Five tips to ease anxiety
My heart was pounding, my cheeks were bright red and burning, beads of sweat began to trickle down my face. I watched as the door closed and the man approached. My body was paralysed, blood drained from my face, I felt faint. He looked towards me, sat down and asked me my name. My voice was feeble, I couldn't even say my name! Not a great start to an interview!
Does this sound familiar? This is a stressful situation, but our body can think it is life threatening, so we freeze and our bodies become immobilised. When our brain and bodies think it's unsafe it can send us into survival mode, but this need to survive can be inappropriate to the situation.
So what can we do to ease anxiety and help our bodies recover from being paralysed with fear? Well, for a start we can utilise the brain and bodies ability to relax even in the most stressful situations.
Here are my five tips for helping you feel safer in times of stress:
1. Push your feet into the floor, sit upright and push your back against the chair or stand against a wall and lean into it if you can (this reduces the area that your body has to scan for danger).
2. Turn your head slowly becoming aware of yourself in the room or space (this brings you back to the present, to safety in this moment).
3. Look at someone (try to look them in the eyes if possible) and if you can, speak to them in a slow voice.
4. Take a long exhale.
5. Sing or listen to some gentle music.
In the long run, talking with a therapist about what causes your anxiety can improve your ability to feel safer and build sustainable resilience. Meditation and breathing exercises can also help.
For now though please do use these tips. I hope that they benefit you.
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About James Johnson
James Johnson is a qualified, registered counsellor running a private practice for individuals and couples. He has extensive experience working with anxiety, depression, trauma and relationship issues.
James brings a deeply empathic, curious, warm and honest approach to his work with clients which facilitates exploration and growth.