Alter your Breathing

Rapid and shallow breathing can increase anxiety.  Alter your breathing pattern to be slower and deeper.  For one minute try this exercise:  Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.  Breathe in through your nose and say to yourself, “I am not in present danger.”  Breathe out through your mouth and say to yourself, “I can handle this, I can do hard things.”  Continue this breathing for a full minute.

This kind of breathing sends a message from your body to your mind that there is no present danger.  It can help move your thoughts away from the limbic center of your brain (the trauma center: fight, flight, or freeze) to the frontal cortex where our logical reasoning takes place.

Give it to the Tree

Walk outside and find a tree.  Sit down by the base of the tree and place your hands near the roots, or stand next to the tree and place your hands on the truck.  Out loud or in your mind tell the tree what you are worried about.  What you need help with.  What is wrong.  As you unload your burden imagine the tree taking those worries from you.  The tree is strong and it’s roots are deep.  It can support the weight of your burden.  When you are done walk away from the tree, but leave your burdens there.  Go back as often as needed.

submitted by: Terri

Give a Hug, Get a Lift

Studies show that hugs slow the release of stress hormones and release good hormones like oxytocin.  The gentle pressure of a hug can stimulate nerve endings under the skin and send calming messages to the brain.

Try This:  If you are feeling anxious, find someone that you trust and give them a hug for 60 seconds.  Breathe deeply while you do this for extra benefits.

Be in the Present

Thinking about the past or the future is more likely to add to anxiety.  Focus on the present by answering these questions:

  • Touch:  What can you feel with your fingertips right now?
  • Sound:  What can you hear at this moment?
  • Smell:  What can you smell with your nose?  Is the smell familiar?
  • See:  What can you see with your eyes?  Describe it in detail.
  • Taste: What do you taste?

Letting go of Tension

Find a comfortable quiet place to sit or stand.  Breathe deeply, in through your nose, count to four, out through your mouth, count to 7.  Close your eyes and focus on each part of your body.  As you focus on each specific part imagine the yucky negative smog leaving your body.  Focus on each area until the fog looks white or clear.

  • the top of your head
  • your forehead
  • your eyes
  • your chest
  • your hands
  • your knees
  • your feet

Keep breathing deeply.  Do again as needed to remove anxiety and negative emotions.