Many of you know that I’ve struggled with a few different types of anxiety. There are so many factors that play into it and so many ways we try to deal with it. I wanted to share a simple tool that I’ve found is helpful for me to calm down in the moment or right before I enter a time where I’m typically anxious. One of the symptoms of anxiety is a racing heartbeat. It also tends to affect circulation as the body responds to anxiety as if its life is being threatened, This tool helps mitigate these two symptoms.
First of all, sit down, make sure that nothing is crossed (legs, arms, etc). I tend to put my hands on my knees and my feet squarely on the floor.
Secondly, begin to breathe slightly deeper but don’t overdo it – the breathing should be normal but slightly deeper. As you breathe in through your nose and slowly exhale through your mouth in your mind say the word, “relax”. Repeat this breathing about 5-8 times.
Thirdly, as you continue breathing slowly now begin to focus on your hands. Imagine your hands getting one degree warmer. I tend to focus on one hand at a time. As you imagine it getting warmer, I tend to feel that warmth but I also feel like my hands are puffing up (they aren’t, it just feels that way). After the one hand begins to tingle or feel warmer or puffier, I then focus on the other hand. This crazy exercise actually moves blood into your hands and restores a more normal circulation.
I will often use this tool as I’m awaiting an important, stressful meeting, or phone call. I also have used this tool throughout the day just to bring some normalness back into my regular schedule and life. Again, this doesn’t “fix” anything and is not meant to be a remedy for anxiety. It merely helps your physical body and the impacts of anxiety in the moment. I hope it’s helpful for you.