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April 10, 2017

7 ways to bring yourself out of an anxious moment and into the present

For millions of people, anxiety, worry and fear are a part of everyday life. If you are one of those people, you may find yourself worrying about your health, your work, your family or all of the above.

Living with the nagging fear of the unknown can be unbearable at times. Even the most mindful of people are not free from such worry.

Through practicing Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MSBR) I was able to get a pretty good grip on what to do when those feelings came on for me. So much so over that the past few years, I have gone on autopilot and lately have felt those horrible anxious feelings creeping up.

My routine has felt stale to me so I decided that freshening things up may help ease tension. I took a new yoga class and the teacher said something that really struck me and brought me back to center. It was the first moment in a long time that I started to feel like I had some control back.

She said simply, “This is your time to be where you are. Focus on letting everything else go and being present for there is no fear in the present.”

At that moment, something clicked. I thought, that’s right! There is no fear in the present. There is nothing to worry about in this moment. I can’t worry about things that may or may not happen in the future. I need to worry about making the best decisions in the present and the rest will take care of itself.

One simple thought changed my perspective and got me thinking about ways that I could bring myself back to the present moment so I wanted to share them with you.

Below are my seven ways to bring yourself out of a fearful moment and into the now:

Stop and smell the roses.

Activating your senses will bring you into the moment at hand. Use your sense of smell to stop your mind from wandering. Put some lavender oil on your wrist and smell it for its relaxing benefits. Don’t have essential oil on hand? Find the nearest flower or anything that you think would be pleasing to you.

Clap your hands.

Let the sound and the feeling of clapping your hands serve as a reminder to you that you are in the here and now and that is exactly where you need to be. If anxiety is the light, turn it off using your hands like you would use the clapper.

Call someone you love.

Talking helps many people through an anxious moment. Call someone you love and ask how theirday is going. Get onto a topic other than yourself. Ask for help if you need it or have something specific to talk through. People you love are often the best sources of reassurance.

Listen to Music or Read.

Listening to music or reading can transport you. Pick something light to read or listen to when you are feeling troubled. Relax and let the words take you to a better place.

Exercise.

Physical exertion is one of the most helpful tools for me when I am feeling anxious. A nice brisk walk, a yoga class or even a few sets of pushups can have you focusing on the task at hand rather than needless worry.

Cook something healthy.

Many people look at cooking as something to be dreaded but when you think about the fact that you are taking time to prepare a healthy meal for yourself and the ones you love, it can be very rewarding. Try to be grateful when you cook, for the food you have in front of you, for those you will share it with, and for the nourishment it is providing your body. When you think of it that way, it becomes a luxury you can be happy to afford.

Breathe.

Remember to breathe. Breathing is the single greatest thing you can do to calm yourself in a moment of panic. Try structured breathing where your rhythm is deliberate. Inhale, 2, 3, 4, hold, 2, 3, 4, exhale, 2, 3, 4. Repeat until you regain control. Do this anytime, anywhere, and learn to self-soothe.

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I hope you find these tips as helpful as I have.  I would love to hear about your experiences and any tips you may have. Please feel free to share your story here. I'll continue to keep you posted on my health journey. Follow me for updates @christiemandia.