make you feel bad and lower your energy.

Choose something to do while in line.  The ideas I came up with at the post office included:

  • People watch
  • Sing the national anthem
  • Give my mind an assignment to work on
  • Let it roam
  • Make farting noises
  • Practice mindful meditation
  • Do stretching exercises
  • Engage others in conversation

(It seems I chose the higher road.)

It is easy to resist these moments of inconvenience, yet that very resistance that entices you is the real source of your discomfort. You can actually have fun in line.  Meet great people.  Get things done.  Fantasize.  Or, according to this Huffington Post article, even make it a joyful experience.

The next time you find yourself one of many in a long line, don’t forget that it is a choice you felt had value.  Instead of dwelling on the negative, see it as an adventure and find a way to use the time to your advantage.  Who knows?  Maybe there is someone in that line you are meant to meet or being there is preventing a car accident you might have been in.

What I do know for sure is that developing the art of waiting in line and recognizing it as a choice, feels more peaceful and empowering than any of the other alternatives.

I’m curious.  What are your favorite things to do when while you wait?  You can share in the comments below …

Rocks: A Story of Finding Beauty on the Other Side of Resistance

rocks balanced on each other

 

When I first moved into my house I felt sure one of the first things I would do would be remove the landscaping rocks that filled the planting areas. I envisioned soft, rich earth I could dig my hands into and a yard filled with home grown vegetables and beautiful plants and flowers.

When spring came that first year, I was fired up and ready to get rid of the rocks.  I started digging, but soon discovered they were everywhere and had infiltrated deep into the soil.  I gave up after digging down a couple feet and finding no end to them.   The next year, with a renewed sense of motivation, I tried again.  This time, I dug as deep as 3 feet in one area only to find the soil was still full of rocks.

I started to hate those rocks and may have even said a few four letter words, which is very unusual for me.  

The third year, I decided to stop resisting and simply accept them.  I even bought more rocks to replenish areas where they had grown thin on top.  Potted plants and succulents became my new garden style.

And then, something strange happened.  

While out on my morning walks, I started to be drawn to rocks along the path.  I was intrigued by their shapes and felt compelled to take some of them home.  I didn’t understand what was going on, but trusted my instincts.

One day, I sat down with the pile of rocks I had gathered and started balancing them on each other.  I became mesmerized by their shapes and how they fit together in magical ways.  The results were both interesting and beautiful. I had come full circle.  Instead of resisting rocks, I now loved them.

Because of this experience, when I find myself resisting something, I remember the potential for beauty and transformation that can come when I let the resistance go. 

And, because it can happen for me, I know it can happen for you, too.  Are you willing to let go of resistance and find out what magic is waiting on the other side?

This was first posted on my old blog in 2014 as part of a blog challenge about teachable moments.

Photo: rock sculptures in my yard