Sometimes we don’t even realise we are anxious then something hits us and all of a sudden we are in the midst of panic. It could be in the middle of the night, we could be sound asleep then all of a sudden we are awake sweating, heart pumping fast, feeling so sick with fear and for no apparent reason. Cortisol Levels are through the roof and leaves us feeling emotional drained and our energy levels at an all time low.
I have been there more times than I care to remember and it is the reason I am so interested in the how the brain works. After reading many books and watching some amazing TedTalks, I put into practice ways to rewire my brain.
Firstly STOP thinking about Anxiety, start creating the New You. What you focus on You get more of, so Stop thinking about how scared you feel and start practicing how you would like to feel. I picked a few people to research, Will Smith was my first personality, he has some amazing interviews of YouTube. So going to parties or events, I would train myself to adopt a more positive posture whilst going over how Will Smith would act, (sounds silly but really does work)
Secondly, Breathe…Yes simple but its the one thing we feel we are short of when we are feeling anxious. Start Counting in for 4 hold and out for 4, I also try and visualise a time when I felt confident and happy and breathe in and out from my heart, breathing long and deep sends the signal straight back to help the brain relax.
Do core or control based movements (such as yoga, pilates, dancing, tai chi etc). Challenge yourself to fully engage your brain and focus on the activity. Make sure it involves deep core contractions, and has an element of difficulty for your balance. recommend at least 5-10 minutes of different movements; you could add triangle or tree pose. Focus on your deep core contractions and the control of the movement. Then just switch your mind off and allow your cortex to take over.
Go through a series of isolated muscle relaxation exercises. Focus on different groups such as your shoulders, forearms, legs etc and actively let them go. Feel the tension releasing and floating away. Again, because stress makes us tense our muscles, by actively relaxing we are sending a subconscious signal back to the brain that everything is ok.
Perform for at least 5 minutes in a comfortable environment.
It can be quite liberating to know that simply moving your body in certain ways can modulate your internal responses to emotional stress, keeping you healthy and more relaxed!