Founder of The Mindful Moment, Dr. Alexandra Domelle shares three techniques to help you regain your peace
Anxiety happens to every one of us at some point in our lives.
For some, it’s something of a rare occurrence, briefly emerging than retreating, not to be seen or heard from for months, if not years, at a time. But for others, anxiety is a daily struggle, that dark shadow that follows them constantly, always lurking behind their every thought and move.
Results of a 2017 study indicate that stress, depression and anxiety are affecting more people than ever before, and many are unable to access the help they need.
And while understanding the causes of anxiety is important, for millions of people the key question remains:
What do I do when I am feeling anxious?
This is particularly important if you experience sudden anxiety and need something to help you get through that moment.
Here are three techniques to help you gain peace and reduce your anxiety levels. And as with any self-help tools, please remember to visit a qualified professional to help you understand and work through the anxiety, depression and stress you are experiencing.
1. Breathing exercise
Find a safe space where you can close your eyes, if possible and focus on your breaths.
Bring your attention to the rise and fall of your chest. Feel your lungs fill with air and then, gently exhale. Focus on the tip of your nose. Allow cool air into your nostrils and breathe warm air out.
Inhale. Exhale. Take deep, slow breaths. Inhale. Exhale. There is only you and your breath. Inhale. Exhale.
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. You are safe. You are okay. All is well. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
Let your breaths become deeper and slower. Take your time. There is no rush. Inhale the cool air.
Feel it move through your nose and into your body.
Exhale the warm air. Feel it move through your body and out your nose. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
2. Know your triggers
What makes you anxious? Spend some time with someone who can help you to work through the situations that make you anxious. You deserve to be heard.
Work with someone who can provide a safe, healing space where you are listened to, held and supported.
There are times when we don’t find the right person in our first attempt. Please do not be discouraged. This happens to a lot of people. The trick is to keep searching until you find someone whose healing approach works for you.
If you can’t find someone to speak with in person, consider online options. Whoever you choose, make sure they are good listeners, and that they give you the space to talk, and support you in your journey.
3. Send loving-kindness
There are times when it can be easier to focus on the well-being of others rather than trying to make it all okay for ourselves. This technique is one I use when I want to shift from thoughts that are all about me to offering loving-kindness to other people.
Place your hand over your heart. Who is it that you wish to send loving-kindness?
The recipient can be another being, human or animal. It can even be yourself. If you choose someone other than yourself, it may be easier to focus on those who bring joy to you, love you or inspire you. Gather your intention in the repetition of the following phrases:
“May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be content.”
You can choose whatever message you like. The key is to stay present and focus your attention on the words. As you repeat the phrases, let go of whatever energy you are holding. Know that all is well. Imagine the person you are sending loving-kindness to being happy, healthy and content.
Pause between the phrases, allowing yourself to receive the loving-kindness flowing to you.
If you find your attention is wandering, gently bring it back to the present moment. Everyone’s attention wanders. It is perfectly normal. What is important is that you recognise when your thoughts have strayed so you can gently bring them back to the moment, to that of loving-kindness, to that of the beautiful phrases you have chosen.
Check in with your body after a while. How are you feeling? Is the anxiety easing?
Breathe deeply and slowly.
Know that you are loved.
You are safe.
All is well.