Calming an anxious mind and body

Gabrielle Batson, Psychological Counselling

calm2Anxiety is a mental, emotional and physical experience that often arises from fear provoking thoughts and attitudes that create stress responses in the body. It often affects how we breathe where the breath becomes shallow, the body tightens, thinking may be foggy and it is difficult to relax and sleep.

Have you ever noticed that holding an anxious thought can lead to a body reaction? The body can be clear barometer of our mental and emotional state and when we become anxious the mind and the body often stop talking to each other and the stress symptoms can intensify and get locked.

There are ways to reopen the channel of communication between the mind and the body so that they can work together to help create a sense of balance again. The starting point is often awareness and acknowledgement that you are stressed and anxious and sometimes speaking about the source of this can help.

A Mindfulness-based counselling approach can also assist with recognizing where you may hold stress and tension in your body and offer breathing, focusing, grounding and relaxation techniques to find that place of calm within your own mind and body. Mindful attention to your mind and body helps break the cycle of thoughts fuelling the fear system.

“Our attitude towards nature and our own bodies has been one of conquering and controlling, rather than respecting, honouring and co-operating” Shati Gawain

A simple Mindfulness techniques to reduce anxiety:

Sit in a well supported upright position with your feet on the floor or preferably lie on your back on a firm surface with your knees bent and feet grounded. Place your hands gently on your abdomen and breathe out fully through the mouth and then continue to breathe as deeply as you can ‘in’ though the nose and ‘out’ through the mouth.

calm1Bring your mental focus to the breath, allowing the ‘out’ breath to be a little longer than the ‘in’ breath.

Open your mind and body to kindness and compassion and allow the body to soften and be fully supported by the surface beneath you. Where there is difficulty settling, focus where you are able to experience a slight level of calm within the body.

“Learn to curl up and rest – feel your noble tiredness, learn about it and make a generous place for it in your life and enjoyment will surely follow”

Michael Leunig

Gabrielle Batson offers Psychological Counselling at Healing Well on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Alternate Saturdays. She can be reached on 0400 694 233.

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