When the monsters don’t exist in reality, but are real in your mind, it’s natural to fall into fear. A lot of anxiety is felt over, not what is happening, but what we think might happen. For some, we were born with a natural inclination to worry and be nervous. For others, trauma has stolen our sense of security in the world. Whatever the root of our anxiety, it is as much a physical ailment as a mental and emotional one, and calming the body is the best place to start when the panic begins to rise.
When you feel your heart pounding and your breath constrict, find your breath. Bring it into your belly. Breathing into your chest stimulates the sympathetic nervous system in the body and this triggers our fight or flight mode—furthering the feeling of anxiety. Bring your breath into your belly, and you’re now triggering your relaxation and digestion mode.
Take ten, long and deep inhales through the nostrils and pull the breath down so that the belly button expands outwards. Exhale and sigh it out through open lips.
On each exhale, tell your body to relax. Imagine as if the breath can carry the anxiety right out of you.
On each inhale anchor the mind to the breath by silently saying “in breath,” and repeat “out breath” on each exhale. The belly breathing will calm the body and the mental focus will pull your attention away from your fears and bring you back into connection with your body.
Do this as many times a day as you feel the ground come out from under you. Practice this often and it will become a natural reaction to stress and you’ll find your life becomes calmer day by day.