Everyone gets nervous or worried sometimes. Anxiety is a natural emotion that puts us on high alert so that we can better deal with tough situations. But, for people who suffer from anxiety disorders, it can become debilitating. Our anxiety can be triggered by everyday things that do not cause a moments distress to someone else. A knock on the door, standing in line at the store, talking on the phone…so many things can become a source of distress for someone with an anxiety disorder.
The Reiki Principles tell us, just for today, do not worry. So, what can be done when someone suffers from an anxiety disorder to minimize the effects of anxiety and live by this principle? Here are some tips for dealing with anxiety the next time it strikes:
1. Listen. Listen to the message your body is giving you with the anxiety. Acknowledge it without judgment. Do not judge the anxiety as good or bad. Do not judge if the anxiety is for good reason or silly. Just notice it is there. Try thanking your body for the message and then move forward to try to let go of the emotion.
2. Self-talk. Just for today, I will not worry. Remember this principle and repeat it to yourself when anxiety hits. Talk yourself down. Just for today, I will not worry. I will be calm and peaceful. I will have hope and faith. I am okay. The Universe has my back. Everything will be alright.
3. Breathe. Focus on your breath. Breathing will calm your mind and your body. Feel the breath enter your nose and follow it as it flows through you and back out your mouth. Notice the slight still point between breaths. Let your breath anchor you back into the moment.
4. Be aware. Let yourself become aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to the everything around you. What is your body in contact with? How does the contact feel? What is the temperature around you? Is there a breeze? Do you notice any smells? Look at the objects around you without thinking of their use, just notice them. What shapes and colors do you see?
5. Smile. The physical act of smiling releases stress reducing enzymes. According to a five-year study conducted by the University of Kansas, forcing a smile for 60 seconds after a stressful situation can greatly reduce the levels of stress hormones in our bodies. Participants of the study reported feeling fantastic after the exercise, even when feeling very stressed just moments before. https://mellowed.com/smiling-reduces-stress/
6. Pray. Ask God, the Universe, Spirit, your guides, your ancestors, your angels, or even your own higher self to help you through it. Even those who do not consider themselves religious can find some higher power to turn to for help.
7. Move. Run, walk, dance, do jumping jacks…anything to get yourself moving. Get into your body and really feel it. Pay attention to the way your muscles move and how they feel, notice your breathing and heart rate increasing, feel your feet hitting the ground and the air around you. This helps you take control of the physical response to the anxiety, increases endorphins, decreases stress hormones, and gets you out of your head.
The next time you feel overtaken by worry or anxiety try out these tips and see if any of them work for you. Remember these are coping skills and developing skill takes practice. Try to pick one of the methods above to use as a “go to” for a while. Practice it when you aren’t feeling anxious as well as when you are. Give it some time and see if it helps. If not, move on to something else. Don’t give up on your ability to deal with these feelings.