Anxiety & fear...if you look around, you can find it everywhere. The young child starting a new school trying to make friends, the mom who feels trapped in her day to day job, the families who are worried about what comes next after the devastating flood that is taking over their neighborhood or the dad who worries about how he is going to pay bills this month...they all suffering with fear. Whether you are worried about how to pay your bills, find a new job, find shelter during a storm, those feelings of anxiety and worry all hit the same.
Anxiety can be all consuming feeling that you can't seem to shake...the fear, worry and tension that won't go away. It robs you of your happiness and much like an abandoned bridge, the worry becomes like a bunch of weeds that overtake the path ahead.
When I was a little girl, I lived with anxiety for most of my days...so much so that I ended up with migrane tension headaches that took over my ability to live a normal life. During that time, I learned the power of how your thoughts control your body...and that if you can control your thoughts and your body, you can control your future.
Biofeedback is a little known technique that helps you learn how to use your brain to relax certain muscles in your body. When I was twelve, I would go and play a computer game, hooked up to sensors that would measure the tension in my muscles. The goal of the game was to learn how to relax your muscles in order to move through the rooms in the castle to get to the princess at the end of the game. I remember this game so vividly, all these years later, because it was the first tangible proof that I could use my mind to change my body.
And now today, I look on that experience and realize just how many of us can benefit from knowing the power of using your mind to influence your body and therefore your life.
Have you heard the old saying, you are confined only by the walls you create yourself? That couldn't be more true. Much like this photo above, when you allow worry, self doubt and frustration to be the drivers in your life, they pop up like weeds, covering your ability to see the path forward.
These five things can help give you focus your energy on conquering the fear & anxiety around you:
1. Use relaxation techniques to calm your body & release tension.
First, close your eyes and take five deep breaths in and out. This will slow your heart rate and increase your focus. Then to release the tension caused by stress, envision your body as a spectrum of colors - the most relaxed sections as a peaceful color and the areas of tension as another, more bold color. Starting from your feet and moving upwards, visualize the peaceful color pushing out any of the tension (bolder color) out of your body. This should be a progressive process, as you continue to relax more of your body, you can focus on eliminating the areas of tension, crowding them out until they are in just one small space at the top of your body that you then push out and away.
2. Make time for your friends and family, focusing on what you are grateful for. One of the first things people do when they feel stressed or anxious is to cut themselves off from everyone else so that they don't burden others. By cutting yourself off, you are drastically reducing your ability to see the bigger picture, gain much needed support & have additional opportunities to be thankful for.
3. Remember that this situation isn't permanent. The biggest thing that anxiety and fear can do is to trick you into feeling as if there are no other options or that these feelings won't go away. Don't give into the lie! Ask yourself if this will matter 1 -2 years from now. If the answer is no, then it is a clear sign that you should focus your thoughts elsewhere.
4. Spend time doing something you love or helping others. Reminding yourself of the things that you enjoy or of your ability to help others will take your mind off the negative and focus it on the positive, allowing you to gain motivation to deal with your concerns or challenges ahead.
This week has seen such great devastation in my home state of Texas. It is disheartening to see the amount of damage and heartbreak across my facebook feed...and yet, with that I see so many moments of promise with the volunteers headed to Houston with their boats, supplies being donated and those opening their doors to others during this time of need. (If you would like to help donate to victims of Hurricane Harvey, please click here!)
5. Write down what you are worried about & 2-3 things you could do to help make a change or reduce your fears.
For example, if you are working at a company with layoff rumors, your biggest fear maybe losing your job. If that is the case, face that fear by asking yourself what would happen if you did lose your job. Likely, the first things to come to mind would be concerns about how to pay your bills & how to find a new job. Some actions you could take to alleviate the fear could be: reduce expenses to increase your savings, update your resume & begin networking outside your current company. By taking action, you will not only take control of your fears, but also your future!
Take the steps to clear the path & you'll be amazed at all the great things that lie ahead.
My mission is to help others moms along their career journey, serving as a trusted partner to help them build the business of their dreams that allows them to leverage their skills and passions so they can make a bigger impact at home and in the world. If you are done with corporate america or working for someone else but need help getting the right tools, processes & support to quickly build a profitable business so you can start living the life you deserve, let's chat. https://meetme.so/Blakeschofield
Note: Depression & anxiety are serious topics. If you are dealing with consistent anxiety and/or signs of depression, please seek help from a professional. You are not alone: roughly 40 million adults in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders annually & 3-5% of adults suffer from major depression.
For more information on depression, anxiety & biofeedback therapy, see the links below: