Since when has worrying about something, becoming anxious and stressed ever helped a situation to resolve?
Choose how you respond to your environment.
If you are anxious about work, about politics, about a situation you are facing in your life, one of the things that may help is thinking about what outcome it is you would like to have. Stay very focused on what you want.
A few examples of this in action:
You’ve heard about the quake off the coast of Northern California and how Washington is due to have a quake at some point in the future that is unknown. It is causing you to be really anxious. In fact, you’ve even had problems sleeping and recently suffered a nightmare. You see in the news the devastation in Italy from the recent quake and reports of slow response to the crisis and it only builds your anxiety.
Ask yourself, if a quake were to happen where I live, what would the best outcome be? Maybe the best outcome is that you would be prepared? Now choose to focus on being prepared. You could then follow up with the question of what type of things would help me be prepared? What types of things am I currently able to have, do to be prepared? Then perhaps you do a little research, you look up the red cross website for natural disaster and see a link for building a preparedness kit. You make a list of items you have and can use and a list for items you’d like to have for a quake/disaster kit, for both in your home and automobile. You make a list of relative’s numbers and addresses for each family member so if you were to be split up you have a contact should as a check in communication point preferably outside of the zone of danger. You make a checklist of other helpful ideas. You may already begin to feel better just by making the checklist and beginning to prepare with a plan. Following through on the plan, which is recommended for even long power outages by the red cross doesn’t hurt anyone, it is good for you, good for your family and the environment. You already feel the anxiety levels begin to fall because you are taking action and preparing. The Boy Scout model is “Be Prepared”.
You’ve been listening to the Elections on the radio. You’ve also seen many inflammatory posts on Facebook. You are worried about the state of our great nation. You feel powerless and worry about World War, and cataclysmic events.
Focus on what you want – In this example lets say you want peace, a feeling of security and empowerment. Ensure when you read a post or listen to talk radio you get the facts and double check them with several fact checking websites. Chose to be empowered. Decide to vote. Ensure you know when and where to vote. Write letters to your representative in congress and the legislature so that they hear from the real live constituents in the district/area. Check to see if there are any local forums with chances to speak to your elected officials, such as community meetings. Maybe take a break from Facebook, reduce listening to talk radio or unsubscribe to lists that cause stress or anxiety. If you do decide to engage in social media, make a plan for how you will respond in advance to Facebook posts with suspect, false or inflammatory information – you have many choices on how to respond! You can link them to the correct information that has been fact checked, you can decide to not comment, you can hide them from your news feed until after the election, you can let them know a good website for learning about social activism that works to actually fix what they are complaining about or ask them to attend the community events in their area. Whichever you choose, think about the potential outcomes and decide if the action will bring about more calm in your world and be towards what you are focusing on (peace, your feeling of security and your empowerment) or if it will disrupt it. If your focus wasn’t changing your friend’s minds, perhaps blocking from your feed will be the best measure. If your focus was helping people stick to the facts and educating themselves sharing your knowledge, then perhaps the links would be best either shared privately or publicly. Again, knowing you have choices available and choosing to think about them or respond in a focused way can really bring down the anxiety levels.
Now let’s say you’ve focused on what you want, you’ve thought about ways to be proactive and maybe even have taken steps towards the outcome you want yet you still have unwarranted anxiety or anxiousness. Since anxiety is formed primarily by thinking of the future and of the futures uncertainty, one of the best ways you can release its grip is by being fully aware in the now, present moment. Anxiety doesn’t live in the now, it lives in the future.
Here are a few ideas to stay fully present.
One way is to meditate for one to two minutes. Start by noticing what your feet feel like, their position, their temperature, if you have any socks or shoes on what they feel like on the feet, if there are areas that have more pressure and less. Then notice your calves, your thighs, the weight of your body, its positioning on them, the feel of any clothing on the skin or if they are exposed the air temperature difference. As you work your way up into your hips, back, abdominal area, your chest and shoulders note any muscle tension and see if you can just relax the area, release it. Note your breathing, how your body moves to accommodate the breath, note the breath itself and if its deep or shallow, the temperature going in, the temperature going out, get fully in touch with the physical body. Note when you blink the moisture, or lack of it, around your eyes, note the feeling of your eyelashes on your skin when closed. Can you be aware of that gentle feeling? Listen to the sound of your breathing and note the sounds of what is going on in the area around you, the sound of electronics, the hum of traffic etc. One you settle your mind, repeat a calming mantra, such as “I am safe now.”
Other ideas are to keep a calming scent or essential oil with you and dab it on pressure points, noting the smell and let it soothe you. Take time to walk or be out in nature and reflect on it, note all the colors, textures and smells, note the changes of the season.
Have a playlist that lifts your spirits or calms you available.
Often we go on autopilot for so long, we lose touch with our bodies and the present moments. Take time to do mini-meditation, and small acts such as these to get in touch with your physical senses creating soothing environments, sounds, scents and feel the anxiety fade away.
•We do have a physical body, this post is not intended to provide or replace medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor or mental health care professional. This post does not claim to make a medical diagnose, cure or prescribe treatment.