Getting the best of worry and anxiety…

We are living during higher stress times.  I know many people who have situational worry, or anxiety, folks with generalized worry and folks who worry about worrying.  One of the other hats I have worn has involved in developing some ideas around managing this and so I thought I would share these ideas for what it is worth.

Exhale Breathing:

Deep Breathing ~ While loving, it is a bad idea to tell an upset person or someone with anxiety to take a deep breath.  They typically can’t because they are in thoracic or shallow breathing (from the rib cage up).  To start to gain control of your worry you push the air out… I call it “Exhale Breathing.”  Push, push, push the air out like you are letting the air out of a balloon.  Then regular breath in.  Then regular breath out.

That will regulate your breathing and slow your heart rate.

You need to practice this when you are not anxious so that it will help when you are.

Backward Counting:

This is a good way to distract yourself and to regroup.  The counting you do depends on your math skills.  Here is what I do: I count backward from 100 by 3s.  The subtraction should be hard enough for you to have to concentrate on the math.  That takes you away from thinking about your stress.  It should not be so hard that you get frustrated or you will add another problem.  You do this until your heart rate and breathing are regulated.  If you are going too fast in the math, make it harder for yourself.

You Set the Goal.

Let me explain. If you are anxious about a specific thing and someone tells you what to do then the likely response is to feel like you are being pushed and to rebel against that.  Instead, have the person who has the worry set the goal.  They then often exceed that.  Let me explain.  If Joe is afraid of heights, if you tell him “just go halfway up the ladder” then he might feel pushed and not want to go at all.  If you say, Joe, the steps towards getting over your fear are: setting up the ladder, approaching the ladder to climb it, taking one step, etc.  What do you think you might like to try doing?  Then Joe is in control. That changes things in a positive way because anxiety can make a person feel out of control.

So what does this have to do with walking, running, biking, or anything that we are involved with? Well, you may not sign up for an event because you feel like you will not be ready, or might not do as well as Mary, or might get criticized, or…  If you can identify the concern, then some of these ideas may help you accomplish your goals!

A final idea for now: Get Some Reassurance.  Do not get too much reassurance.  You have to reassure yourself that you can do it!  It is fine for someone else to believe in you.  Take steps so that you feel that you are capable of accomplishing your goal.

We face fear and challenges all the time.  Our response to those challenges is what makes the difference.  The mental approach you use may be one of the factors that helps you succeed!

I hope it is!

Breathe! You’ve got this!

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