Overcoming Anxiety

Overcoming Anxiety


While Christmas is a time of relaxation and rest. It can also sometimes cause anxiety and stress.

Here are some proven strategies for overcoming anxiety that you can utilize this Christmas and all year round.

All emotions have a thought pathway and a structure of how they are created mentally in our bodies. What causes anxiety is imagining a negative future scenario happening right up in your face in glorious technicolour.

If you’re really good at anxiety you might stack negative future scenarios on top of each other like this… “I’m running late for my family Christmas party, (picturing rushing around) and my mum is going to give me a lecture again, (picturing mums face and voice as she lectures) and god I hope my kids don’t run around and torture the dogs like they did last year,(imagining it happening) oh and I’ll probably get stuck talking to Aunt Mable, and eat too much, then I’ll never lose weight and be a fat whale on the beach this summer( imagining all that happening).

When you talk to yourself like this, picturing negative scenarios in your head, and your body doesn’t know the difference between an imagined event and a real one, so it starts running the stress hormones in your body as if you were actually under attack. Your body responds physiologically to this imagined threat with a real flight or fight response, increased heart rate, cortisol and adrenalin released, faster breathing, sweaty palms, etc. You can shift it via two ways, actively controlling your physiology through breath work, or consciously shifting the imagined scenes in your head.


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How to overcome anxiety.

It’s simpler than you think. Use these tips to shift your thinking and master your anxiety.

  • Instead of imagining a negative future scenario, actively imagine a neutral or positive one.
  • Minimise the negative with phrases like “Oh well… It’s just…. rain/ traffic/ a few minutes with Aunt Mable. So what?”
  • Switch your focus to what you can be grateful for now. Start a grateful list in your head, aim for at least 20 things.
  • Bring your thoughts and feelings back inside your body in the present moment.
  • Deep breathing.
  • Switch your physiology actively with some star jumps, pushups, then move to downward dog, or child’s pose to calm your body.
  • Smile.

If you’re really stuck looping on a negative scene, use these NLP tricks.

Notice how you are representing the negative scene to yourself. Is it a colour scene right up in your face? Are you talking to yourself in a negative way? In a negative voice? What’s the tone?

  • Change the perspective from first person, to watching it from 3rd person, like a fly on the wall.
  • Imagine shifting the camera lens in your mind to focus in on something beautiful or neutral in the scene and make everything else fuzzy.
  • Switch it to black and white.
  • Change the tone or sound of the voices so they are very deep, or high squeaky and funny.
  • Move the imaginary picture back to the other side of the room, then move it out so far away you it’s just a little dot.
  • As you actively switch these parameters in your head notice how your negative feeling lessens more and more until it completely disappears.
  • Breathe.

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