Anxiety is the body’s normal reaction to any threat to our well-being. That’s right, we are wired for anxiety. But were we ever meant to feel anxiety? Or is it this felt-sense emotion simply our modern experience of ancient humans’ survival response?
Asking these questions might be interesting, but doesn’t help us heal. Because here we are, working with the present moment. And that is one of the fundamental keys to healing anxiety.
How Anxiety Works
Anxiety surges through the nervous system. Then you begin to feel symptoms you might not have realized could be attributed to anxiety; an increased heart rate, the breath speeds up or may become more shallow, you may feel stomach pain or nausea, or headaches. Then the mind joins the party and dives into a downward spiral of the past or future.
An anxious mind can never be still. It cannot be with what is.
But when you can find yourself in a state of presence, you do have the power to regain control over your mind and body.
That means you hold the power to heal.
Top 4 Ways to Begin Healing Anxiety
To heal, you first need to be aware that you are suffering from anxiety.
- Awareness means recognizing what the symptoms are
- Awareness of when anxiety is happening (timing)
- When you’re experiencing anxiety, step away from the situation causing it
- With awareness, you can work to change it
- Sometimes, awareness alone can shift the anxiety
Once you have awareness, you can work to track the experience and figure out what might be triggering anxiety
- You might be surprised at the triggers
- Anxiety can be triggered by so many things
- Potential triggers include everything from:
- Past trauma surfacing
- Foods/drinks (too much caffeine/coffee)
- Certain activities
- Time of day
- Lack of sleep
If you haven’t downloaded my Trauma Trigger Toolkit, check it out. Although it’s called “The Trauma Trigger Toolkit”, the entire purpose is to help calm the nervous system and identify triggers, which is a primary goal when healing anxiety.
One of the best things you can do is regulate your breathing on a regular basis, and especially as you feel anxiety surging.
- Slow, steady, breaths help to circulate oxygen
- Deep breaths, all the way into your stomach (beyond your chest)
- Dedicated pranayama (breathing) practices support calm, peaceful mind and body
4. Mindful embodiment (aka movement)
- This can help bring you into the present moment
- Takes you out of your mind, into your body
- Choose a movement you love (like dancing or playing basketball)
- Channel anxious energy into fun