If you suffer from anxiety then you may find it hard to believe that it actually has a positive intention. The symptoms you feel are your minds way of signalling to you that you need to avoid some perceived danger. Anxiety becomes a problem when your mind magnifies a potential threat, or perceives a threat where none exists. Appropriate levels of anxiety are actually beneficial, help motivate you, and keep you safe and on your toes. Prolonged stress and anxiety however can have the opposite effect. It can seriously impact your health, and reduce your resourcefulness, effectiveness, performance and decision making abilities.
The Stress and Anxiety Reduction Process
Learning a simple way to quickly rebalance your mind and body on a regular basis can have profoundly positive effects. Practised regularly, it can help you to feel much more positive, more emotionally balanced, feel less stressed and can improve your mental clarity. This simple but very effective process, comes from a blend of ideas from meditation, HeartMath and NLP.
Practice the process at least once a day for several weeks and remember, you are learning new habitual ways of thinking so be patient with yourself. The more you practice the easier and more automatic your new positive thoughts will become. It is also a particularly useful thing to do before anxiety and stress provoking events like meetings, presentations or interviews, or any time you just want to feel more calm and positive. Practice it regularly for at least 5 to 15 minutes at a time, or longer if you can.
1. Heart Focus
Focus your attention on the centre of your chest.
2. Slow Deep and Rhythmic Breathing
Bring your awareness to the area around your chest and imagine you are breathing in and out through that area.
Begin to allow your breathing to gently slow and deepen, so that you breathe into the abdomen then the chest area. As you breathe out let the air leave the abdomen first then the chest. Your breathing should never feel forced or overextended. Let your breathing gently slow and deepen, until you are comfortably breathing in for 5 seconds and out for 5 seconds. It may take some practice to get to the point where your deep breathing feels smooth and natural. Once a smooth and natural breathing rhythm is established you can go to the next step.
3. Positive Feelings
Recall when you’ve felt a really good strong emotion. Some examples are compassion, confidence, success, appreciation, happiness, a favourite place or activity. Re-imagine the experience again as though you are actually there. See it, hear it, feel it. Immerse yourself fully in it again and allow the good feelings to flow over and through you. Notice the detail in each of your senses. Make the mental images brighter, closer and bigger. Allow any physical sensations to intensify and spread through your body and around you. Turn up the sounds. Imagine doubling and trebling the feelings and sensations. Remember to continue the breathing from the first steps.
4. Transport those good feelings into other areas of your life
As the good feelings from the previous step continue to intensify and flow throughout your body. Let them spread around you and form into a translucent protective bubble with you safely inside looking out. Notice the colour of this bubble, and let that colour slightly tint whatever you look at outside of the bubble. Imagine looking out through your bubble of positive feelings as you consider some of the stresses and anxieties in your life. Ensure that you maintain the positive emotion as you do this. You may need to cycle between steps 3 and 4 to keep the positive emotions feeling intense. Next spend some time imagining experiencing the day ahead in the most amazing way possible whilst staying inside your positive bubble.
About the author: Nigel Magowan is a hypnotherapist who works with anxiety, performance anxiety, generalised anxiety, IBS and phobias. Treatment for Anxiety in London, Harley Street Anxiety treatment in Manchester