- First, pay attention to your anxiety by noticing your breathing and scan your body for any signs that tell you that you are anxious. Ask yourself: Where am I tense? Is my breathing labored? Am I holding my breath?
- Second, look within to find which emotion or emotions are linked to or are being covered by the anxiety: Is it love, anger, guilt, or grief? Is it the subset of pain and longing?
- Third, sit straight in a chair or lie down and breathe in through your mouth for two counts, hold your breath for two counts, and then exhale for four counts. Repeat the exercise three or four times, filling your belly on the inhale and releasing all the air on the exhale.
When you’re anxious, I suggest you take a few moments to follow these steps, remembering to repeat the exercise three or four times, as I do. Mindfully fill your belly as you inhale and release all the air as you exhale.
After you’re comfortable doing this for a count of two, you may want to move up to inhaling for three counts, holding for three, then exhaling for six counts. You may eventually move up to inhaling for a longer time if that feels good to you, and always remember to follow it with a double count on exhaling. Choose the count that works best for you.
If you practice this exercise it will soon become natural, and it will keep you relaxed and able to reduce anxiety when it bubbles up.
You may find yourself resisting the idea of doing the breathing exercise, but remember, it’s all part of learning to love yourself! Why would you want to be anxious if there’s a way to reduce your anxiety? Your being doesn’t want to be anxious; your anxiety, when in the case of an actual threat being absent, is all part of the fight or flight system that your machinery and your default programming needlessly call into action at the expense of your peace of mind and health.
An excerpt from my recent book, Your Mind Is What Your Brain Does for a Living, now available at Amazon.
- 18 May, 2015
- Posted by Steve Fogel
- 0 Comments