EFFECTIVE STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME ANXIETY

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Use your body to create how you want to feel:

When you feel fearful or anxious, your body will always ‘wear’ it. What I mean here is that your shoulders will tense, your spine will bend and you’ll sit back on your hips, your head will dip, your face will tense, and your breathing will become shallow. Usually, all of these things happen, but at the very least, some of them.

Now, when these things happen, they also reinforce the fearful and anxious feelings. This is because there’s a constant synchronisation between how you feel on the inside and how your body appears on the outside.

The amazing thing about this, though, is that it’s two-way. It’s not just your feelings that affect your physical state, but that the way you hold and move your body also affects your feelings.

So when you feel fearful or anxious, shift your body into a strong, confident, or relaxed stance. And hold it for at least one minute. Make your posture purposeful. Not a half-hearted attempt at it. Make your body seem that it’s taking control. No ifs or buts.

Your brain quickly gets the idea that you must feel good because that’s what this physical posture is in synchronisation with. So quite quickly, you start to feel relaxed or confident.

Here, you’re using your body to create how you want to feel.

Practice kindness:

Genuine kindness takes you out of yourself. In the moment that your attention shifts onto the needs of another person, it shifts away from your own feelings.

Reach out:

Depending on the feeling. Sometimes, if it’s too much, I reach out to someone I know and trust. Just speaking to someone can make a huge difference. It can settle your nerves but also help you to just get some things off your chest.

The 5-5-5 technique:

This is a classic distraction technique that you can find online. When we feel fearful or anxious, the natural instinct is to focus even more on the thing we’re fearful or anxious about.

It’s because we’re trying to find some resolution to it in our minds. “If I do that then she’ll do this,” sort of thing. But this just puts us in mental spirals that make us feel even worse.

As a distraction, take a deep breath, look around you and name 5 things out loud that you see. Next, name 5 things that you can hear. Finally, move 5 parts of your body, one at a time.

It’s really handy in the moment, especially at the onset of fear or anxiety.

Do a victory dance:

An extension of this is to follow up with a silly dance once you’ve held your relaxed or confident posture for a minute or so. Mind you, it’s best if you do this when you’re on your own.

Simply burst into a silly dance. I call it a victory dance, as in celebrating victory in managing my state. Make it a silly dance, one that makes you smile. Again, due to the synchronisation between your internal and external state, this practice will actually help you not just reduce fear and anxiety, but you’ll feel lighter and more positive.

Do it for as long as you need to. And the more you practice it, the faster its effects work and the longer they last.

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