There is a strong mind-body connection regarding stress and anxiety. And one of the ways to deal with it is not by engaging your mind, but by simply engaging your body.
Mind-body connection anxiety
When the mind gives a message to the body: ‘High alert, there is danger around the corner’, the body prepares itself for the ‘flight’ or ‘fight’ response: adrenaline kicks in and muscles are tensing up.
The body can also give a message to the mind: ‘I have worked for hours now behind this laptop and I am getting stressed’, the body has tensed up because of the strain of the posture and the concentration you had. Your mind will pick up this physical tension and conclude that there is something dangerous and terrible going on. It then starts producing adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones.
Regardless where it starts, in the body or the mind, the anxiety and stress levels will rise.
Effective exercise to reduce anxiety
This exercise can be done in any circumstance and at any time. I called it SMS for two reasons. It is short for Soften My Shoulders and you can use the abbreviation on little post-its notes all around you without getting anyone suspicious.
The steps in SMS:
1. Pause, focus on your breathing and take in a relaxed slow breath
2. Focus on your shoulders and just notice the tension, don’t do anything, just notice
3. When you next breathe out, imagine that some of the tension in your shoulders leaves on the flow of your out breath. Don’t move your shoulders, just let the process of breathing and focussing taking care of the events
4. Observe and then notice how your shoulders become a bit softer
5. Repeat this 3 times
Notice your mind and how much more relaxed you are!
Let me know how you get on, I would love to hear.
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