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Making friends with your Anxiety

Lesson
Materials
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WHY am I anxious?

So now we know the facts about anxiety, what it is and how it works, we are armed with information. Then we added some quick fixes to deal with anxiety reactions when they occur. The next thing we did was to look at how we can better prepare ourselves so that anxiety doesn’t affect us as often or as severely.

So, even at this point, we’re all set to understand and manage the symptoms. But what about the cause? Why do we feel anxious?

At this point, it’s important to say that you may have some undiscovered or very well-hidden feelings and experiences. It is very important that you should seek professional help if you feel uncomfortable and please stop and re-visit the earlier sessions to manage your anxiety

The good news is that the fight, flight or freeze reaction has been developed over years of evolution to help us survive. The way we feel when we are having an anxiety reaction, as awful as it is, is actually a survival instinct.

I’m going to talk you through some steps which will help you to identify and make friends with your anxiety reaction so that you can harness its power to super charge your superhuman powers!

I want to take you back to when we thought about where we felt our anxiety reaction for a moment. For the next couple of minutes, if you feel comfortable, I’d like you to relax and make sure you are safely seated or even lying down so that you can let my voice guide you.

We’re going to start by taking some relaxing breaths so close your eyes or lower your gaze and let me guide you.

Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4

Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4

Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4

As you resume your normal breathing rate, stay focussed on your breath.

Now, I want you to think about a time when you felt anxious. Your natural instinct may be to shy away from this memory but stay with it and feel whatever you are feeling in this moment.

Now, I want you to try and identify where this feeling is in your body.

Do you feel it in your body or is it more like a presence outside of your body?

Try and identify it as if you had been asked to draw it. It could be a feeling, a colour, a shape, a person, an animal

As it comes to life in your mind’s eye, look at it and acknowledge it.

Whatever you see or feel, remember this is your friend. It is there to help and protect you. The more you try and ignore it and push it away, the more it tries to gain your attention.

Make a decision to work together. Thank it for it’s help so far in keeping you safe.

Try and solidify the feeling, presence or colour whatever you have in your mind’s eye.

This part is important because you can recognise your friend when it is there in the future.

Now, think about how you can call on your friend when you need to and also how you can tell it when it can take a rest. Will there be a word? A colour? Decide with your new friend how you can work together.

Now you have made friends, I want you to really think about how you are feeling. Does it feel different? If not, that’s ok, just acknowledge what is going on for you.

Ok, now it is time to say goodbye to your friend for now, you will see them or feel them again but they can leave for now.

As you wave them off in your mind’s eye, start to gently wiggle your toes and your fingers.

Turn the corners of your mouth upwards into a smile and gently open your eyes.

Hello!

Now, I want you to take a deep breath. As you do, raise your arms out in front of you.

Now place your right arm around your left shoulder and your left arm around your right shoulder. Now squeeze and give yourself a great big hug!

You’re amazing! Oh, and you have a new friend too!

Ok, so now you have really completed the circle. With practice, you will find that your new knowledge will continue to solidify, and you will begin to see that what was once a negative feeling can now become your best superpower!

Wow! I’m so proud of you and you should be proud of yourself too.