5 Tips to Gain Control Over Your Anxiety
Most problems of the mind come from not being in the present moment.
We tend to spend most of our day in the past or in the future, most psychological philosophers agree that depression tends to be rooted in the past while anxiety is tied to the future.
Depression <<< Present Moment >>>Anxiety In this new series of “ASK IZZY” the following question was asked:
“What is the biggest way to alleviate anxiety?”
Therefore, the biggest way to alleviate anxiety is to practice being more mindful in order to be in the present moment. Although this is simple to write, this is not a magic pill or something you can learn within a week. So, I will also give you an additional 2 answers. The fastest way to alleviate anxiety is reprogramming the subconscious which can be done through years of meditation and mindfulness practices OR it can be done in 1-6 hypnotherapy sessions depending on the extent of subconscious layering that has led to anxiety.
My additional answer is 5 lifestyle changes that can be implemented daily to assist in gaining control over your anxiety; these assist with finding balance in your body, mind and life, as well as help, develop your ability to be in the present moment.
We will dive deeper into the following:
Pause & Breathe. That age-old saying of “Take 10 deep breaths” was spot on.
Exercise Daily. As the infamous Elle Woods said, “Exercise gives us Endorphins and Endorphins make us happy, and Happy people just don’t kill people.”
Protect Your Gut. Your gut is setting the mood for your mind.
Find Balance. There needs to be a balance of Yin and Yang – Stress & Release. Stress creates a build-up and can lead to burnout.
Awareness. Become aware of the triggers and commonalities to better prepare and prevent.
1. The Pause is important to establish in order to find the present moment and to gain the skill set of #5 Awareness (which will take more practice). As you pause take the classic “10 deep breaths” but try this with a hand on your belly and fill up your midsection. Again, anxiety most likely has pulled you from the present moment and sling-shot you into a time warp into the future. By bringing one hand to your belly and the other hand to a surface (table, chair, wall, person) this allows you to physically feel the present moment. The deep belly breaths allow you to communicate with your body and physiologically create a relaxation response. By taking control of the breath we can communicate to the mind and body that we are not in danger. Deep belly breaths push on the vagus nerve (located behind the diaphragm) and full lung breathing also gives your heart a little massage. Inhale for 4 and Exhale for 4 – repeat 10 times.
2. Exercise Daily. As the infamous Elle Woods said, “Exercise gives us Endorphins and Endorphins make us happy, and Happy people just don’t kill people.” Not only should we exercise for the good brain-boosting hormones but also to release the build-up of stress hormones that are collecting in your body. The build up of stress can lead to some just wanting to sleep, others feeling the need to scream, and some have a panic attack. The body senses stress and in cave-man times this typically equaled “RUN” but now its a sit and keep your mouth shut so that you don’t get fired or throw something at someone. However, all of those hormones that would make you run for long-distance and be on high alert are still in your body and need to be used or burnt off. So, find something exhilarating like a punching bag, a quick sprint, or jumping jacks to empty the Fight-or-Flight response.
3. Protect Your Gut. Your gut is setting the mood for your mind. For one, if you have ever had a “gut feeling” then you can recognize the power the gut has over you. Second, when extreme anxiety hits it has big effects on the gut by shutting it down or full emanation. Third and most importantly the food you eat is fuel to good or bad bacteria that fill your microbiome and can hijack your mood. More and more research shows a connection to diet and mental conditions as well as the power the microbiome has over our entire body. This can explain why we don’t feel like we can just will ourselves into a better attitude when struck by anxiety or a panic attack. There are many factors at play.
4. Find Balance. This may be scheduling alone time or time with people. If you are sitting inside all day then ask yourself what is the opposite you can do, to counterbalance your day? Your day, week, and life needs a balance of Yin and Yang – Stress & Release. Stress creates a build-up and can lead to burnout. If you feel you are in your head all day then schedule a time to just be in your body or vice versa.
5. Awareness. Become aware of the triggers and commonalities to better prepare and plan preventative protocols. As previously mentioned, the pause is an important component to notice and become the observer. As you become the observer you may start to notice trends like “I have more anxiety in the evening” and that leads to “I have anxiety in the transition from work to home chores.” As you become aware this shifts the power back to you because now you can plan to break the cycle. You may have heard that meditation has been shown to lower anxiety intensity or frequency, this happens as we improve our mental observation muscle, learn how to be in the present moment, and build knowledge of our thoughts. The best meditation for this is a Thought Labeling Meditation.
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