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