Do you ever feel like your anxiety is too loud to ignore? Does it feel like it’s taking over your life? You’re not alone. Global anxiety levels have been increasing over the past few years, and anxiety has become a prevalent issue in the workplace. However, anxiety is an essential tool that evolved to help us avoid danger and ensure our survival. In this article, we’ll share two powerful, science-based tools to turn down the volume on anxiety and help you get it back to its helpful, protective state.
Connecting with Your Body: Two Tools to Calm Anxiety
Tool #1: Breath Work
Breath work is a simple, effective way to calm your anxiety. When you take slow, deep breaths, you directly activate the natural de-stressing part of your nervous system called the parasympathetic nervous system. Try the boxed breathing approach: inhale deeply on four counts, hold at the top for four counts, exhale deeply on four counts, and hold at the bottom for four counts. This technique can be done in the middle of an anxiety-provoking conversation, and no one will even know.
Tool #2: Moving Your Body
Every time you move your body, you release a whole bunch of beneficial neurochemicals in your brain, including dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline, and endorphins. These mood- and reward-boosting neurochemicals increase positive mood states and decrease negative ones. So the next time your boss’s email comes in and your heart starts to race, take a short walk around the block, dance around your living room, or do a set of jumping jacks. Studies have shown that even just ten minutes of walking can have mood-boosting effects.
How These Tools Can Help You
Once you connect with your body and turn down the volume on your anxiety, two important things will happen. First, you’ll be in a better position to evaluate what about the email makes you anxious. Is it that you’ve taken on too much, or do you feel insecure about a particular skill set? By understanding the warning signals in your anxiety, you can become aware of potential dangers and find ways to address them creatively and effectively in your everyday life.
Second, you’ll be better equipped to communicate with others. When you’re no longer in fight-or-flight mode, asking for support won’t feel as threatening. You might seek out advice from a trusted colleague or have a conversation with your boss about how to prioritize projects. By approaching your anxiety in this way, you can use this emotion for exactly what it evolved to do: warn you about potential dangers so you can address them effectively.
In conclusion, anxiety is an essential tool that can be used to protect us from danger. However, too much anxiety can be detrimental to our well-being. By connecting with our bodies through breath work and movement, we can turn down the volume on our anxiety and get it back to its helpful, protective state. So the next time you feel anxious, take a deep breath and move your body. It could be the key to unlocking your full potential and living your best life.