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Knowing how to get out of and transform anxious moments is vital for these trying times. Here are five easy anti-anxiety techniques from Melissa Tiers.


BILATERAL SIMULATION

This technique involves stimulating both sides of the brain to stop anxiety. It is absurdly simple yet amazingly effective.

  • Grab a ball (or apple or anything you can pass back and forth) and think of something that is causing you some anxiety.
  • When you can feel that anxiety somewhere in your body, rate the level of it on a scale of one to ten.
  • Now pass the object back and forth, from one hand to the other, crossing the midline, so you are stimulating both hemispheres of the brain. Do this for a minute. Stop. Take a deep breath, and check in. You might note that the anxiety has dissipated.

PERIPHERAL VISION (stop the world)
Internal dialogue can act as a trigger or continue a pattern of anxiety. Here is a simple way of shifting out of your mind.

  • Start by picking a spot or focal point to stare at.
  • Slowly begin to expand your peripheral vision to include all the space around the spot.
  • Now, expand your vision even further to the sides, all the way up to the ceiling and down to the floor. Expand it even more, allowing your visual field to open so that you can imagine almost becoming aware of the space behind you.

HEART-FOCUSED BREATHING
This technique is adapted from the work of the HeartMath Institute, which is a group of doctors and psychologists who are studying heart rate coherence and its effect on mental and physical health.

  • Start by bringing your awareness to your heart and as you do, imagine breathing deeply, in and out, from your heart. You might want to hold your hand over your heart to keep your awareness there as you breathe through it.
  • Imagine that as your heart is pumping healthy blood throughout your body, it is also radiating energy through your whole system.

A JAW-DROPPING MOMENT
Take some of the power away from anxiety with a jaw-dropping experience.

  • Take a moment to relax your jaw as much as you can. Loosen it even more, and imagine it dropping to the floor.
  • Relax your jaw, take a deep breath in and pause for three counts.
  • Exhale twice as long through the nose. When you inhale deeply, put your hand on your belly and feel it rise. This ensures that you’re breathing from your diaphragm.

THE BACKWARD SPIN
One of the consistent things about anxiety and fear is that it’s a physical feeling in the body. It’s always moving, and usually it’s moving too fast and doesn’t pass through you. It stays and keeps circulating through the body. This technique is a way to interrupt that cycle.

  • Locate where you feel the anxiety moving in your body, and notice which way the feeling spins. (It is often helpful to use your hand to model the direction of the spin).
  • Next, imagine that you can move the spin outside of your body. In other words, it’s still spinning in the same way that you were feeling it before, but now it’s outside of you.
  • Once you can feel it outside of yourself, reverse the spin (and the movement of your hand if you’re using it).
  • As you do this, imagine bringing the spin back inside your body, rotating in this opposite direction. Notice how it feels different. Now, think of something funny and add some laughter to the spin, because this will start to change the chemicals and hormones coursing through your body.

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Melissa tiers

Is the founder of The Center for Integrative Hypnosis and has a private practice in NYC. She is an award-winning author, lecturer, life coach, hypnosis traine and creator of Integrative Hypnosis.

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