Anxiety can be found in every human being. Just consider this example:
You go back to your house, you find the door open and drops of blood on the floor. How would you feel?
In this situation most of us would feel anxious. But why? Because we totally ignore what we will discover after entering the house, and we expect something that is not nice. So our fear is not about something that we perceive and understand right now, but rather about ideas we have about the very near future.
In this case, the feeling of distress or anxiety can be justified, as there are exceptional signs indicating that something is wrong. But if you suffer from anxiety disorder, you will often have this vague feeling of restlessness and unjustified worry, as if in the stream of your consciousness there is continuously an alarm saying: something is maybe going wrong! The opposite state of being would be a feeling of stillness, clear thoughts and interior peace.
Take Immediate action against anxiety
Anxiety is due to the inability of totally living in the present moment without thinking about the next second, the next minute, the next hour or the next day. If you feel anxiety, you will tend to think about the general future seeing it possibly full of problems and obstacles. It is likely that there will be obstacles and problems in the future, but being worried and anxious is maybe not the right way to feel about it right now.
I will give here in details three tips that can help you become your own therapist and heal your anxiety symptoms at least on the very short term.
1. Practice mindful breathing
Healing anxiety needs a strong and long term commitment. If you really say to yourself “I want to live my life without anxiety”, you will achieve your goal. Strong commitment is the key because you will have to change old and deeply rooted habits into very new habits. It is as if you have written all your life with the right hand, and now you will have to learn how to write with the left hand. It seems hard, but you do not have to write with the left hand perfectly right now. You have to take things in the same time seriously and with humor. So every day, you will just have to write only one sentence with the left hand. Only one. Keep it very easy. But commit to do it everyday. After only 5 days, you will already see a very big change in your hand writing. This means that your brain is now adjusting to this new habit. Your brain is learning.
To heal anxiety, and to have immediate results, you will have to commit to the daily practice of mindful breathing. Make it very easy, and start with very small goals. But you will have to do it everyday. Then as you make progress, you can gradually increase the duration.
First you have to decide about the time and the place where you want to do that. Put it within your schedule in a way that it becomes a sacred routine, and that you cannot forget about it nor postpone it. It can be in the morning, after work, before going to sleep. Ideally, choose between three and five moments in the day, and do it every day. Do it with the right intention and say to yourself “now, I’m going to practice mindful breathing”.
Breathe in and count “one”, breathe out and count “two”. Breathe in and count “three”, breathe out and count “four”… Do it until you reach ten. It is that easy. You will notice that you already calmed down, and your mind will start learning to be in the present. Counting the breaths is a wonderful way to train your mind to stay in the present.
After you reach the number ten, put yourself a timer. Start with only one minute. Make sure you will find it enjoyable so that you will just want to do it again next day and everyday.
After putting the timer, breath in and say to yourself “I’m here”, breathe out and say “I’m happy”. Breathe in: “I’m here”. Breathe out “I’m happy”. Start with one minute.
If you are really not happy, there is another variant that is even better. Breathe in and say “I’m here”, breathe out and say “I smile to myself”. Continue… Then you will smile, and you will feel happy.
I insist: do it every day, even if you feel well.
2. Think in a focused way about your worries
The other practice I highly recommend you to introduce in your everyday life is the following one. Do it also very seriously and with humor.
Depending on your situation, decide whether you would like to dedicate 30 minutes or 1 hour daily to this practice.
Go to a place where you are alone and where you will not be disturbed, and ideally where you can take notes. Turn off your phone totally. Do not let anything that could possibly distract you.
Then, you will start to have a talk with yourself.
Start like this even if you do not think it is true: “I accept that I am anxious and stressed. I am worried about many things. I would like to explore all my worries”. Then stay there until the time you assigned for this practice is over. Even if you get bored, continue. If you are bored, it is even a good sign, it means that you are going to make some realizations.
Just observe your thoughts. See what you are worrying about. Take some notes, for example:
- The house.
- When I will become old.
- The children.
- The relation with my father.
- Next Christmas dinner…
- What if… this and that happens…
Do not do anything. Just allow your worries to be clear. Maybe you did not even know what you are worried about exactly. Do this practice every day, and you will have all the list. You will also notice that the degree of worrying is changing. Sometimes, you will also smile to yourself while doing this daily exercise.
3. Imagine the opposite of your worrying thoughts
While you are doing this exercise and taking note of future possible scenarios that are at the source of your worries, force your mind to think about the opposite scenario. Let us take an example.
You found yourself thinking about the possibility that you will have money problems. Immediately after, think about the possibility that you will be very wealthy. Imagine the situation clearly and imagine how you will feel.
Let us take another example. You noticed that you are worried about being old and sick, alone and depressed. Think that you will be old and healthy, and very happy. Take the time to visualize all those opposites.
If you make this exercise every day, your mind will start admitting that there is nothing about the future that we could know in advance. And you will start to use your imagination in a more balanced way.
If you combine those three practices, the mindful breathing, the focused viewing of your worries, and imagining the opposite scenarios, you will already reduce a lot the symptoms of anxiety you feel.
Then, if you still have anxiety symptoms, you have to continue the daily practice and also consult a therapist to investigate about the deep roots of your worrying habits, in order to uncover them and heal them. But that is another story, and it is a case by case therapy process. Your anxiety disorder can come from your childhood, from unresolved psychological problems with death, or also from a spiritual void and a fear of the unknown. Multiple causes are possible. Sometimes heredity and childhood environment also can be at the origin of anxiety disorder. An online therapy can for sure help you achieve a greater freedom from stress and anxiety disorders and dwell more profoundly in the joyful present.