Why we love: Anyone who has tried thinking their way out of anxiety and stress would know that this always fails. A much more effective way to calm yourself is to intercept the mind-body feedback loop through bodily calming techniques.
Therapist Emma McAdams from ‘Therapy in a Nutshell’ gives a useful explanation of how this works. You can also check out our summary further down.
For who: Simply anyone who would like to get a sense of calm and openness.
How it works: When we’re feeling stressed, anxious, or other activated state, the sympathetic nervous system (our body’s smoke detector) causes physiological changes like increased heart rate, short & shallow breathing, and narrow, focused vision preparing us to fight or run. We can tap into and reverse these responses to send calming signals from the body to the brain, activating the parasympathetic nervous system (our body’s calming system).
Helpful Hint! It can be really hard to think of these tools in a stressful situation, so try to practice them often to make them available when you need them. Also, put some post-it notes around the house as a regular reminder.
Summary of 4 Key Calming Techniques:
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