Anxiety is something many people face on a daily basis. For most people it’s nothing to be too worried about. But for some people, anxiety is coupled with panic attacks. And if you’ve never had a panic attack, you probably don’t know how terrifying those can be. Luckily there are simple ways to end anxiety and it only takes using your five senses to bring yourself to the present moment.
Anxiety typically starts in the head through fear. The way anxiety operates is different for each individual. Which is the first step to understanding how to end anxiety for you. Anxiety, depression, and negative emotional states take a lot of work to create. They require rituals that invoke the emotion. The problem occurs when the ritual is performed enough times to where it becomes unconscious.
How Does Anxiety Work?
Once a habit or ritual is unconscious it is automatic. It is then internalized and becomes a very real problem that can manifest in other forms of mental illness and disease. In order to release internalized anxiety, a lot of healing has to take place. Typically, the healing will be inner child work or forgiveness work. But there are steps you can take on a daily basis as well to help subdue the anxiety and in time get rid of it for good.
Of course, daily meditation is a must. It calms the mind, oxygenates the blood and slows the heart. These all coincide together to reduced anxiety. But what happens when the anxiety is so bad you can’t meditate? Have you ever been there? You want to meditate, you want to relax, but no matter how hard you try it just doesn’t seem to have any effect.
At times of panic, there are certain physiological responses you can make to reduce anxiety. For one, physical action will help you subside anxiety. Going for a walk is one of the healthiest ways to stop anxiety dead in its tracks. The reason is, walking causes neurons to fire in the brain at an unusual sequence. When you walk, and your arms and legs sway at different intervals it causes both sides of the brain to act in a very unique way. So walking alone can be enough to end anxiety, but sometimes even walking is not enough.
When walking isn’t enough, it’s time to use your senses to bring you into the present moment. Anxiety can’t exist in the present moment. Anxiety occurs when fear manifest about a future scenario gone wrong. In order to use your senses, primarily site, sound, and touch, it’s very simple.
What to Do When You Get Anxiety?
As the anxiety begins to set in, step outside for 5-10 minutes. Begin to breath as deep as you can, and engage each of the five senses through pleasure, without labeling. Let me give you an example. You step outside into a parking lot, first notice the ground beneath your feet and how solid it is. If there is grass, take your shoes off and step on it. Feel the grass between your toes, you may even feel wetness if has been watered recently. Then search for another feeling, possibly the wind blowing on your skin, pay very close attention to how that feels. If there is something like a car you can walk over to it and touch the paint, notice how it could be hot or cold depending on the temperature of the air.
After you’ve used your sense of touch with 3-5 different feelings without labeling it’s time to move to another sense. And when I say not to label, I mean let your sense and central nervous system work together to pull you out of your head. Your head will want to label and say, that is cool, or that is hot. The wind feels good or it doesn’t, etc. But the reality is, the feeling is simply a stimulus that is engaging your central nervous system and producing a response. Without labeling and allowing yourself to truly feel the moment, you pull yourself out of your head and into present moment.
More Ways to Use Your Senses
Now, let’s talk about sight, the gift of vision. After you go through a sequence of touch sensations, use your sight to truly view the world. When was the last time you stepped closely to a flower or spider web and really watched it? Notice how many beautiful colors are around you at all times that can make you smile. Look at all the shapes, the angles and circles. They’re fascinating if you really pay attention to them all. And if you look at the depth of objects closely, you can really pull yourself out of your head and see the miracle of life that many of us take for granted every day.
After performing the routine with feeling and sight, move onto sound. Sound is the language of the universe. And if you listen carefully, you’ll likely pick up on a range of sounds you didn’t hear before you started to pay attention. Again, do your best to just listen without labeling. And if you really want to take present level awareness to another level listen to the silence between every sound. And notice the space in every object. None of this would be here without the silence and space. There is a lot of power in repose. As it is said, stillwater runs deep.