I think a lot of people suffer from anxiety. To me, anxiety is a symptom of not knowing how to handle a situation and fearing the outcome of that situation. I also believe that if you have anxiety, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a little or a lot. PTSD is a severe form of anxiety. It can all be dealt with using the same techniques, which I’ll explain later in this post.
It is my belief that we were put into situations throughout our lives that were too big for us to handle without the proper skills. That’s what causes anxiety, PTSD, and other “disorders.”
Whose job is it to give us those skills?
Our parents. Before we blame them for letting us down, let’s just say that people in general do the best they can with what they know. It just so happens that most parents just don’t know how to handle every situation. If you are a parent, you know this to be true. We as adults are responsible. We can’t keep blaming our parents for everything that has happened to us.
The first step in helping you deal with anxiety is learning to breathe. In the spiritual realm, they call it meditation. For us everyday people, let’s start slow and call it Learning to Breathe.
The reason this is important is that when we are stressed, we breathe shallow. You will notice the difference once you try this technique. First, notice your shoulders. We carry a lot of stress there. Then, notice your back and neck. Now, I’ll teach you a simple breathing exercise that will help you:
Find a quiet place with no distractions. Honing this skill will help you in the middle of an anxiety spiral, but that’s for another post. Sit up straight in a comfortable spot with your legs folded up and crossed. When you inhale, you will breath through your nose slowly (4-6 seconds is recommended) while ballooning out your stomach. Pause (3 seconds is recommended). Then, exhale through your mouth slowly (6 seconds) while pulling your stomach in. Continue for 5 minutes, longer if you can. Start slow. It will help you succeed. And yes, 5 minutes will feel like an eternity at first.
The time recommendation is something to work toward. You might not be able to do it right away. The key is to focus on just your breathing and the process. When words and thoughts pop into your brain that are not about your breathing and the process, you need to flick them away and return your focus on your breathing. The purpose of that is to quiet the brain. Don’t worry if you feel you can’t do it perfectly for 5 minutes or even 5 seconds. It takes time. Every moment that you are able to quiet the brain is a win, and that’s all that matters.
After doing a few minutes of this, check your shoulders, back, and neck. How do you feel? Does it feel like a tiny bit of weight has lifted?
I believe that this technique should be done at least once a day. It will help you in the next step of dealing with anxiety, which I’ll do in a later post.