Sometimes the simplest things really are the most powerful. Anyone who knows me, will know that I have done a lot of spiritual, emotional, and psychological work on my journey to transform my relationship with anxiety. And I am very committed to all my practices – all of it amazingly valuable, insightful, and enlightening.
But weirdly, I think the three things that probably had the biggest immediate impact on reducing my anxiety levels were much more down to earth!
When you experience physical symptoms related to your anxiety, they are generated by your amygdala. All anxiety is generated there. But it doesn’t all originate there. Activity in your cortex (worrying, negative forecasting, catastrophising) can all prompt your amygdala to respond in its usual (mostly unhelpful!) way.
But when you experience a sudden physiological response (the fight, flight or freeze response, pounding heart, throbbing deep inside, tunnel vision, sweating, trembling, scanning for exits – you know all the good stuff!) for no apparent reason, you are likely experiencing Amygdala-based anxiety.
This is your primitive mind reacting to an emotional memory from your subconscious.
Something random could trigger this memory (there’s not a lot of logic in your primitive mind) and more often than not, your conscious mind will know nothing about it (which is why sometimes the search for a trigger can create more anxiety and be counter-productive).
It’s a physical ‘thing’
So sometimes, it needs a ‘physical’ response.
Btw, these are not ‘in the moment’ tips.
These are changes in your general behaviour and actions, which will result in changes in your body, which could (probably will) reduce (not exacerbate?) the physical reaction to panic when it comes up.
Got it? Good.
These three things…
They sound so simple, right?
But far from easy!
I had become ever so attached to my TV sending me off to sleep.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but what I thought of as the ‘soothing’ sounds of conversation and the flickering lights sending me off to sleep, were actually an excuse to not have to deal with the anxious thoughts that came up in the dark and the silence…
It also caused ‘crazy’ overstimulated dreams and bad quality sleep.
Sometimes, I wouldn’t shut off until gone 3.00am – then berate myself when I couldn’t spring out of bed in the morning! (TBH – it’s never really been my thing! But I am so much better now!)
This was a biggie for me to let go of. The thought of doing without my ‘friend the television’ filled me with panic!
But, the amygdala learns by experience.
So, from the very first night I went to sleep without it and each and every night since, I am teaching my primitive mind I am safe, calm and can do this!
No TV required.
I found it almost impossible to eat in the day because my anxiety was so intense I couldn’t feel hunger until anxiety had subsided (usually when I was home, relaxed and able to tune into my body again).
Here’s a blog I wrote about this.
The problem is, lack of food puts your reptile brain on high alert causing more anxiety! Ah, that ‘hilarious’ vicious circle!
So, now – I eat food! What a revelation!
And the caffeine?
Well, I guess that’s just common sense, right?
But, I was (am???) addicted to a good old cup of tea – there really is nothing like it.
All-day. All evening and into the night.
This was a tough one, and I don’t always get it right (I’m embracing imperfection!), but just limiting caffeine later in the day has helped to slow my mind, slow my heart and help me to relax in the lead up to bedtime.
All adding up to more restful sleep.
When we’re not rested, or if we’re underfed, or overstimulated (or all three!) we are ‘easy prey’ for our primitive mind.
So, these three ‘apparently’ simple steps really helped me take back some physical control.
Do any of these resonate with you? What simple thing could you do today to take back some physical control of your symptoms?
If you’d like to discuss this aspect of taking control of your anxiety or any other element, please drop me a line and let’s book a call.
Hi there, my name’s Kathryn and I’m an Anxiety Release Coach at My Chakra Life.
My mission is to help women live anxiety-free; reconnecting with their inner light, so they can shine in their career or business with CONSCIOUS, CALM, CONFIDENCE.
Over the last ten years, I have honed and tweaked the tools and techniques which worked for me, into my three-stage Anxiety Release Process:
Why not join us in our Facebook Group – our community for creative women learning to live anxiety-free, reconnect with their inner-selves, and shine in their career or business with conscious, calm, confidence.
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