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HOW TO STOP ANXIETY AND WORRY

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Walt Oleksy, May 14, 2015.

  1. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    HOW TO STOP ANXIETY AND WORRY

    Many people are posting on the TMSWiki about anxiety and worrying. Here are some suggestions on dealing with those TMS subjects from Lawrence Robinson, Robert Segal, M.A.; Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.; Melinda Smith, M.A.; and the University of Texas Health Center, the University of Maryland Medical Center, the University of Michigan Health Center, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. They do not necessarily endorse the TMS Mindbody healing philosophy, but their suggestions are totally in line with TMS healing techniques.

    Worrying can be helpful when it spurs you to take action and solve a problem. But if you’re preoccupied with “what if’s” and worst-case scenarios, worry becomes a problem. Unrelenting doubts and fears can be paralyzing. They can sap your emotional energy, send your anxiety levels soaring, and interfere with your daily life. But chronic worrying is a mental habit that can be broken. You can train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more positive perspective.

    Why is it so hard to stop worrying?
    Constant worrying takes a heavy toll. It keeps you up at night and makes you tense and edgy during the day. But why is it so difficult to stop worrying?

    For most chronic worriers, the anxious thoughts are fueled by the beliefs—both negative and positive—they hold about worrying.

    On the negative side, you may believe that your constant worrying is harmful, that it’s going to drive you crazy or affect your physical health. Or you may worry that you’re going to lose all control over your worrying—that it will take over and never stop.

    On the positive side, you may believe that your worrying helps you avoid bad things, prevents problems, prepares you for the worst, or leads to solutions.

    Negative beliefs, or worrying about worrying, add to your anxiety and keep worry going. But positive beliefs about worrying can be just as damaging. It’s tough to break the worry habit if you believe that your worrying protects you. In order to stop worry and anxiety for good, you must give up your belief that worrying serves a positive purpose. Once you realize that worrying is the problem, not the solution, you can regain control of your worried mind.

    Worry and anxiety self-help tip #1: Create a worry period
    You’ve tried lots of things, from distracting yourself, reasoning with your worries, and trying to think positive, but nothing seems to work.

    Telling yourself to stop worrying doesn’t work—at least not for long. You can distract yourself or suppress anxious thoughts for a moment, but you can’t banish them for good. In fact, trying to do so often makes them stronger and more persistent.

    Try the strategy of postponing worrying. Rather than trying to stop or get rid of an anxious thought, give yourself permission to have it, but put off thinking any more about it until later.

    Learning to postpone worrying:
    1. Create a “worry period.” Choose a set time and place for worrying. It should be the same every day (e.g. in the living room from 5:00 to 5:20 p.m.) and early enough that it won’t make you anxious right before bedtime. During your worry period, you’re allowed to worry about whatever’s on your mind. The rest of the day, however, is a worry-free zone.
    2. Postpone your worry. If an anxious thought or worry comes into your head during the day, make a brief note of it on paper and postpone it to your worry period. Remind yourself that you’ll have time to think about it later, so there’s no need to worry about it right now. Save it for later and continue to go about your day.
    3. Go over your “worry list” during the worry period. Reflect on the worries you wrote down during the day. If the thoughts are still bothering you, allow yourself to worry about them, but only for the amount of time you’ve specified for your worry period. If the worries don’t seem important any more, cut your worry period short and enjoy the rest of your day.
    Postponing worrying is effective because it breaks the habit of dwelling on worries in the present moment. Yet there’s no struggle to suppress the thought or judge it. You simply save it for later. As you develop the ability to postpone your anxious thoughts, you’ll start to realize that you have more control over your worrying than you think.

    Worry and anxiety self-help tip #2: Ask yourself if the problem is solvable
    Research shows that while you’re worrying, you temporarily feel less anxious. Running over the problem in your head distracts you from your emotions and makes you feel like you’re getting something accomplished. But worrying and problem solving are two very different things.

    Problem solving involves evaluating a situation, coming up with concrete steps for dealing with it, and then putting the plan into action. Worrying, on the other hand, rarely leads to solutions. No matter how much time you spend dwelling on worst-case scenarios, you’re no more prepared to deal with them should they actually happen.

    Distinguish between solvable and unsolvable worries
    If a worry pops into your head, start by asking yourself whether the problem is something you can actually solve. The following questions can help:

    • Is the problem something you’re currently facing, rather than an imaginary what-if?
    • If the problem is an imaginary what-if, how likely is it to happen? Is your concern realistic?
    • Can you do something about the problem or prepare for it, or is it out of your control?
    Productive, solvable worries are those you can take action on right away. For example, if you’re worried about your bills, you could call your creditors to see about flexible payment options. Unproductive, unsolvable worries are those for which there is no corresponding action. “What if I get cancer someday?” or “What if my kid gets into an accident?”

    If the worry is solvable, start brainstorming. Make a list of all the possible solutions you can think of. Try not to get too hung up on finding the perfect solution. Focus on the things you have the power to change, rather than the circumstances or realities beyond your control. After you’ve evaluated your options, make a plan of action. Once you have a plan and start doing something about the problem, you’ll feel much less worried.

    Dealing with unsolvable worries
    But what if the worry isn’t something you can solve? If you’re a chronic worrier, the vast majority of your anxious thoughts probably fall in this camp. In such cases, it’s important to tune into your emotions.

    As previously mentioned, worrying helps you avoid unpleasant emotions. Worrying keeps you in your head, thinking about how to solve problems rather than allowing yourself to feel the underlying emotions. But you can’t worry your emotions away. While you’re worrying, your feelings are temporarily suppressed, but as soon as you stop, the tension and anxiety bounces back. And then, you start worrying about your feelings, “What’s wrong with me? I shouldn’t feel this way!”

    The only way out of this vicious cycle is by learning to embrace your feelings. This may seem scary at first because of negative beliefs you have about emotions. For example, you may believe that you should always be rational and in control, that your feelings should always make sense, or that you shouldn’t feel certain emotions, such as fear or anger.

    The truth is that emotions—like life—are messy. They don’t always make sense and they’re not always pleasant. But as long as you can accept your feelings as part of being human, you’ll be able to experience them without becoming overwhelmed and learn how to use them to your advantage. The following tips will help you find a better balance between your intellect and your emotions.

    Worry and anxiety self-help tip #3: Accept uncertainty
    The inability to tolerate uncertainty plays a huge role in anxiety and worry. Chronic worriers can’t stand doubt or unpredictability. They need to know with 100 percent certainty what’s going to happen. Worrying is seen as a way to predict what the future has in store—a way to prevent unpleasant surprises and control the outcome. The problem is, it doesn’t work.

    Thinking about all the things that could go wrong doesn’t make life any more predictable. You may feel safer when you’re worrying, but it’s just an illusion. Focusing on worst-case scenarios won’t keep bad things from happening. It will only keep you from enjoying the good things you have in the present. So if you want to stop worrying, start by tackling your need for certainty and immediate answers.

    Challenging intolerance of uncertainty: The key to anxiety relief
    Ask yourself the following questions and write down your responses. See if you can come to an understanding of the disadvantages and problems of being intolerant of uncertainty.

    • Is it possible to be certain about everything in life?
    • What are the advantages of requiring certainty, versus the disadvantages? Or, how is needing certainty in life helpful and unhelpful?
    • Do you tend to predict bad things will happen just because they are uncertain? Is this a reasonable thing to do? What is the likelihood of positive or neutral outcomes?
    • Is it possible to live with the small chance that something negative may happen, given its likelihood is very low?
    Worry and anxiety self-help tip #4: Challenge anxious thoughts
    If you suffer from chronic anxiety and worries, chances are you look at the world in ways that make it seem more dangerous than it really is. For example, you may overestimate the possibility that things will turn out badly, jump immediately to worst-case scenarios, or treat every negative thought as if it were fact. You may also discredit your own ability to handle life’s problems, assuming you’ll fall apart at the first sign of trouble. These irrational, pessimistic attitudes are known as cognitive distortions.

    Although cognitive distortions aren’t based on reality, they’re not easy to give up. Often, they’re part of a lifelong pattern of thinking that’s become so automatic you’re not even completely aware of it. In order to break these bad thinking habits and stop the worry and anxiety they bring, you must retrain your brain.

    Start by identifying the frightening thought, being as detailed as possible about what scares or worries you. Then, instead of viewing your thoughts as facts, treat them as hypotheses you’re testing out. As you examine and challenge your worries and fears, you’ll develop a more balanced perspective.

    Stop worry by questioning the worried thought:
    • What’s the evidence that the thought is true? That it’s not true?
    • Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
    • What’s the probability that what I’m scared of will actually happen?
    • If the probability is low, what are some more likely outcomes?
    • Is the thought helpful? How will worrying about it help me and how will it hurt me?
    • What would I say to a friend who had this worry?
    Worry and anxiety self-help tip # 5: Be aware of how others affect you
    How you feel is affected by the company you keep, whether you’re aware of it or not. Studies show that emotions are contagious. We quickly “catch” moods from other people—even from strangers who never speak a word (e.g. the terrified woman sitting by you on the plane; the fuming man in the checkout line). The people you spend a lot of time with have an even greater impact on your mental state.

    • Keep a worry diary. You may not be aware of how people or situations are affecting you. Maybe this is the way it’s always been in your family, or you’ve been dealing with the stress so long that it feels normal. You may want to keep a worry diary for a week or so. Every time you start to worry, jot down the thought and what triggered it. Over time, you’ll start to see patterns.
    • Spend less time with people who make you anxious. Is there someone in your life who drags you down or always seems to leave you feeling stressed? Think about cutting back on the time you spend with that person or establish healthier relationship boundaries. For example, you might set certain topics off-limits, if you know that talking about them with that person makes you anxious.
    • Choose your confidantes carefully. Know who to talk to about situations that make you anxious. Some people will help you gain perspective, while others will feed into your worries, doubts, and fears.
    Worry and anxiety self-help tip #6: Practice mindfulness
    Worrying is usually focused on the future—on what might happen and what you’ll do about it. The centuries-old practice of mindfulness can help you break free of your worries by bringing your attention back to the present. In contrast to the previous techniques of challenging your anxious thoughts or postponing them to a worry period, this strategy is based on observing and then letting them go. Together, they can help you identify where your thinking is causing problems, while helping you get in touch with your emotions.

    • Acknowledge and observe your anxious thoughts and feelings. Don’t try to ignore, fight, or control them like you usually would. Instead, simply observe them as if from an outsider’s perspective, without reacting or judging.
    • Let your worries go. Notice that when you don’t try to control the anxious thoughts that pop up, they soon pass, like clouds moving across the sky. It’s only when you engage your worries that you get stuck.
    • Stay focused on the present. Pay attention to the way your body feels, the rhythm of your breathing, your ever-changing emotions, and the thoughts that drift across your mind. If you find yourself getting stuck on a particular thought, bring your attention back to the present moment.
    Using mindfulness meditation to stay focused on the present is a simple concept, but it takes practice to reap the benefits. At first, you’ll probably find that your mind keeps wandering back to your worries. Try not to get frustrated. Each time you draw your focus back to the present, you’re reinforcing a new mental habit that will help you break free of the negative worry cycle.

    Learn more about worry-busting relaxation techniques. If you’re a chronic worrier, relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing, and meditation can help. Since it’s impossible to be anxious and relaxed at the same time, strengthening your body’s relaxation response is a powerful worry-busting tactic.

    The relaxation response: Bringing your nervous system back into balance
    Stress is necessary for life. You need stress for creativity, learning, and your very survival. Stress is only harmful when it becomes overwhelming and interrupts the healthy state of equilibrium that your nervous system needs to remain in balance. Unfortunately, overwhelming stress has become an increasingly common characteristic of contemporary life. When stressors throw your nervous system out of balance, relaxation techniques can bring it back into a balanced state by producing the relaxation response, a state of deep calmness that is the polar opposite of the stress response.

    When stress overwhelms your nervous system your body is flooded with chemicals that prepare you for "fight or flight." While the stress response can be lifesaving in emergency situations where you need to act quickly, it wears your body down when constantly activated by the stresses of everyday life. The relaxation response puts the brakes on this heightened state of readiness and brings your body and mind back into a state of equilibrium.

    Producing the relaxation response
    A variety of different relaxation techniques can help you bring your nervous system back into balance by producing the relaxation response. The relaxation response is not lying on the couch or sleeping but a mentally active process that leaves the body relaxed, calm, and focused.

    Learning the basics of these relaxation techniques isn’t difficult, but it does take practice. Most stress experts recommend setting aside at least 10 to 20 minutes a day for your relaxation practice. If you’d like to get even more stress relief, aim for 30 minutes to an hour. If that sounds like a daunting commitment, remember that many of these techniques can be incorporated into your existing daily schedule—practiced at your desk over lunch or on the bus during your morning commute.

    Finding the relaxation technique that’s best for you
    There is no single relaxation technique that is best for everyone. When choosing a relaxation technique, consider your specific needs, preferences, fitness level, and the way you tend to react to stress. The right relaxation technique is the one that resonates with you, fits your lifestyle, and is able to focus your mind and interrupt your everyday thoughts in order to elicit the relaxation response. In many cases, you may find that alternating or combining different techniques will keep you motivated and provide you with the best results.

    How you react to stress may influence the relaxation technique that works best for you:

    Do you need alone time or social stimulation?
    If you crave solitude, solo relaxation techniques such as meditation or progressive muscle relaxation will give you the space to quiet your mind and recharge your batteries. If you crave social interaction, a class setting will give you the stimulation and support you’re looking for. Practicing with others may also help you stay motivated.

    Relaxation technique 1: Breathing meditation for stress relief
    With its focus on full, cleansing breaths, deep breathing is a simple, yet powerful, relaxation technique. It’s easy to learn, can be practiced almost anywhere, and provides a quick way to get your stress levels in check. Deep breathing is the cornerstone of many other relaxation practices, too, and can be combined with other relaxing elements such as aromatherapy and music. All you really need is a few minutes and a place to stretch out.

    Practicing deep breathing meditation
    The key to deep breathing is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as possible in your lungs. When you take deep breaths from the abdomen, rather than shallow breaths from your upper chest, you inhale more oxygen. The more oxygen you get, the less tense, short of breath, and anxious you feel.

    • Sit comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
    • Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest should move very little.
    • Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other hand should move very little.
    • Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.
    If you find it difficult breathing from your abdomen while sitting up, try lying on the floor. Put a small book on your stomach, and try to breathe so that the book rises as you inhale and falls as you exhale.

    Relaxation technique 2: Progressive muscle relaxation for stress relief
    Progressive muscle relaxation involves a two-step process in which you systematically tense and relax different muscle groups in the body.

    With regular practice, progressive muscle relaxation gives you an intimate familiarity with what tension—as well as complete relaxation—feels like in different parts of the body. This awareness helps you spot and counteract the first signs of the muscular tension that accompanies stress. And as your body relaxes, so will your mind. You can combine deep breathing with progressive muscle relaxation for an additional level of stress relief.

    Practicing progressive muscle relaxation
    Before practicing Progressive Muscle Relaxation, consult with your doctor if you have a history of muscle spasms, back problems, or other serious injuries that may be aggravated by tensing muscles.

    Most progressive muscle relaxation practitioners start at the feet and work their way up to the face. For a sequence of muscle groups to follow, see the box below.

    • Loosen your clothing, take off your shoes, and get comfortable.
    • Take a few minutes to relax, breathing in and out in slow, deep breaths.
    • When you’re relaxed and ready to start, shift your attention to your right foot. Take a moment to focus on the way it feels.
    • Slowly tense the muscles in your right foot, squeezing as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10.
    • Relax your right foot. Focus on the tension flowing away and the way your foot feels as it becomes limp and loose.
    • Stay in this relaxed state for a moment, breathing deeply and slowly.
    • When you’re ready, shift your attention to your left foot. Follow the same sequence of muscle tension and release.
    • Move slowly up through your body, contracting and relaxing the muscle groups as you go.
    • It may take some practice at first, but try not to tense muscles other than those intended.
    Progressive Muscle Relaxation Sequence
    The most popular sequence runs as follows:

    1. Right foot*
    2. Left foot
    3. Right calf
    4. Left calf
    5. Right thigh
    1. Left thigh
    2. Hips and buttocks
    3. Stomach
    4. Chest
    5. Back
    1. Right arm and hand
    2. Left arm and hand
    3. Neck and shoulders
    4. Face
    * If you are left-handed you may want to begin with your left foot instead.

    Relaxation technique 3: Body scan meditation for stress relief
    A body scan is similar to progressive muscle relaxation except, instead of tensing and relaxing muscles, you simply focus on the sensations in each part of your body.

    Practicing body scan meditation
    • Lie on your back, legs uncrossed, arms relaxed at your sides, eyes open or closed. Focus on your breathing, allowing your stomach to rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale. Breathe deeply for about two minutes, until you start to feel comfortable and relaxed.
    • Turn your focus to the toes of your right foot. Notice any sensations you feel while continuing to also focus on your breathing. Imagine each deep breath flowing to your toes. Remain focused on this area for one to two minutes.
    • Move your focus to the sole of your right foot. Tune in to any sensations you feel in that part of your body and imagine each breath flowing from the sole of your foot. After one or two minutes, move your focus to your right ankle and repeat. Move to your calf, knee, thigh, hip, and then repeat the sequence for your left leg. From there, move up the torso, through the lower back and abdomen, the upper back and chest, and the shoulders. Pay close attention to any area of the body that causes you pain or discomfort.
    • Move your focus to the fingers on your right hand and then move up to the wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm, and shoulder. Repeat for your left arm. Then move through the neck and throat, and finally all the regions of your face, the back of the head, and the top of the head. Pay close attention to your jaw, chin, lips, tongue, nose, cheeks, eyes, forehead, temples and scalp. When you reach the very top of your head, let your breath reach out beyond your body and imagine yourself hovering above yourself.
    • After completing the body scan, relax for a while in silence and stillness, noting how your body feels. Then open your eyes slowly. Take a moment to stretch, if necessary.
    For a guided body scan meditation, see the Resources section below.

    Relaxation technique 4: Mindfulness for stress relief
    Mindfulness is the ability to remain aware of how you’re feeling right now, your “moment-to-moment” experience—both internal and external. Thinking about the past—blaming and judging yourself—or worrying about the future can often lead to a degree of stress that is overwhelming. But by staying calm and focused in the present moment, you can bring your nervous system back into balance. Mindfulness can be applied to activities such as walking, exercising, eating, or meditation.

    Meditations that cultivate mindfulness have long been used to reduce overwhelming stress. Some of these meditations bring you into the present by focusing your attention on a single repetitive action, such as your breathing, a few repeated words, or flickering light from a candle. Other forms of mindfulness meditation encourage you to follow and then release internal thoughts or sensations.

    Practicing mindfulness meditation
    Key points in mindfulness mediation are:

    • A quiet environment. Choose a secluded place in your home, office, garden, place of worship, or in the great outdoors where you can relax without distractions or interruptions.
    • A comfortable position. Get comfortable, but avoid lying down as this may lead to you falling asleep. Sit up with your spine straight, either in a chair or on the floor. You can also try a cross-legged or lotus position.
    • A point of focus. This point can be internal—a feeling or imaginary scene—or something external - a flame or meaningful word or phrase that you repeat it throughout your session. You may meditate with eyes open or closed. Also choose to focus on an object in your surroundings to enhance your concentration, or alternately, you can close your eyes.
    • An observant, noncritical attitude. Don’t worry about distracting thoughts that go through your mind or about how well you’re doing. If thoughts intrude during your relaxation session, don’t fight them. Instead, gently turn your attention back to your point of focus.
    Relaxation technique 5: Visualization meditation for stress relief
    Visualization, or guided imagery, is a variation on traditional meditation that requires you to employ not only your visual sense, but also your sense of taste, touch, smell, and sound. When used as a relaxation technique, visualization involves imagining a scene in which you feel at peace, free to let go of all tension and anxiety.

    Choose whatever setting is most calming to you, whether it’s a tropical beach, a favorite childhood spot, or a quiet wooded glen. You can do this visualization exercise on your own in silence, while listening to soothing music, or with a therapist (or an audio recording of a therapist) guiding you through the imagery. To help you employ your sense of hearing you can use a sound machine or download sounds that match your chosen setting—the sound of ocean waves if you’ve chosen a beach, for example.

    Practicing visualization
    Find a quiet, relaxed place. Beginners sometimes fall asleep during a visualization meditation, so you might try sitting up or standing.

    Close your eyes and let your worries drift away. Imagine your restful place. Picture it as vividly as you can—everything you can see, hear, smell, and feel. Visualization works best if you incorporate as many sensory details as possible, using at least three of your senses. When visualizing, choose imagery that appeals to you; don’t select images because someone else suggests them, or because you think they should be appealing. Let your own images come up and work for you.

    If you are thinking about a dock on a quiet lake, for example:

    • Walk slowly around the dock and notice the colors and textures around you.
    • Spend some time exploring each of your senses.
    • See the sun setting over the water.
    • Hear the birds singing.
    • Smell the pine trees.
    • Feel the cool water on your bare feet.
    • Taste the fresh, clean air.
    Enjoy the feeling of deep relaxation that envelopes you as you slowly explore your restful place. When you are ready, gently open your eyes and come back to the present.

    Don't worry if you sometimes zone out or lose track of where you are during a guided imagery session. This is normal. You may also experience feelings of stiffness or heaviness in your limbs, minor, involuntary muscle-movements, or even cough or yawn. Again, these are normal responses.

    Relaxation technique 6: Yoga and tai chi for stress relief
    Yoga involves a series of both moving and stationary poses, combined with deep breathing. As well as reducing anxiety and stress, yoga can also improve flexibility, strength, balance, and stamina. Practiced regularly, it can also strengthen the relaxation response in your daily life. Since injuries can happen when yoga is practiced incorrectly, it’s best to learn by attending group classes, hiring a private teacher, or at least following video instructions.

    What type of yoga is best for stress?
    Although almost all yoga classes end in a relaxation pose, classes that emphasize slow, steady movement, deep breathing, and gentle stretching are best for stress relief.

    • Satyananda is a traditional form of yoga. It features gentle poses, deep relaxation, and meditation, making it suitable for beginners as well as anyone primarily looking for stress reduction.
    • Hatha yoga is also reasonably gentle way to relieve stress and is suitable for beginners. Alternately, look for labels like gentle, for stress relief, or for beginners when selecting a yoga class.
    • Power yoga, with its intense poses and focus on fitness, is better suited to those looking for stimulation as well as relaxation.
    If you’re unsure whether a specific yoga class is appropriate for stress relief, call the studio or ask the teacher.

    Tai chi
    If you’ve ever seen a group of people in the park slowly moving in synch, you’ve probably witnessed tai chi. Tai chi is a self-paced, non-competitive series of slow, flowing body movements. These movements emphasize concentration, relaxation, and the conscious circulation of vital energy throughout the body. Though tai chi has its roots in martial arts, today it is primarily practiced as a way of calming the mind, conditioning the body, and reducing stress. As in meditation, tai chi practitioners focus on their breathing and keeping their attention in the present moment.

    Tai chi is a safe, low-impact option for people of all ages and levels of fitness, including older adults and those recovering from injuries. Like yoga, once you’ve learned the basics of tai chi or qi gong, you can practice alone or with others, tailoring your sessions as you see fit.

    Making relaxation techniques a part of your life
    The best way to start and maintain a relaxation practice is to incorporate it into your daily routine. Between work, family, school, and other commitments, though, it can be tough for many people to find the time. Fortunately, many of the techniques can be practiced while you’re doing other things.

    Rhythmic exercise as a mindfulness relaxation technique
    Rhythmic exercise—such as running, walking, rowing, or cycling—is most effective at relieving stress when performed with relaxation in mind. As with meditation, mindfulness requires being fully engaged in the present moment, focusing your mind on how your body feels right now. As you exercise, focus on the physicality of your body’s movement and how your breathing complements that movement. If your mind wanders to other thoughts, gently return to focusing on your breathing and movement.

    If walking or running, for example, focus on each step—the sensation of your feet touching the ground, the rhythm of your breath while moving, and the feeling of the wind against your face.

    Tips for fitting relaxation techniques into your life
    • If possible, schedule a set time to practice each day. Set aside one or two periods each day. You may find that it’s easier to stick with your practice if you do it first thing in the morning, before other tasks and responsibilities get in the way.
    • Practice relaxation techniques while you’re doing other things. Meditate while commuting to work on a bus or train, or waiting for a dentist appointment. Try deep breathing while you’re doing housework or mowing the lawn. Mindfulness walking can be done while exercising your dog, walking to your car, or climbing the stairs at work instead of using the elevator. Once you’ve learned techniques such as tai chi, you can practice them in your office or in the park at lunchtime.
    • If you exercise, improve the relaxation benefits by adopting mindfulness. Instead of zoning out or staring at a TV as you exercise, try focusing your attention on your body. If you’re resistance training, for example, focus on coordinating your breathing with your movements and pay attention to how your body feels as you raise and lower the weights.
    • Avoid practicing when you’re sleepy. These techniques can relax you so much that they can make you very sleepy, especially if it’s close to bedtime. You will get the most benefit if you practice when you’re fully awake and alert. Do not practice after eating a heavy meal or while using drugs, tobacco, or alcohol.
    • Expect ups and downs. Don’t be discouraged if you skip a few days or even a few weeks. It happens. Just get started again and slowly build up to your old momentum.
    I hope these suggestions help relieve your anxiety and worrying.
     
    Emilsen and JenV like this.
  2. Andy B

    Andy B Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wow Walt! Thanks for this wonderful exploration of help for worrying and anxiety.

    Stepping back, watching someone else worry or scanning through this, it is easy to see what a silly, monkey mind activity worry is! Almost like the content of the worry doesn't matter, it is the activity itself that must be seen as a distraction to awareness/feeling anything any deeper. Just like the location of TMS pain isn't important, except that it must be "believable," just like the "problem" that the worry activity seizes on. Not that worrying is not painful. Pain == distraction. Many thanks.

    Andy B.
     
  3. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    This is really good stuff and nearly identical to an audiobook I've been listening to, "The Worry Cure" by Robert Leahy. A couple of things that we of particular benefit to me ...
    1. Getting past the belief that I need to worry to be responsible (it's not true)
    2. Accepting that life is full of uncertainty. Accept it and let it go!!

    I recently started a new and very responsible job. I've been listening to this audiobook over and over and it has been very helpful.
     
    575 likes this.
  4. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Andy and Tim. I'm glad you found the info helpful.
    I love that old cartoon with the guy who said, "What, me worry?"
    I'll see if it's on Youtube.
     
  5. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, there are several video clips for Alfred E. Newman "What, me worry?"

    People needed it back in the 50s or whenever, too!
     

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