There’s a famous quote about anxiety by Dr Rick Hanson: “Your brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.”
It’s important to remember this when we are deeply lost in worries or fears about the future. As humans, we are wired to focus excessively on the negative, while brushing off or discounting positive things that are happening to us.
When we’re deep in that fear or anxiety mode, it can be helpful to just remember five things that can help bring us back to feeling calmer.
- Notice that you’re feeling anxiety. Start to become aware when the adrenaline and cortisol are flooding through your body. Notice the fluttery tummy, the sick feeling in the mouth or the tight chest.
- STOP and take six deep breaths. Try it now! See if you feel calmer after you’ve done this. While you’re doing the six breaths you can relax your shoulders and try placing a half-smile on your mouth.
- If you’re still feeling anxious, get your mind to look at the facts of the situation. Ask yourself: “Am I catastrophising? Am I thinking that the worst-case scenario is definitely going to happen? What would be a more reasonable or sensible way of looking at the situation?”
- Monitor the amount of caffeine you drink during the day. As well as coffee, caffeine is in so many other drinks. Be honest with yourself and try reducing your caffeine intake and see if this helps reduce those butterflies.
- Go for a walk, do some yoga or put on your favourite music and dance or sing along to it. See how you feel after you’ve done this.
If your anxiety is still at a heightened level, contact a therapist to support you on your healing journey.