Sometimes it seems like everyone we know suffers from some sort of anxiety. Our brains are literally hardwired to worry about things, but in this digital and modern age, it can be hard for our brains to pick and choose the things it needs to focus on.
Obviously, you don’t have to worry about being chased down by a cheetah…well, most people don’t. But our brains like to recall the times when we did have to worry about those things.
It can mean that we overreact and overcompensate for many other areas of our lives when worry and anxiety kicks in.
Worrying is not natural, and there’s no physical or physiological benefit to it these days.
Before, it saved our lives, but now, it can rob us of life.
However, according to psychologist Deborah L. Davis in Psychology Today, there are 10 proven steps to calming our mind to let go of our worry.
We’ve summarized her 10 steps below.
1) Make Yourself Comfortable
When you start to feel thoughts of anxiety creeping into your brain, take a minute to sit down and make yourself comfortable in your favorite chair, or a quiet place away from people. Put your feet up and get yourself into a position that makes you feel at ease.
2) Close Your Eyes
Once you are feeling comfortable, close your eyes and let your body relax. This will be hard at first because you are feeling anxious about something, but give your body time to catch up to your brain. By closing your eyes, you are literally closing off the world, and this can make it easier to focus on yourself.
3) Sense Your Body
As you lay there with your eyes closed and your feet up, feel your body moving as you breathe. Pay attention to how your arms and legs feel. How does your hair feel on your head? How do your jeans feel on your legs? Feel your arms and legs if it helps you visualize what you are doing.
Not only can this action help to refocus your energy away from whatever is causing you anxiety, it can help center your body to make you feel better.
4) Pay Attention to Your Breathing
Sometimes when you pay attention to how fast we are breathing we start to breathe faster, so tell yourself about how slow you are breathing and allow your body to slow your breathing naturally.
Take deep breaths and don’t force yourself to slow down until your body is ready to do so. Relaxing and closing your eyes can shut the world out so you can focus on your breathing to get it under control faster.
5) Listen to Your Breathing
Our bodies are an amazing thing, and not only is it important to pay attention to your breathing, but pay attention to how your breathing sounds. Listen for the sounds of air going in and out of your lungs. Listen for how the air sounds being expelled into the space around you.
You don’t have to change the way you breathe, it could happen naturally as you start to shift your focus on what’s important here: reducing anxiety.
6) Feel Your Stomach Rise and Fall
Place your hands on your stomach and feel how your belly moves up and down as you breathe. This can help you channel energy into your body and remove anxiety from it as well.
As you pay attention to the muscle movements and nuances of how your body breathes on its own, you’ll start to feel better about what’s on your mind.
7) Let Your Mind Wander
Now that you have all of these jobs to do: look, listen, and feel for your breathing, you will start to notice that your mind is wandering to other things.
Perhaps you are thinking about solutions to whatever is causing you this anxiety. Let your mind wander to and fro for some time. You might find that this open communication with your brain creates solutions for you.
8) Redirect Your Mind
After a few minutes, though, redirect your thoughts to your breathing. By focusing on your breathing, you are most likely to reduce your stress levels and help induce calm into your brain so you can get on with your day.
9) Be Patient
This process can take time, and it might be difficult for you to initially relax and focus on your breathing.
If you are serious about changing the way stress enters your life, you’ll keep trying to get better at this process. After all, practice makes perfect.
10) Think Calm
Above all else, the mind believes what it can conceive, so if you think calming thoughts, your brain will eventually catch up.
Don’t waste time worrying about the things you can’t change. Focus on making yourself feel better with what you’ve got, and work at it everyday.