How is it that we worry more as we get older and about things that would never have given us concern when we were younger?
Anxiety is a normal reaction and it happens when a part in the brain called the amygdale switches on when it thinks you’re in danger and you need protecting. It gets you ready by preparing you to either run away from danger or ready to fight it, also known as ‘Fight or Flight’. When the amygdale senses danger it automatically and quickly floods your body with hormones, adrenaline and oxygen ready to fuel your muscles to run away or to fight. However the amygdale can’t tell the difference between something dangerous like a fall or being attacked and something less of a threat like an exam or a new job so if you don’t need to run away, all that fuel, oxygen, hormones such as adrenaline build up in your body.
Your body is amazing at protecting you from danger even if it isn’t sure what the danger is, it simply gets you ready to fight or flee.
However if you don’t worry so much, you won’t find as much to worry about as you are not using the worry muscle in your brain, so because it is not being used as much it will start to shrink.
Stopping worrying however is easier said than done I know but there are a number of tools I use to help manage stress and anxiety on a daily basis.
Breathing - A technique I use with my clients to help balance their breathing is Square Breathing. Think of breathing round a square, by taking a breath in for 4 counts up the LHS of the square, hold for 4 along the top, out for 4 down the RHS of the square and hold along the bottom for 4 and repeat. This lowers the stress hormones, heart rate and blood pressure.
Peripheral Vision –This moves us from focal vision which uses part of the brain linked to aggression and moves us to a different area of the brain linked to neutral emotion.
So how do you do it? Look straight ahead and raise your hands level with your ears and wiggle them like ‘jazz hands’. You are still looking in front of you but should be able to see your hands out of the corner of your eyes. It only takes our brain 1 and half minutes to let go of a negative emotion, unless you choose to hang onto it, then it takes much longer to get over it and likely to hold onto it unconsciously long term.
Acting Silly – Making yourself smile
Do something that makes you smile and works the positive emotion centers of the brain instead of the areas related to fear.
Mindfulness - Practising mindfulness in adulthood has been proven to help increase the grey matter in the brain and provide protection and relief from depression, anxiety and stress. Your brain is a muscle so by exercising it can help strengthen it and stop it from worrying about things it doesn’t need to.
1. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, how does the air feel as you draw breath, notice your belly rising and falling and if your mind does wander, come back to your breathing again.
2. What can you hear, how does your body feel inside and out as you do this. If your mind wanders, be aware and return your focus to your breathing, non judgementally.
Practise makes perfect for all of these exercises and remember your brain is a muscle so by exercising it helps to strengthen it and stop it from worrying about things it doesn’t need to.
There are lots of ways to start training it to be the most relaxed, stress-free and healthy but any of the above exercises are a great start. For long term help NLP, Hypnotherapy and Time Line Therapy are a fantastic solution to realign your mind and bring you back in balance.
If you would like a chat about how I can help you with anything that is causing you stress or worry please give me a call on 01252 706995 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to be able to help you in any area of your life you would like to address. http://www.mind-bodywellness.co.uk/anxiety.htm