By: Katie Lisbon CPLC
Anxiety is something that many people struggle with. Most of the time brought on by social triggers or painful memories. Too often, these feelings are internalized, causing the individual to experience self doubt, fear of being rejected or humiliated, and/or an unfavorable reaction to a challenging situation.
Fear is a natural response when presented with pressure or presence of danger. But when it manifest into anxiety, an individual can often feel like they are suffering needlessly. Anxiety can display itself in so many ways, on so many levels: physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Individuals can feel they are easily overwhelmed, causing them to become restless and on edge, unable to relax, sleep, or stay focus. Herein lies the question, how can someone break away from these feelings?
Mindfulness is the foundation of change
We all have the capacity to change our brain by learning to be in the present, and become more aware of our habitual thoughts and behaviors. The first step to calming anxiety is mindfulness – becoming aware of the here and now, without judgement or trying to change our experience. Mindfulness is the tool that can shed light on our habitual thinking, feelings, behaviors, and cooping patterns (when the body holds onto our pain and fears). When faced with the feelings of being afraid, frozen, or on fire, anchor yourself.
Observe the area(s) where your body feels most affected; eyes, jaw, neck…and focus on making those area(s) relax. Try to stay present and not let your thoughts wonder away from you. Come back to your breath. When you feel in control, acknowledge the feeling or emotion you are experiencing. Become the observer of your internal dialog, practicing self compassion, analyze the moment, the experience, and coach yourself though the thoughts affecting you. Focus on learning new ways of responding.
Through best practices, your willingness to observe your negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity will become a more natural approach. You will begin to recognize your own triggers and why they affect you. With time and practice, you will learn new ways of cooping and find a less crippling response to the moments that affect you the most.
Self-compassion fuels the change
Positive change is not possible when surrounded by an atmosphere of criticism and self-abuse. We have to offer ourselves support and encouragement in order to heal and grow. Self compassion is the act of being caring and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate. Remember, no one is perfect, everyone struggles in one way or another. Showing ourselves kindness and understanding is not a sign of weakness. We are human and all humans go through moments of struggles. Allow the voice inside your head to be the kind and supportive friend who encourages you to see things more clearly.