top of page

Taming Anxiety

Updated: Jun 3, 2019

Anxiety is necessary in some situations to help people reach their peak performance. When taking an important exam or presenting an idea at work, a moderate level of anxiety can optimize performance. However, after the anticipatory event the anxiety is meant to come back into balance. Anxiety becomes a problem if it is consistently getting in the way of our goals and negatively impacting the quality of our lives and relationships.

Anxiety is nature's mechanism to help us navigate dangerous situations. If a stressor exists in our lives that threatens our survival, the body releases hormones to help us deal with that event. When our flight or flight response is activated by an event we are more alert and ready to meet these challenges. Our mental and physical state is optimized in order to respond accordingly.

However, when we struggle to bring those hormones back into balance, there may be a problem.

There are three aspects to the experience of anxiety. The body is generally impacted by tension, rapid shallow breathing, and a heightened sense of danger. The mind is bombarded with worrying thoughts about the impact of this danger, while the behaviours are driven by the physical sensation of what is happening as well as the complex worries that are at play. Behaviours may take the form of avoidance or overreacting to situations that are otherwise safe. When these three things are uncontrollable to the person experiencing them for an extended period of time, he or she might receive the diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

In order to heal anxiety, all three of these aspects need to be addressed. Doing activity that addresses the body such as exercise, sleep, good nutrition, physical touch, and breathing can really help. Mindfulness is a powerful tool to tame the beast of anxiety by focusing on the physical sensations that are occurring and just noticing them rather than identifying with them. Using deep breathing to regulate the nervous system and activate the parasympathetic nervous system is a powerful way to take back control over anxiety. Yoga and meditation are wonderful tools to help increase awareness of the power within the breath.

Using deep breathing to regulate the nervous system and activate the parasympathetic nervous system is a powerful way to take back control over anxiety.

The next step is to tame the worrying mind by bringing your attention into the present moment rather than worrying about what your boss said yesterday or how work is going to go tomorrow. All change and power is possible only in the present moment. There is something called the 'worrying fallacy' which is that people believe if they worry about a particular event, they will have more control once they face that event. However, worrying about potential problems only drains our resources making us less equipped to deal with a difficult situation that might arise. Being in the present moment while letting go of drawing unpleasant conclusions or other forms of negative thinking builds our resources and better equips us to deal with challenges. Acceptance of the situation as is without judgement is also a powerful tool and can lead to increased self compassion within an anxiety provoking situation.

As we build up our physical and cognitive resources, our behaviour may begin to change. When we are not feeling so anxious we don't need to avoid things in the same way. We don't have the emotional reaction to a situation that we might have when our resources are low. The more we practice these techniques, the more power we have to overcome our anxiety and live more balanced lives. We can then regain the power over our own brain chemistry through self awareness and self care. We can choose in every moment to walk forward in the face of fear and choose love.

298 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page