ANONYMOUS ASKED: I also have a question and really need advice for something I've been struggling with for five years. I took me a while to get to know what triggers my stress/anxiety and it's usually a large group, such as a class in school, because I feel like I'm just not good enough or too stupid to be around them. I have been degrading myself like that, and have tried to keep my head high. My anxiety overcomes me :(
RESPONSE: Do you find when you feel like this you tend to avoid it as much as possible by excusing yourself, going to the bathroom a lot to get away, sitting at the back/corner of the room and becoming very closed off?
Next time it happens, try to be aware of what is going on inside you.
Be aware, take notice, be mindful...
1. NOTICE YOUR POSTURE. Are your shoulders hunched ?- open them up, roll them back, and imagine a string coming out of the top of your spine being pulled up to elongate you and help your posture.
2. NOTICE YOUR BREATHING. Is it fast? Is it slow? Is it rapid and irregular? Are you breathing at all?.. Are you breathing from your chest or from your diaphragm (which bit of your body rises as you breathe?) This is one of the most useful tools in relaxation! We are supposed to breathe from our diaphragm - meaning if you lay down on your back and breathe, your tummy should inflate, then deflate. A lot of stress, anxiety etc can cause us to chest breathe (especially girls!). Shallow breathing or chest breathing maintains and actually builds the stress and anxiety. But don't worry, you can control your breathing, simply by focusing on the depth and the slowness of breath as well as where your breathing is situated. Practice it at home, laying down. Its actually really hard at first! But you’ll get the hang of it! Then try to practise it the next time you’re in one of those stressful situations! Try breathing in patterns and/or rhythms! Try a little mantra like:-
"Breathe in...Breathe long...Breathe out...Be strong"
3.NOTICE YOUR THOUGHTS. Take control. This is your life, your body, your moment. Why and how are these people making you become to wired and anxious? People are only people after all.. Breathe, relax and take control of your mind. Can you choose to challenge your negative thoughts, tell yourself they are just thoughts, not facts, and let them go ?
4. BE AWARE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. go out of your way to make yourself MORE uncomfortable! If you normally sit on the outside or perimeter of the room, move in a seat or two, or better yet, sit smack bang in the middle! It’s a big gesture when you feel so self conscious, but sometimes it’s these leaps and insane moments of courage and/or bravery that lead us to realise our own potential, strength and resilience.
5. BE AWARE OF THE PICTURES IN YOUR MIND. Visualisation! I love this one! Visualising the situation and visualising it going well! Calm, relaxed, succesful! Don’t allow your fears or anxieties to rule. You control THEM. Picture a succesful scenario, over and over. Then also visualise a scene completely unrelated to the scenario - a place that makes you truly relaxed, at peace and soothed. It could be a waterfall, a sunset, in bed, in the ocean or floating on a cloud over a tropical rainforest! It’s up to you! And can be as insane as you want it to be. Remember the things about this place you enjoy.. And how it feels to be there in that moment. What you can see, hear, sense, touch, smell, is it warm or cool, is the light soft or bright, the colours vivid or muted ? What makes this place so perfectly relaxing? If you’re ever having trouble getting negative thoughts ut of your head, try bringing your mind back to this place.. Focus on your senses and find your comfort zone within the chaos and anxiety surrounding you.
Love and light,