Feeling anxious is a part of being human. We can’t run away from anxiety if we are fully participating in life. If one of my adult children were to be diagnosed with a life altering illness, I would become an anxious mother. Going through two divorces, I felt anxious about how I would move forward with my life. Everyone has been through difficult times which gave rise to anxious feelings. Yet for some, coping with anxiety is a daily challenge and requires professional attention.
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress; however, excessive anxiety can lead to phobias, panic attacks, PTSD and health related issues. Medical or psychological interventions offer some relief for these disorders. However, most event-specific anxiety (life changes, relationship conflict, illness, minor loss, etc ) can be worked through with a positive attitude, basic coping skills and effective protocols.
The following strategies have been effective in eliminating the physical and emotional discomfort of anxiety: herbs, essential oils, meridian tapping, breathing exercises, mindfulness exercises, hypnosis, yoga, massage, prayer and contemplation, acupuncture, distraction activities, exercise, food, beverages, psychotherapy, and medication. One acupuncture treatment restored me to calm and ease after I received a cancer diagnosis. Without the internal trembling, I was able to research treatments and choose the ones that were right for me.
Both anxiety and fear trigger a physical response within your body: fight (take on the battle), flight (avoid the situation) or freeze (hide from it). However, a chronic state of “high alert” compromises your physical health and emotional well-being.
Below is the Look, Listen and Act Approach to reducing and eliminating anxiety. It allows you to change your perception, take your power back and move through anxiety with ease:
LOOK – Stop and face the imagined fear. Accept (do not judge) your feelings or yourself. Allow anxiety to move through you instead of run or hide from this feeling. When you focus on and slow down your breathing, you are then able to stop the internal chatter and think clearly. You might say to yourself as you take some slow deep breaths, “My stomach is churning when I think of facing my husband in court but right now I am safe.” (Tune into the safety of the present moment not the future event that is happening in your mind.)
LISTEN – Observe and decipher the message within the fear. Fear is a signal that something isn’t right, whether it is imagined (false evidence appearing real) or a real threatening situation.
- What are my body and mind trying to tell me?
- What is the perceived threat to me right now?
- What can I do right now to take my power back? Options: Change your thoughts and reduce your stress; change the situation by taking charge; or remove yourself from the situation.
- What will I do if the worst thing happens? Create a plan.
ACT – Proceed with an action that changes your relationship to the fear through some positive intervention: go for a walk, do yogic breathing or stretching, have a cup of herbal tea, exercise, ask a Higher Power to help you change your perception, surrender the outcome to a Higher Power, tap meridian points, say an affirmation or mantra, visualize a serene scene, call a friend for support, and more. Once the emotional turmoil has lessened, you are more able to take charge of what is within your power to change or let go of the situation.
These techniques enable you to keep a realistic and positive perspective as you acknowledge and move through your anxiety and fear. They give you a time out from turbulent emotions and physical discomfort in order to gain a new perspective that feels less threatening and may even help you replace anxiety with calm and ease. Over time, you might develop the habit of visualizing positive outcomes. You might even develop the ability to trust more and fear less.
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