How to Create Calm in an Anxious Body
Ten years ago, this is the last thing I thought anyone would say to me.
It doesn’t seem like you have a nerve in your body. You seem so calm.
But that’s exactly what happened just a few weeks ago. I was telling a group of women about my Millennial Marvel book project and how excited I am for it. I shared part of my story with the ladies and how I’ve dealt with my own anxiety as I’ve gotten older.
As you can imagine, coming off as a “calm” person was new for me, as someone who’s always struggled with anxiety. I’ve worked very hard over the years to calm my mind, body, and spirit.
It felt so good to have that work reflected back to me by none other than a stranger. (Let me also add: that evening, I was actually feeling especially anxious within my body, so it was a real accomplishment for me to appear cool, calm, and collected.)
The trouble with palpable anxiety
Not all anxiety is inherently evil. (Read about the benefits of it here.) However, there are certainly unique struggles that anxious people face. Here are just a few:
You aren’t thinking clearly.
When you let your anxiety get the best of you, you aren’t necessarily thinking clearly. If you can calm your mind, you’ll likely be able to make more thoughtful decisions and actions.
You let it control you.
You’ve probably noticed that letting your anxiety take control, you can be thrown into a full-on panic – maybe even an anxiety attack. So it’s critical that you take control of it; not the other way around.
Others can sense it on you.
Have you ever been around a really anxious person? How does that make you feel? As an empath, I have to be incredibly careful around anxious people, because it can immediately throw me into anxiety myself. Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar – it doesn’t feel good to be around.
How to turn your anxiety into calm
So how do you go from an anxious person to a calmer, more collected person? Here are a few ways that have worked for me.
1. Learn to breathe
Do you realize how often you hold your breath or breathe shallowly? We do it more than you think.
Learn to consciously breathe…especially when about to enter or in a stressful situation. When I’m aware of my anxiety level rising, I try to stop and take a few meaningful breaths to calm my body.
2. Self-acupressure or tapping
Do you know where you hold your anxiety? Mine is always in my chest.
Years ago, a therapist recommended a self-acupressure (or tapping) method that has really worked for me.
When you feel your anxiety spiking, gently tap the area you hold your stress with the pads of your fingers. Not only does the consciously draw your mind to that area, but the physical act of tapping also “breaks up” the anxiety until it is essentially gone.
3. Slow down
If you’re like me, being late, rushing around, or having too many things on your plate can be a recipe for disaster – and becoming an anxious mess.
Try slowing down and planning ahead so that anxiety won’t get the best of you later.
I’ve been talking about meditating for a while now because I’ve found it to be a truly beneficial practice for not only my overall health and wellbeing, but also any stress or anxiety that is lingering.
Regular mediation – in just a few minutes a day – will help you become more aware of your anxiety (as well as where it resides and what triggers it) and generally calms your body so that you can be in the world as a less anxiety-ridden person.
What helps you stay calm and less anxious? Which of the tips above help you the most?