Anxiety can be debilitating. It affects approximately six million people in the UK and this number seem to be on the increase, but there are things you can do every day to help you relieve the stress. DAD.info gets some top tips from Christopher Paul Jones – AKA The Breakthrough Expert – on how to let go of fears, anxieties and even phobias…
One reason that anxiety is on the rise is that the stress of modern life isn’t something our primitive brains were designed to deal with. Our brains were designed to see danger and respond by fighting, running or hiding to protect us: when the danger was gone, we could relax.
Whilst this served us well in the past, in the modem world sometimes we react to non-life threatening things like bills and deadlines in the same way and – because some stresses have no end – we are in fight-flight-or-freeze mode all the time, which in turn causes us to become anxious.
Short of changing your job or taking a holiday, what can you do to reduce your anxiety? Here are four top tips for fast results:
1: Focus on your breathing
One of the quickest methods to manage stress is to focus on your breathing. When you are feeling anxious, the first thing that changes is the way you breathe. It becomes fast and shallow. To change this, take deep diaphragmatic breaths, breathing in through your nose for five seconds, holding the breath for five seconds and then exhaling through your mouth for five seconds.
2: Open your awareness
Begin by focusing on your breathing for a few minutes using the technique above, then find a fixed position in front of you, just above eye level.
Hold your arms straight out in front of you, with your thumbs pointing upwards focusing straight ahead.
While still looking straight ahead and without moving your head, slowly move your arms out to the side. As you do this, you will notice that you are taking in more of the room around you.
Stop moving your arms out when you can no longer see your thumbs from the corner of your eyes and let your arms slowly drop to your sides.
Continue taking deep breaths, looking straight ahead and remain aware of everything around you.
3: Change your focus
This time while breathing deeply, start to notice the shape of all the objects at the edge of your vision. Become aware of four things you can SEE around you without moving your head. Remember to keep your eye muscles softened.
Now become aware of four things you can HEAR around you, external sounds or any sounds inside your head. Continue breathing deeply.
Now become aware of four things you can FEEL around you, like your feet on the floor, the tension of muscles in your body, the sensations on your skin, the awareness of your heart, lungs and other organs. Continue breathing deeply.
Repeat the steps above, this time focussing on three things you SEE, HEAR and FEEL around you. Then repeat for two things you SEE, HEAR and FEEL around you, and then one thing you SEE, HEAR and FEEL around you.
4: Tap it out
Tapping has become very popular in recent years. Although it may seem a bit strange at first, many of my clients report it as an easy and effective way of releasing fear. Tapping works best in the moment when you are feeling stressed.
Tap each of these places in order, for about five seconds each:
Eyebrow: Just above and to one side of the nose, at the beginning of the eyebrow
Side of the eye: On the bone bordering the outside corner of the eye
Under the eye: On the bone under the eye, about one inch below your pupil
Under the nose: On the indent between the bottom of your nose and the top of your upper lip
Chin: Midway between the point of your chin and the bottom of your lower lip
Collar bone: The junction where the sternum (breastbone), collarbone and the first rib meet
Under the arm: On the side of the body, about four inches below the armpit
Top of the head: With fingers back-to-back down the centre of the skull
Repeat this process until you feel calmer.
Try these four tips whenever you feel anxious and you should find your anxiety becomes a lot more manageable.
Watch this short video about how to tap away your fear, anxiety and phobias, too.
Christopher Paul Jones, aka The Breakthrough Expert, is a therapist based in Harley Street who specialises in helping people let go of their fears, anxieties and phobias. From a fear of public speaking to anxieties around work, Christopher has helped hundreds of people ‘let go’ and get their lives back.