Last week I discussed how to evaporate intense feelings like anger and rage by sitting in the emotion and feeling it without acting on it. This week I want to discuss dealing with fear and anxiety.
If you sit in anxiety and fear, you tend to intensify the experience. Think about it like this, when you jam your finger in a door or hit your thumb with a hammer and you concentrate on the pain, the pain intensifies. Concentrating on the pain, submerging deeply into the pain, doesn’t make the pain go away. It actually makes the pain feel more intensified; it makes it feel worse.
The same happens with anxiety and fear. If you focus on anxiety, if you merge into the anxiety, then you will simply become more anxious and more fearful. The technique that helps anger disappear is not going to help fear and anxiety disappear.
I have a real love of dealing with life how the body deals with things.
The Physicality of Anger and Anxiety
Anger and Anxiety stem from the adrenal glands’ fight/flight response. Anger is the fight component while anxiety is the flight response. If the body has designed its survival on stimulating anger to take action by being right there, present, and not moving away from the situation then logically, in my brain, the way to transform anger is to sit in it, and be present to it.
The flight response is about moving away from the threat. When faced with fear and anxiety the body doesn’t survive by staying in danger or in the fear or anxiety but instead the body’s natural emphasis is to remove you from it. Therefore, the technique that will release anxiety is one that moves your focus from the anxiety and puts it somewhere else.
The technique to manage anxiety involves focusing completely on the now, to be in this very moment, and nowhere else with your thoughts. This is how you allow the anxiety and fear to slowly disperse and lose its control over you.
How do you get control of your mind by being in the Now and focusing on what you are doing in the present moment?
The first step is breath – long, slow, consistent, deep breathes.
Focus your full attention to breathing – count to five as you breathe in, holding the breath for the count of five, and then release the breath out as you count to five. Focusing on your breath brings your full attention to the present moment. By counting to yourself you force you mind to focus on what you are doing right now.
As you feel calmer you can set about getting on with your day. But, it’s vital you stay completely and absolutely focused on your very current activity otherwise the anxiety will seep back in and take over your mind again. This is a very literal step in the process!
I love talking to myself, so this is a breeze for me. But to keep your mind busy focusing on the now you need to give it something to focus on. So, talk to yourself as you go – I’m moving my right foot, I’m moving my left foot, I’m opening the fridge, I’m getting out the carrots, I’m running the water to wash the knife… the more you do this the more you will notice that your anxiety will lessen.
Depending upon what you are feeling nervous or anxious about, will depend on how long you will need to keep doing this exercise. You may find you will get to the point where you won’t need to say your every action out loud because you will have learnt to control your mind to stay focused only on what you are doing and not let the anxiety in. The key is stopping unwanted thoughts from coming into your mind.
Once you can stop unwanted thoughts you have the skill to then manage your emotional responses to events as they happen. This is a vital, empowering skill to learn! It will make it easier to implement the “Just say STOP!” technique. Saying STOP to your thoughts works too but knowing how to shift your focus enhances its success.
It would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention some flower essences that support nervous, anxious, and fear-based emotions.
I make a Resilience Spray which may assist with supporting you to feel strong, resilient, and courageous to face any adversity, knowing that you will survive it, because you can flow with circumstances as they appear.
Here is a list of other essences you can use:
Rock Rose – releases terror and fear; great for panic attacks
Star of Bethlehem – releases shock whether current or in the past
Aspen – unknown fears and anxieties, nightmares, panic attacks
Mimulus – known fears, insecurities, anxieties, timid, afraid of loud noises, hypersensitive
Chamomile – calms nervousness that causes stomach upsets; helps you process your daily life as it occurs stopping a build-up of emotional congestion that causes insomnia
Garlic – anticipatory anxiety
Mountain Pride – gives you the strength and resilience to face any adversity
Penstemon – helps you know that everything happens at its own pace, and nothing lasts forever, provides tenacity in adversity
Illyarrie – provides the strength to know you can face any pain and survive
Practice focusing your mind in the NOW. How did you go?