Ways to calm anxiety
A good way of describing the anxiety process is that we:
- Overestimate the risks we face.
- Underestimate our abilities to manage these risks.
Learning how to better assess and manage risk goes a long way to reducing anxiety. Beginning to trust in our own ability to do this allows us to face an uncertain world more confidently.
Anxiety has two main components. Feelings and thoughts.
There is a part of the brain called the amygdala whose job it is to scan our experience for danger so as to keep us safe. It gets its information from what is going on in our environment, from our thoughts and from the messages we give through our posture. If we think anxious thoughts or imagine anxious situations occurring, the amygdala begins to prepare us for fighting, freezing or fleeing.
Anxious thoughts on their own can cause anxious feelings, or ramp up already anxious feelings. If we tense up or hold or breath, or breath shallowly, the amygdala assumes there must be a problem.
If we relax, breathe deeply and slowly and focus our attention away from ourselves the amygdala senses that all is well and we feel calmer.
To begin with this is easier said than done.
What works really well with most of my clients is to show them how use an Alpha Stim. This microcurrent device works at the physical level and is very effective at inducing calm without any unpleasant side effects. (see more here). Once people feel calmer they are in a better state to do things such as:
all of which are well known to induce and maintain a state of calm.
Another important intervention is to help people understand the underlying thought patterns and experiences which have been causing them to feel anxious. With hypnosis or an NLP or CBT approach, more useful patterns can be established.
If there has been a trauma in the past that has had the effect of causing anxiety about the present or future that can often be relieved using Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR).