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How To Overcome Anxiety and Feel More at Ease (Part 2)

How To Overcome Anxiety and Feel More at Ease (Part 2)
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As we’ve discussed in How To Overcome Anxiety and Feel More at Ease (Part 1), anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health challenge we face.

If you’re feeling anxious, you are definitely not alone. Anxiety is highly common, and it is highly treatable.

This is Part 2 of my series on how to overcome anxiety. And in this article, you’ll hear real stories from those who have been through anxiety, and expert tips and strategies from some incredible mental health professionals in the field.

Advice from Sibyl Buck, a Yoga Instructor and Therapeutic Yoga Practitioner

First, meet Sibyl Buck, a yoga instructor and Therapeutic Yoga Practitioner.

    Here, she shares her story and recommendations:

    I grew up moving between my parents’ houses, spending a lot of time alone at home until they got home from work, watching television to learn how to be, and developing some socially unacceptable behaviors.

    By the time I was a young adult, I felt decidedly weird, uncomfortable in my skin in social situations, and often even when alone.

    I developed anxiety, and especially when I felt I had made a mistake, that anxiety could be punishing and debilitating.

    When I moved to Topanga, California 10 years ago, finally leaving my urban jet-set lifestyle as a model and a touring musician, I studied to become a yoga teacher and found myself drawn to the more therapeutic aspects of yoga.

    As I learned all I could about yoga therapy, I read books on a number of different trauma healing techniques, and was especially moved by Waking The Tiger, by Peter Levin e on Somatic Experience healing, and Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction technique he developed for hospital use as patient therapy.

    I followed my intuition and guidance from wise minds and books, and ended up addressing my anxiety and what I believe to be mild, undiagnosed PTSD.

    I used lots of questions to learn to listen to a small, quiet voice from within me, who seemed to have all the answers I needed such as, “Where am I holding tension in my body?” and, “What am I avoiding feeling?”

    I learned recently, from Richard Miller who developed a trauma-healing modality called iRest (integrative restoration), that a big cause of anxiety is the separation caused when we try to avoid something we are feeling or noticing. His techniques are rooted in ancient yoga practices, and shaped by his medical background and a keen understanding of neuroscience biology.

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    The techniques I had intuitively compiled for my own self-healing were essentially the same as what he was using to treat veterans, victims of sex trafficking, and post-incarcerated populations who suffer from PTSD.

    Effective Yoga Technique

    Here’s a technique I used and still use regularly for myself and my students:

    Not much healing can happen to anyone actively suffering stress, since too much of the body’s resources will be being directed to larger muscles of movement for fighting and fleeing. This process will help you drop into relaxation response, or the parasympathetic nervous system.

    To get started, use blankets and pillows to prop up the body in an extremely comfortable position. Bend your knees, with your thighs and shins supported; your whole body should be supported anywhere it naturally lifts off the earth such as the neck, lumbar (low back) spine. Have a heavier folded blanket or pillow over your middle torso and lap, which helps to calm and balance the nervous system.

    Once you’re comfortable, follow this process by directing your attention to the:

    1. Earth under you. Start by feeling where your body is in contact with the floor and props. Really feel yourself being held up by the ground and the pillows and blankets, so you can surrender any way in which you’re holding yourself up.
    2. Breath moving through you. Notice the movement of breath, and the shape of it in your body; expanding when you inhale and flattening a little when you exhale.
    3. Brightness behind your eyelids. With your eyes closed, notice the brightness that’s visible there, especially noticing any color, shadows and layers.
    4. Sounds all around you. Open your ears to all the sounds around you. Instead of identifying the sounds, open to the whole soundscape.

    You can remember this by EBBS. (Think ebbs and flows.)

    Your attention will probably swing from noticing these sensations and being distracted by thoughts pulling you forward and back in time. Whenever you realize you aren’t noticing sensation, return to the four steps.

    Practice Breathing

    If you find your mind races or it causes anxiety to lie still, practice this breath:

    Take a short shallow inhalation through the nose, and exhale with a long sigh. Repeat this breath for as long as you are experiencing an anxious state. In my experience, this breath pattern is very helpful for calming anxiety.

    Letting yourself feel is a powerful healing modality, and the biggest challenge to it is setting aside the time to essentially do what is considered ‘nothing’ by our modern culture. However, this kind of slowing down can restore the natural healing capability contained within each body.

    Up next – strategies, techniques and insights from Mental Health Professionals…

    Advice from Dr. David Carbonell, The Anxiety Coach

      Anxiety disorders are counterintuitive problems; our common sense responses to them are likely to make problems worse rather than better.

      I rely on the Rule of Opposites, which states, ‘My gut instinct of how to respond to panic and anxiety is typically dead wrong, so I’m better off doing the opposite of my gut instinct.’

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      For example, people with Panic Disorder will avoid the circumstances they fear, only to see the fears grow worse, and will do better with progressive practice with, and exposure to, the feared situations.

      Someone with Social Anxiety Disorder will fear being judged by others, and come to avoid being in situations where they can be observed by others; they will actually do better by practicing with being around people.

      Overall, people will get better results by working with, rather than against, the signs and symptoms of chronic anxiety disorders. This is why exposure methods are the best available type of treatment.

      I want to direct your attention to two particular techniques, described in detail on my website

      1. Belly Breathing

      Note the centrality of the Rule of Opposites. People having panic attacks find themselves short of breath, and struggle to inhale, when they get much better results by first exhaling.

      2. AWARE Steps

      As an overall strategy, accept that it’s common and easy to get tricked by anxiety – to feel afraid in the absence of danger, even when you know there’s no danger.

      Work with that situation rather than struggling to “stop feeling afraid”.

      If you’re suffering from anxiety, please:

      • Don’t avoid things, locations, and activities you fear – find ways to approach them, one step at a time.
      • Don’t try to hide and keep your problems a secret from loved ones – find ways to discuss and undo the secrecy.
      • Don’t struggle alone without help or a knowledgeable plan – seek professional help because these problems are very treatable.

      I had one client, a woman in her late thirties, who had been almost completely housebound, afraid of all travel (local travel by train or car) and being in stores.

      She is a very bright and talented, gregarious person whose life was being stunted by the agoraphobia. She made a wonderful recovery, step by step, practicing with an expanding list of situations and activities, and ended up accepting a job as chief of the crossing guards in her hometown.

      She was able to travel cross country and visit relatives she hadn’t seen since childhood, and even had the experience, in her forties, of seeing a cow for the very first time.

      Advice from Marisa Peer, a Celebrity Therapist & Pioneering Hypnotherapy Trainer

        Marisa Peer is a celebrity therapist and pioneering hypnotherapy trainer. She shares that anxiety is most often caused by not feeling good enough, pressure to perform, or feeling judged.

        Here are her thoughts and recommendations:

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        One of the biggest symptoms is the feeling we’re not enough.

        The number one way to feel good about yourself is to believe in yourself and fill yourself up with positive thoughts. That’s why you won’t see small babies scared of flying, because they haven’t formed the words or pictures that create anxiety.

        Their only fear is of being rejected. This is the number one fear, which will definitely cause anxiety until you understand that no one can reject you but you.

        For those of you suffering from anxiety, I recommend:

        • Taking deep breaths, pushing down your shoulders and fill your mouth with saliva. It has an almost immediate effect.
        • Do not judge yourself harshly. Hurtful, critical words that you say to yourself on a regular basis will continue to cause stress, anxiety and unhappiness.
        • Take advice from professional therapists to make you feel calm and at ease.

        I once worked with a client who had tremendous stress and anxiety, and believed she had no coping skills. She was sensitive to noise and people and felt inadequate.

        She practiced saying, “I have phenomenal coping skills, I have extraordinary coping skills, I have exemplary coping skills.” She said this over and over and noticed a rapid and permanent change in her stress levels. And then, she began to feel calm and indeed able to cope.

        Your mind does not care whether what you tell it is good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, true or false, it lets it all in regardless.

        When you tell yourself better things, you feel better.

        We make our own beliefs and our beliefs make us, so we might as well make better beliefs. Your mind acts on the words you tell it, that’s it’s job. Your job is to tell it better things that help you not hurt you, that elevate you not diminish you.

        Advice from Jennie Morton, MS Psychology, Certified Anxiety Treatment Professional and Mental Health Integrative Medicine Provider.

          Jennie Morton is an Osteopath, MS Psychology, Certified Anxiety Treatment Professional and Mental Health Integrative Medicine Provider.

          One of the great relievers of anxiety is information. My first approach is to provide education about what is actually going on in the body when we experience anxiety.

          The brain is simply running a software program based upon previous experience, but the fear response is now likely to be inappropriate or disproportionate to the current level of threat.

          What we need to do is create a new software program that removes the “unsafe” label from the trigger. However, when the amygdala responds quickly and seemingly irrationally to an event, this response exists beneath the level of the logical, thinking part of the brain.

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          It is not something we can necessarily talk our way out of. The response must be reprogrammed through experience, not by cognitive logic. The tricky part is that the amygdala has to be ‘online’ in order for any changes to be made.

          To do this, we can use a form of exposure therapy where we are placed in the presence of the trigger and allow our anxiety to rise to a level of 50-60/100 (where 0 equals no anxiety and 100 equals panic). We then need to stay with this anxiety experience until the level drops by 50% (to around 30/100).

          Use deep slow breathing to calm the heartrate, but do not try to rationalize or minimize the situation (as this will rob the amygdala of the opportunity to learn a new outcome). Eventually, the anxiety response will lower and the amygdala has learned that the situation poses no threat. If you always avoid the triggering situation, it will never have an opportunity to learn a new experience and therefore response.

          If you suffer from more acute anxiety, it is recommended to work with a mental health professional to guide you through this protocol.

          There is a wealth of other strategies with a proven track record for managing anxiety including yoga, breath work, exercise, mindfulness practice, somatic experiencing, and EMDR therapy.

          Our brains have an amazing capacity to be rewired given the right conditions. If you constantly rerun the same programs in your mind or avoid triggering situations, you will simply reinforce the perception of danger.

          This doesn’t have to be a Herculean task. Studies have shown that eight weeks of daily mindfulness practice can actually shrink the size of the amygdala. Science proves that we have the capacity to get back in the driving seat of our anxiety responses.

          I urge you to reach out to find a practice that works for you.

          Conclusion

          Thank you to the incredible experts who contributed to this article. You might have noticed they share a similar sentiment – anxiety is common and highly treatable.

          Your next step? Take a step forward — any step. That may mean trying one of the techniques you’ve read here or reaching out for help.

          There are many forms of fantastic therapies that can support you – but they can only work if you do.

          I know it may be hard, but if you can summon up the strength and courage to take a few steps out of the darkness, you will find light.

          As you may have read in Part 1 of this series, when I was suffering from anxiety, I tried everything I could get my hands on. I kept what worked for me and let go of what didn’t.

          It was a very challenging time but I was able to work through my anxiety, and my experience has helped me evolve into the more conscious, thoughtful, connected and compassionate person I am today.

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          For those of you facing anxiety on any level, my hope is that these stories and recommendations support you in working through your process too.

          Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

          More by this author

          Tracy Kennedy

          Lifehack's Personal Development Expert, a results-driven coach dedicated to helping people achieve greater levels of happiness and success.

          12 Proven Ways To Increase Your Intellectual Wellness How to Build Self-Esteem: A Guide to Realize Your Hidden Power How to Build Self Discipline to Excel in Life 10 Powerful Ways to Be More Confident 10 Strategies to Keep Moving Forward When Feeling Stuck

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          Last Updated on July 12, 2021

          100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

          100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier
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          Want to learn some quick and easy life hacks that are easy to do, low cost and saves you time?

          By tweaking little things in your daily life, it can make your life much more convenient!

          Here’re 100 of the most practical life hacks so you can just pick up any of them right away!

          83 tie a small piece of bright colored fabric

            84 write random letter

              85 use a rubberband

                86 dorm smell bad

                  87 lean your phone on your sunglassess

                    89 how to waterproof your shoes

                      90 take a picture of the name card

                        91 iron inside out

                          92 old newspaper

                            93 tumble try shoes

                              keep a card like this

                                SONY DSC

                                  94 soap bar

                                    95 make a hole

                                      96 drop the battery

                                        97 use a coozie

                                          98 when taking a picture

                                            use a clean dust pan

                                              try a pants hanger

                                                use your cellphone light

                                                  use a spring from an old pen

                                                    quick and easy iphone speaker

                                                      user binder clips

                                                        wrap a wet paper towel around your beverage

                                                          put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle

                                                            clean out an old lotion bottle for your beach

                                                              use a muffin tin to serve condiments at a bbq

                                                                doritos are great for kindling

                                                                  use nail polish to identify different keys

                                                                    use a hanging shoe rack to store cleaning supplies

                                                                      freeze grapes to chill white wine without

                                                                        use paper clips to organize your cables

                                                                          almost finished your jar of nutella

                                                                            sick of having a box full of tangled

                                                                              unroll the rim to increase the capacity

                                                                                cut open toilet paper rolls and use as a cuff

                                                                                  remove the stem from strawberries

                                                                                    turn an old bottle into a simple little cord holder

                                                                                      for iced coffee and iced cappuccino, use frozen coffee cubes

                                                                                        how to fold a fitted bed sheet

                                                                                          tired of snoozing past your alarm

                                                                                            place a rubber band around an open paint can to wipe your brush on

                                                                                              ut a wooden spoon across a boiling pot

                                                                                                use bread clips to save flip-flops

                                                                                                  take pictures of friends holding items

                                                                                                    how i always know which headphone is the left one

                                                                                                      put a stocking over the end of a vacuum

                                                                                                        How to make sure you drink enough water

                                                                                                          user a can opener to open blister

                                                                                                            good sandwich guide

                                                                                                              turn your muffin pans upside down

                                                                                                                50 pounds of groceries and living on the 5th floor

                                                                                                                  the right way to make a blt

                                                                                                                    add one teaspoon of baking soda

                                                                                                                      38

                                                                                                                        hair straighteners equals to collar irons

                                                                                                                          stack your clothes vertically to see them all

                                                                                                                            the right way to make cookies in the summer

                                                                                                                              how to clean a blender

                                                                                                                                the right way to eat a popsicle

                                                                                                                                  use bread clips to label and organize power cords

                                                                                                                                    to get the built up residue off of your shower head

                                                                                                                                      user a hair clip to orgainize long wires

                                                                                                                                        a frozen saturated sponge in a bag

                                                                                                                                          rub stuck zipper teeth with a graphite pencil

                                                                                                                                            use a soda pop tab

                                                                                                                                              50

                                                                                                                                                51 How to multiply large numbers in your head.

                                                                                                                                                  52 How to open a bottle if you dont have a corkscrew.

                                                                                                                                                    rub a walnut on damaged wooden furniture

                                                                                                                                                      kids fall out of bed

                                                                                                                                                        use toothpaste to clear up hazy car

                                                                                                                                                          58

                                                                                                                                                            59 keep pizza out while driving home

                                                                                                                                                              60 put your straw through the tab to keep it from rising

                                                                                                                                                                hold oreos with a fork so your fingers

                                                                                                                                                                  Never lose your remotes again

                                                                                                                                                                    hiding your emergency money

                                                                                                                                                                      use a bread tab to hold your spot on a roll

                                                                                                                                                                        if you are at a hotel and run out of chargers

                                                                                                                                                                          keep a square of cardboard in a ziplock bag

                                                                                                                                                                            If you need to pee or smoke at a bar

                                                                                                                                                                              drill holes in the bottom of your garbage

                                                                                                                                                                                use an accented letter as your passcode

                                                                                                                                                                                  use a squeeze ketchup bottle top with your shopvac

                                                                                                                                                                                    do something unusual when locking the door

                                                                                                                                                                                      when heating leftovers space out a circle in the middle

                                                                                                                                                                                        dont burn yourself in those hard to reach candles

                                                                                                                                                                                          put a small amount of water in a glass when you microwave your pizza

                                                                                                                                                                                            75 use a piece of paper to organize

                                                                                                                                                                                              use half a pool noodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                pencil case to store cables

                                                                                                                                                                                                  78 clothespin to hold nail

                                                                                                                                                                                                    79 make blts

                                                                                                                                                                                                      80 take a picture of your fridge

                                                                                                                                                                                                        81 fill plastic water bottles

                                                                                                                                                                                                          82 right ways to eat chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                            99 if your plug keeps failing

                                                                                                                                                                                                              100 put the banana on the wire

                                                                                                                                                                                                                88 before you throw away a post it

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Source: Reddit LifeProTips

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There you go, 100 awesome life hacks that you can try right now to make your life a lot easier!

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