I was speaking to a client the other day, and she was expressing how anxious she was feeling. She has a lot going on, including a construction project, some significant changes coming at work and her relationship with several co-workers. I agreed with her that these are events were “triggering” her experience of anxiety – but they are not the root cause. The root of our anxiety lies inside of ourselves, in our belief patterns based on old stories, past emotional experiences, or traumatic events. Our body holds physically in our bodies, and in our memory, sensory and emotional events. These can stack up as emotional “baggage” and bring up both physical and mental symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks when triggered.
When Anxiety Knocks
When anxiety shows up at our front door, it can barge into our house and take complete control of our home; our body and mind. If we prepare ourselves, practice greater awareness, and have a toolbox ready, we can meet anxiety at the door, say hello, and soften its chaotic impact.
- Notice when our anxiety is being triggered before it is a full-blown panic attack,
- practice strategies to calm and relax our physical body, moving from fight, flight, or freeze to a more peaceful, ease-filled state,
- and learn self-talk and mindset techniques to manage where we are focusing our thoughts and awareness.
Notice Anxiety in your Physical Body
Instead of focusing on the thoughts, or the events, that are causing your anxiety, practice being aware of how your body PHYSICALLY feels when you are anxious. Begin to ask yourself, “what are the first physical signs in my body that I am getting anxious?” You can also notice where your thoughts are going when you are beginning to feel anxious and ask yourself, “what is my brain doing? Or, “Where am I focusing my attention?” Practice OBSERVING your anxiety, rather than just BEING your anxiety. Over time you will begin to shift the attention off of the anxiety and onto strategies that can support you. You can diminish the power the anxiety has over you and take back control.
Learning to listen to our bodies and our minds is an essential ingredient for meeting anxiety at the door!