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Gillian Sanger

Returning to clarity when anxiety arises

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A lot of mindfulness-related notions and principles make a lot of sense when we're feeling balanced and, at minimum, 'okay.' But, it can be so hard to embody this knowing when anxiety or fear arises strongly. Does anyone have insights or specific practices that have proven helpful in these instances?

I'm often amazed at how simple breath awareness - even for 10 seconds!! - can greatly reduce any feelings of stress and anxiety when it's risen. However, it's sometimes difficult to even remember this simple trick!

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I'm following this discussion & can't wait to learn more tips! I've actually had lifetime struggles with GAD and social phobia. Following a suggestion of trying guided meditations led me here.  :classic_smile:

11 hours ago, Gillian Sanger said:

I'm often amazed at how simple breath awareness - even for 10 seconds!! - can greatly reduce any feelings of stress and anxiety when it's risen. However, it's sometimes difficult to even remember this simple trick!

I'd love to try this. Are there any additional resources for breath awareness you might be able to link me to? (I'm learning!) I did find a fantastic guided meditation but I don't always have 30 uninterrupted min when I need it most. 

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I completely understand that! Dr. Andrew Weil explains one simple technique that I've sometimes used before bed - 4-7-8 breathing. You can do it on your own or listen to a video where he guides you through it. I found two videos to explain 1) what breathing techniques do on a psychological level, and 2) him explaining/walking listeners through the 4-7-8 breathing technique.

1) https://mindfulnessexercises.com/dr-andrew-weil-breathing-exercises-health/

2)

 

If you try it, let me know what you think!

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Hi Gillian and all.  GAD here as well.  I’m learning that when anxiety is triggered or amped up, I have to calm my nervous system before I can sit, breathe and quiet my mind.  So far I’ve learned two self soothing tricks that work for my nervous system.  One is brushing my hair - even though I have very short hair and hadn’t brushed it in years.  The other is sitting in a rocker for about 5 minutes.  

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Sometimes when I'm really having bad anxiety...I deep breathe for a couple of minutes and then listen to positive music from yellow brick cinema on YouTube. I suffer from GAD and depression

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9 hours ago, Suzan said:

two self soothing tricks that work for my nervous system

I like your emphasis on my - what works for each one of us is truly personal! 

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6 hours ago, Renee said:

listen to positive music from yellow brick cinema on YouTube

Mmm yes soothing music is so nice. I have found myself lately continuing to go to this one even though there are so many out there

 

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Thank you including this topic, GAD, to an open discussion...I’ve suffered from anxiety/panic greatly in past years. Methods that have served much ease over the years for me have been opening up the windows for fresh air or standing in front of a fan, deep breathing with gentle movement, when at home tepid to eventually cold showers with gentle body massaging and deep breathing has also been centering for my mind. 

 

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@Judy - Such beautiful simplicity in everything you've mentioned. I really think these simple acts of presence and attentiveness can have profound effects on our mental state. Thank you for sharing!

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I have waited to post here because my perception of anxiety is from not facing fear of things.  I am a Capricorn so I analyze my thinking and add empathy, reasoning, love, persistence and I get an attitude change from anxiety that becomes more "Get out of my way, I am coming through, no one is going to stop me."  I realize that there is nothing to be anxious about.  Nothing is as it seems.  No one else can experience what I do but me.  No more anxiety.  

When younger we use to have to run to the shed and shut off the yard light, in the dark.  You know when you think something is chasing you and fright is right behind you:  At an early age I got over that and love being in the dark, in the woods in the middle of the night.  I hunted with my dad and loved the full moon nights.  Coyotes howling, dogs running for coons. 

Sometimes we have a lot of anxiety from things that we were told, showed, teased about and talked to in the past.  So we react with anxiety because, "that's how it's done".   NOT.   I feel it is a "create your own world".  No fear, no anxiety. In slowing down with breathing and meditations I cannot stress how much it helped in this regard.      Blessings

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In terms of anxiety, I've become more attentive to the stories that are beneath the experience of anxiety. What is it that I am believing that is making me feel such fear? I've noticed that the stories are frequently tied up in what I think other people's perceptions of me will be, and are related to a deep desire to be approved of and thought well of. The more I make these observations, the easier it is to let the story go and return to the truth that in this moment, all is alright.

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Yes Gillian, very well said.  I usually can get anxiety that I have no idea why?  Over that last few years I have adopted the mindset of "I refuse to miss something amazing because of fear.  I have no time, space, or room for fear.  It is unfounded." So when anxiety hits it is amusing because of realizing how freeing it is to "only" satisfy the self, helping others and being present.  Not too much scary stuff.  In my Chinese medicine practice I meditate with this and sit in it at least once a week.  I find if I miss this I have issues.  Better to be covered.  

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