It took me years to work out how to best manage my anxiety. In fact, I didn’t know that the awful, overwhelming thoughts, sensations and feelings I experienced were anxiety until a counsellor told me. I just thought there was something wrong with me. It turns out that a large part of managing anxiety, involves consistently showing ourselves kindness and compassion. This can be done through a variety of activities, depending on what appeals to you.
Following, some of the diverse range of practitioners at the Mundaring Wellness Centre share their tips on managing anxiety.
Clinical Hypnotherapist | Reiki Master | Mindset Coach
After deep rhythmic breathing, one of the best strategies I’ve found for reducing anxiety, is to hug it out. Hugging someone causes you to release oxytocin, a hormone that promotes happy feelings and can help to promote relaxation. I recommend at least 8 hugs a day to maintain strong relationships and 12 for growth. Hold your hugs for at least 20 to 30 seconds to get the full benefit. If you don’t have someone to hug, then hug yourself.
For more information on the benefits of oxytocin, click here to see TED Talk by Paul Zak.
The ‘self hug’ technique will stimulate the flow of oxytocin. Stress will subside and peace will set in.
• Place your hand on heart. This will stimulate oxytocin, which sends out an inner signal that it’s safe to calm down.
• Direct your breath into your heart and hand. Imagine feelings of love, compassion and ease passing over you.
Joyce de Haas
RUN FREE Counselling and Group Work
Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), Masters of Counselling | 20 years of practice http://www.runfreecounsellling.com.au
When feeling anxious/worried/stressed take some time to go within. With love. Don’t beat yourself up or tell yourself off. Don’t fight it (it will only make it worse). Give it some time and space (I know, that can be hard to do when it feels so bad. But trust me, it’s needed). Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Ask the anxiety, with love-where are you in my body? Put your hand lovingly on that part. Ask it gently-what’s going on? What’s this feeling about? You can even ask how old it feels (my guess it’s a younger part of you -your Inner Child-getting scared or overwhelmed about something going on). Then give that part a loving mental hug. Tell it it’s okay and it is okay to feel that way, maybe that you are going to change something that’s in your power to change (about the situation)-if possible.
Later look yourself in the eyes in a mirror, tell yourself “I know you are feeling…. And that’s ok”. Or find a safe person to do that for you! It’s the loving eye connection that is so powerful. Or even just doing this last bit helps-if done with loving kindness to yourself!
Spirit Medium | Psychic Tarot Reader | Reconnective Healing Foundational Practitioner | Reconnection-Certified-Practitioner
http://www.catherinefinch.com.au | firstname.lastname@example.org
My approach to assisting people with anxiety is multiple. Firstly, I have found the Head Space meditation especially helpful. It has benefited several members of my family and I frequently recommend it to clients. I know that I’m not alone in this, having seen previous blogs suggesting the same thing. I also teach breathing techniques which can be used in a stressful situation – these are based on regular, smooth breathing, focusing on the heart centre and at the same time radiating positive energy into the aura and beyond.
Reconnective Healing can also be very effective as it aims to bring the body back into optimal balance, by allowing interaction between the energy field and the extraordinary Reconnective healing frequencies. This then allows healing to take place whether physical, emotional or spiritual, enhancing a sense of wellbeing, relaxation and positivity.
As a psychic and spirit medium, I also find helping the client to see a clearer path ahead, to prioritise decisions and to understand more about their life purpose, can be invaluable in reducing the stress in daily life. Also to know that we are never truly alone, with loved ones who have passed, closer than we imagine and I believe, ready to offer guidance if we will allow them to do so.
Counsellor | Play Therapy Practitioner
http://www.capstonecentre.com.au & http://www.mundaringwellnesscentre.com.au | 0478 218 498 | email@example.com
For parents and caregivers: Getting your ‘calm’ back during challenging moments.
Parenting and caregiving for children is an honourable profession! But there is no guidebook, no ‘one way’ to do it and we learn from our children as much as they learn from us. According to the Australian Childhood Foundation, “parenting can be one of the most exhausting, challenging, and frustrating tasks that we will ever undertake. Yet it can also be the most rewarding, exhilarating, exciting and satisfying challenge we ever take on. It is also the one we for which we can feel least prepared.”
Challenging parenting moments can be even more perplexing for us when we are already stressed, anxious or under the pump. Here are some strategies that can help you regain your sense of calm and be kind to yourself so that you can cope effectively with a stressful situation. When you get some of your sense of calm back, your children will be more able to settle, and they will learn to cope with stress by seeing and feeling the ways that you do that. Try these steps:
STOP what you are doing. Feel your feet planted firmly on the ground.
PAUSE and breathe. Take 3 slow and deep breaths, ensuring the exhale is nice and long.
THINK about how you are feeling and what you need right now. Be kind to yourself.
REFLECT on what your child/ren might be feeling and what they need in this moment.
RESPOND to your child/ren calmly.
REMIND yourself you are being the best you can be.
Try not to ‘should’ on yourself: it is simply not possible to remember all of these steps every time you hit a stressful parenting moment. Give yourself permission to build this in to your parenting toolkit in a way that works for you. And remember to have big fun with your children, laugh lots, play together and be a bit crazy! Playfulness helps our adult brains grow as much as it helps our children’s brains grow!
B.A. (Psych/Soc), Grad Dip Ed, Grad Dip Counselling
http://www.shamanichealing.net.au | 0422 328 677
Having been anxious most of my life, I finally learned, as a mature aged student, that I can take charge of my anxiety and how I respond to it, rather than being in reaction to it all of the time. Curious, I learned to monitor the behaviours I exhibited when anxiety was on the rise. These basically entailed the dropping away of all of the activities that supported me feeling less anxious; eating well, exercise, drinking water, meditating and self-nurturing. Bringing this awareness to consciousness strengthened my ability to recognise where my anxiety levels were as I learned to observe myself and how I was feeling in relation to my level of self-supporting activities. Whenever I felt anxiety surge, I looked at my level of self-care and implemented strategies/routines to keep it intact.
Many years later, I discovered that the quality of my thoughts directly dictate how I feel about myself and my world. Our thought patterns are very powerful. It pays to remember that the thought comes BEFORE the emotion. So, when you’re feeling anxious next time, be curious about what you’re thinking. Sometimes the thoughts can be so subconscious that you’re unable to capture them. Even so, with a little practice and the intention to really become aware of your patterns of thought, you can make headway into understanding yourself and your triggers more. If your thoughts are fearful (worry) ones it can help to bring yourself back into the present moment. When you’re in fear/anxiety, your body will be in ‘Fight or Flight’ mode and your breathing will be shallow. To counteract this, take slow deep breaths. Focusing on the breath can also help you stay in the present moment. From there, you can retrain yourself re the quality of your thoughts. Play around with this and see how you/your body responds. Remember, the thought comes before the emotion. Always reach for a better feeling thought.
These days my focus is largely on emotion/emotional energy that becomes held in cellular memory and the repeated patterns that occur in one’s life because of it. The task is now to support people to clear the emotional charge on a cellular level. I channel energy from Spirit (Guardians, Archangels & Ascended Masters) to support clients in releasing old emotion (eg anxiety) and its root cause as well as thought patterns they find to be restrictive. Many people can be taught how to do this for themselves, thus providing opportunities for gradual self-empowerment, transformation and expansion.
Creative Director, Unfold Your Freedom
Tips for dealing with anxiety: what I have found has helped not only myself but clients are meditation and tapping. Both these modalities help bring you into the present moment to ground you. They can create a circuit breaker lessening the intensity of your experience and giving you a chance to deal with your anxiety. When you meditate you use your breath to connect you back into your body. And tapping anchors you.
Counsellor | Psychotherapist | Creative Therapist
https://tonijacksoncounselling.com/ & http://fremantlecounselling.com.au/ firstname.lastname@example.org | 0439 995 302
When we become anxious, we lose our ground. Our nervous system goes into hyper-drive and we feel overwhelmed. Therefore, what I have found helps most, is to identify calming activities ahead of time and create a little plan for yourself.
• At a time when you are feeling okay, write down a list of what you know helps you feel calm. It could be: walking, baking, drinking tea, talking to a friend, yoga, having a bath, self-massage, cuddling the dog, listening to a mindfulness app, lying on the floor, drawing your feelings, listening to music, writing out how you feel, or anything that works for you.
• Learn some simple, slow breathing exercises (just google it). Breathing exercises have changed my life. They can be done anywhere, anytime and no one even needs to know you are doing them. Slowing down the breath, slows down the nervous system.
• Grounding exercises – these are simple exercises that bring us back down into our body. For example, close your eyes, feel your feet on the solid ground, take some slow, deep breaths, now slowly work your way through your body, from your feet up, tightening and letting go of each body part. Or, close your eyes, take some breaths and notice everything you can feel, hear and smell – can you feel the air temperature on your skin, or your little toe touching your next toe, or hear the bird down the road?
The key to this stuff, is practice. Just as you would train for a sports game, or rehearse for a performance, so that it becomes easy and natural even under pressure, the same applies to anxiety. We need to practice grounding, centering and calming ourselves when we are not anxious, so that when we really need to calm ourselves down, we can.
For more information on how we may support you with your anxiety, or other wellbeing concerns, or to learn more about the Mundaring Wellness Centre and its practitioners, please visit the Mundaring Wellness Centre website.
Photo credit: aurelio.asiain via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
What a great collection of ideas! There are a few that are really new to me, i’ll be sharing them with some of my clients. I personally am a big fan of deep breathing. A few women have told me recently they’ve been talking to themselves in the mirror and it’s been really powerful. An addition to the children one might be to simply stop, watch, and try not to have any ‘parent’ feelings- just BE. Look out through the child’s eyes. It’s a kind of mindfulness.
I got some great ideas from reading all the contributions too.
The bigger our repertoire, the better, I say!
Thanks Toni – a wide variety of approaches and ideas, with the common theme of gentleness and respect for self. These offer a nice contrast to some of the harder-edged cognitive approaches that which be effective but are sometimes a little distant and clinical.
Yes, I agree. This is also the beauty of working in a holistic wellness centre. There is such a lovely range of practitioners, who work with the understanding that our minds, bodies, emotions and spirit are inextricably connected. We have massage therapists, an osteopath, a naturopath, a soulful chiropractor, spiritual healers, yogis, hypnotherapists, counsellors and psychotherapists.