Anxiety can creep up on anyone, at any time. In fact, it’s so common that almost everyone has experienced it at some point in their lives. But did you know that a whopping 18.1% of the population in the United States of America is impacted by anxiety every year? That’s a lot of people feeling the weight of worry on their shoulders. The good news is that anxiety is treatable. However, it’s alarming to learn that only 36.9% of those suffering from anxiety actually receive treatment. That means there are a lot of people out there struggling in silence. Occasional anxiety can be triggered by stress, but it usually doesn’t stick around for long after the event ends. This type of anxiety is manageable and doesn’t typically disrupt our daily lives. However, if anxiety persists over time or across different situations, it’s likely rooted in something deeper and triggered by current stressors. Don’t let anxiety control your life – seek help and take control of your mental health.
Where do I start?
Managing anxiety can be a daunting task, but fear not! The secret is to start small and work your way up. Once you’ve got a handle on the little things, you’ll be in a better headspace to tackle the bigger issues. Now, we can’t completely banish anxiety from our lives, but we can certainly reduce its hold on us and regain control. Think of anxiety like the ocean – it ebbs and flows in waves. But with the right tools and techniques, we can learn to ride those waves like a pro surfer, instead of getting dragged under.
Fight or flight response
Let’s dive into the fascinating world of the amygdala! This little powerhouse is located deep within the brain’s temporal lobe and is responsible for all things emotional. Think of it as your brain’s very own emotional interpreter or manager. It takes in everything you see and hear and sends messages to different parts of the brain, assigning value to the sights and sounds. So, if you come across a grizzly bear on a walk, your amygdala will send a message to the hippocampus that there’s a threat ahead – and the value assigned would be fear. But that’s not all – the amygdala is also responsible for triggering the “fight or flight response”. When we experience anxiety, our body reacts in a number of ways. For example, if we spot a coyote while walking our dog, our pupils may dilate, our heart may start racing, and our body may tense up. This is our body’s natural response to a perceived threat – it’s getting ready to run! However, sometimes the amygdala can overreact. People who have experienced trauma, chronic stress, or anxiety disorders may have an amygdala that reacts more strongly than others. This can cause everyday events to be interpreted as overly threatening. So, next time you feel anxious, remember that it’s just your amygdala doing its job – and try to take a deep breath and stay calm.
Change your thoughts, change your experience
Our bodies actually have a built-in system to help us escape from scary situations. It’s pretty amazing, but sometimes our brains get a little confused and start thinking that non-life-threatening situations are actually life or death. That’s where things get tricky. So, how do we calm down and take our foot off the gas pedal? It all starts with our thoughts. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions are all connected. If we can change the initial thought that leads to a certain feeling and subsequent action, we can break the cycle of anxiety. It’s like taking a rung out of a ladder – without that one step, we can’t climb any higher. That’s where therapy comes in. By reflecting on what happened before an anxiety attack and examining our thought patterns, we can start to challenge those negative thoughts and feelings. We can learn to recognize when our brains are misinterpreting a situation and take control of our reactions. It’s not always easy, but with practice, we can learn to calm our minds and overcome anxiety.
Interrupt the cycle with Tapping
Did you know that tapping can actually calm your brain? It’s true! Similar to acupressure, tapping sends electrical signals to specific points on your body, which can help release negative beliefs that lead to anxiety and stress. And get this – studies have shown that tapping can even reduce cortisol levels, which is a major stress hormone.
So, how does it work? All you have to do is focus on a negative emotion and tap 5-7 times on 9 specific meridian points on your body. This sends a calming signal to your brain, letting it know that it’s safe to relax. It’s like giving your brain a little hug!
Next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious, why not give tapping a try? It’s a simple and effective way to help you feel more at ease. Ready to tap away and see how it can help you feel more calm and centered?
1) Identify the problem. It can be general anxiety, or it can be a specific situation or issue which causes us to feel anxious.
2) Consider the problem or situation. Do a quick check-in and rate your anxiety level on a scale of 0 to 10. Zero means you’re as cool as a cucumber, while ten means you’re feeling pretty darn anxious. So, where do you fall on the scale?
3) Compose a setup statement. Picture this: you’re feeling anxious about something. Maybe it’s an upcoming interview, or a difficult conversation you need to have. Your mind is racing, your heart is pounding, and you can’t seem to shake the feeling of unease. But wait! There’s a simple technique you can use to help calm those nerves. It’s called a setup statement, and it goes a little something like this: first, acknowledge the problem. Admit to yourself that you’re feeling anxious, or scared, or whatever it is that’s bothering you. Then, follow it up with a phrase of acceptance. Tell yourself that it’s okay to feel this way, that you’re not judging yourself for it. For example, you might say, “even though I feel this anxiety, I accept how I feel.” Or, “even though I’m anxious about my interview, I accept myself and how I feel.” By doing this, you’re taking the power away from those negative thoughts and emotions, and giving yourself permission to feel what you feel. So go ahead, give it a try! You might be surprised at how much it helps.
Next, while repeating your setup statement, with four fingers on one hand, begin tapping the Karate Chop point on your other hand. The Karate Chop point is on the outer edge of the hand, on the opposite side from the thumb.
4) Repeat the setup statement three times aloud, while simultaneously tapping the Karate Chop point. Now take a deep breath.
5) Next, tap about 5 to 7 times each on the remaining eight points in the sequence described below. As we tap on each point, repeat a simple reminder phrase, such as “my anxiety” or “my interview” or “my financial situation” to help mentally focus on the issue.