BILATERAL SIMULATION. This simple but amazingly effective technique involves stimulating both sides of your brain to stop anxiety dead in its tracks.
- Grab a ball or anything else to pass back and forth and think of something 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, one hand to the other, crossing the midline, so you are stimulating both of the brain’s hemispheres. Do this for a minute. Stop. Take a deep breath and check in. Note whether or not the anxiety has dissipated. It likely has evaporated!
PERIPHERAL VISION (stop the world). Internal dialogue can act as a trigger or continue a pattern of anxiety. This easy way can shift you 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, letting your visual field open so that you can imagine almost becoming aware of the space behind you.
HEART-FOCUSED BREATHING. This technique is adapted from the HeartMath Institute, a group of doctors and psychologists who study heart rate coherence and its effect on mental and physical health.
- Bring your awareness to your heart and as you do, imagine breathing deeply, in and out, from your heart. Hold your hand over your heart to keep your awareness there as you breathe through it.
- Imagine your heart pumping healthy blood throughout your body as it also radiates energy throughout your whole system.
A JAW-DROPPING MOMENT. Rob anxiety of some of its power with a jaw-dropping experience.
- Try 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 to ensure that you’re breathing from your diaphragm.
THE BACKWARD SPIN. One consistent fact about anxiety is its physical effect on the body. It always moves too fast and doesn’t pass through you. It stays and keeps circulating through the body. This technique can interrupt that vicious cycle.
- Locate where you feel the anxiety moving in your body, and note which way the feeling spins. Use your hand to model the direction of the spin.
- Next, imagine that you can move the spin outside of your body. To wit, 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 movement of your hand.
As you do, imagine bringing the spin back inside your body, rotating in this opposite direction.
- Note how it feels different. Now, think of something really funny and add some laughter to the spin as this will start to change the chemicals and hormones coursing throughout your body.