Archives for July 2016

Leaning Into Anxiety

How often have you felt anxious about “not knowing” what the future holds? Having a sense of powerlessness over what will happen next is perhaps one of the most anxiety-provoking situations we can face in an ever-changing world.
Since we cannot control what the future may bring, it may be helpful to focus on what we can manage: Namely, how we respond to anxiety.
We have choices.
We can eat a half-gallon tub of ice cream.
We can drink a bottle of wine, or we can teach ourselves how to “lean into” it.
Here is simple instructions for practicing ‘leaning into’ anxiety…
  1. Find a place where you will not be disturbed for a few moments.
  2. Take a couple of deeper than normal breaths.
  3. Visualize yourself sitting in a room filled with white clouds, clouds that make it impossible to see more than couple of inches in any direction.
  4. Stay with the image for a few moments or minutes.
Perhaps many of our discomforts can be resolved by integrating anxiety into our daily lives-instead of trying to push it away, again and again.
–Tony Madril

Let Out Some Poison!

letoutsome poisonOur body often acts as a barometer for internal emotional “pressure.” When powerful emotions like fear and anxiety become intense within the body, it can manifest itself as physical symptoms like muscle tension in the shoulders and face; other signs may be an increased heart rate and perspiration. These are classic signs that the body’s “fight-flight-freeze” system has been activated and stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline have been released into the blood stream.
It would be easy to blame the “evil stress hormones” for our discomfort and call it “poison.” But consider instead the distress that is created by becoming immobilized by not knowing how to release this type of mind-body tension as the real problem.
What then can be done? Is there a ready antidote to counteract this type of poisoning?
What if, when this distressing thoughts and emotions occur, we take the following three steps:

Stop what you are doing and take a couple of deeper-than-normal breaths.
Try to identify the thoughts you are experiencing (E.g. “I’m thinking that I may not find a job and become homeless”), the emotions (E.g. fear, anxiety) and the body sensations (E.g. muscle tension in the jaw and temples).
Call a friend and tell them what you are thinking, feeling, and sensing in the body related to a distressing situation.
I call this practice: “letting out some poison” because it provides an immediate outlet for distressing thoughts, feelings, and body sensations and counteracts the sense of powerlessness that can accompany ‘not knowing’ what to do with action-oriented steps to improve the situation. You might find that after doing this exercise your mind and body returns to a state of rest; the muscles in the body lengthen and relax, and the mind returns to a general state of wellbeing.
The next time you find yourself in a distressing situation, you might try letting out some poison!
–Tony Madril