One of the problems with tackling anxiety is that it feels so urgent and awful, that it can be confusing to know where to begin.
Even if you do have an idea of where you'd like to start, it can seem that simple techniques like breathing exercises are not enough to tackle something that feels like an emergency.
This post is about developing confidence in a skill that can help you tame anxiety, and knowing how and when to apply it.
Tame the Dragon Before it Starts Breathing Fire
The key to success in taming your anxiety dragon is to start work on it before it starts breathing fire. What does that mean? It means practicing an effective technique like the quick anxiety stopper or a breathing technique before you feel bad. Try getting up ten minutes early in the morning and practicing the long exhale or belly breathing (taught by Shann in last week's podcast). Then as you get more familiar with the calming power of your breath you can practice a few times throughout the day.
Try your breathing practice at red traffic lights, while the kettle's boiling, while waiting in a queue, in the shower, or at school pick-up time. Commit to making yourself a master of your breath and feel how it can helps you calm down.
Your commitment to practising self-help anxiety techniques will help you experience two important benefits:
- the first is that you will experience anxiety less intensely, because you are actively working with calming your nervous system.
- the second is that if the anxiety dragon starts puffing smoke you can deal with him quickly because you already know what to do.
Early Action Makes things Easier
As soon as you feel a hint of anxiety, start using your breath or the quick anxiety stopper to tame it there and then - before it gets intense and you feel too overwhelmed by the symptoms of anxiety to know what to do.
Every time you use your anxiety taming tools you will gain confidence and strength and your anxiety will come more under your control.
Tools to help you tame anxiety mentioned in the podcast:
Acupressure for Anxiety Relief: The Quick Anxiety Stopper
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