Just like every other kind of emotion anxiety has a purpose. It’s purpose is to warn you of a possible danger and to help you prepare for it. It’s designed to elicit your in built fight or flight response so that you’re prepared if the danger comes to pass.
The only problem with this is it’s often applied to the wrong stimulus such as flying, spiders, dogs , social gatherings, and approaching a potential partner. I’ve even heard of a woman who’s afraid to touch coinage (money), can you imagine how this would affect your life.
When the fight or flight response is activated your body takes action, your heart beat increases, you sweat, many times your mind plays the worse case scenario over and over in your mind and the only other thing you can think about is how fast you can get out of the situation.
Your emotions are directly connected to your nervous system so if you change your emotional state then your body will respond accordingly. The best part about this connection is it also works the other ways around. If you change your physiology, your emotions will change accordingly.
What do you think will happen when you’re feeling anxious and you stop and change the way you’re breathing, the way your body is positioned, the expression on your face? You guessed it, your emotional state will change.
It may sound too simple, change the way you position your body and you change your emotional state but it is true. If you find it hard to believe try this. Stand up straight, push your shoulders back and raise your head so it’s facing straight forward. Now breath from your abdomen and put the largest smile on your face that you can muster.
When you’re there keep that position and try to feel depressed. It’s impossible without your body slipping back into the physiology that your body uses when you’re depressed.
So how can this help you with your anxiety. Well the opposite of anxiety, fear and stress which are very similar feelings is relaxation.
If you can learn to relax yourself when you’re feeling anxious then you’ll have an excellent way of controlling what is potentially a crippling emotion and therefore take your life back.
Here’s an exercise to help you relax. It should be done a minimum of once a day for thirty days in order to ingrain new neuro-pathways into the brain large enough for it to have any benefit in your life. If you just try it for thirty days you’ll be amazed at the difference it’ll make.
Make yourself comfortable, either lie or sit down. Often during this exercise people have a tendency to fall asleep, this is OK as if it happens it’s only because you need it.
If you have some where to go then it’s probably best if you set an alarm. Not doing so will only cause you undue stress at the thought of not making your appointment and you’ll not reap the full benefits of the exercise.
Give yourself at least 20 minutes, preferably 30 to do the exercise and be sure it’s quiet, your warm, there’s no unpleasant smells and you’re not going to be disturbed. You need as few distractions as possible.
Breath in through the nose to the count of four. Hold it for the count of sixteen. Now release to the count of eight. This is what’s easiest for me but you can do it to any count as long as the ratio is 1:4:2.
Take at least four breaths. Once you’ve done this imagine you’re in one of your favorite places. One that’s peaceful and relaxing. It doesn’t have to be a real place it can be an imagined one.
Now imagine a warn ray of light slowly passing over your body. As it passes it takes all of the stresses and tension away in the ray of light.
As it passes release the tension in the muscles which it is passing over. Start with the ray at the top of your head and move it down over your face, shoulders arms and chest, torso, thighs, legs and feet.
Once it moves over your feet feel the tension and stresses flow out of you. Do this process five times and finish with the breathing exercise that you did to begin with.
To reap the benefit make sure you do this at least once a day for thirty days and whenever you’ve had a particularly stressful experience after that.
Remember the calm experience, once you’ve done it for thirty days it should be very familiar to you. Whenever you find yourself in a situation when you’re particularly anxious remember the calm feeling, relive the experience where you are and feel the tension dissipate.
This simple daily exercise can have results that will astound you and change your life for the better forever.
Darren Hodgson has been studying personal growth for the past ten years and he’s the author of Obliterate Your Shyness. To find out more about Darren visit http://www.shynessandself-esteem.com