Effective Techniques for Reducing Anxiety.

If you are struggling to cope with your anxiety at the moment, the first thing you should do is get in touch with either 'Hereford Human Givens' or your nearest HG Practitioner. There is no need to battle through it alone, we can offer you a fast appointment and you will feel the benefits very quickly. But in the meantime, here are some helpful techniques that you can practice in your own time.

The Seven Eleven Technique -

There are times when everybody needs to know how to relax. Breathing techniques, such as the 'seven/eleven technique', are invaluable: you breath in to the count of seven and more slowly breathe out to a count of eleven. When the out breath is kept longer it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, the relaxation response. It is important to concentrate on counting the numbers in your head rather than focusing on the cause of the anxiety. When we are calmed down, we are more able to look at a difficult situation and reframe it.

The AWARE technique -

The key to reducing your anxiety is to accept it completely. Fighting it further stimulates the sympathetic nervous system releasing even more stress hormones -

Accept the anxiety: Decide to be with the experience rather than to fight it. Replace your anger or rejection of it with acceptance.

Watch your anxiety: Observe it without judging it to be good or bad. Be detached from it. Move in to your 'observing self' and study it. Rate it from 1-10 noticing when it goes up and goes down. Remember, you are not your anxiety. Be in the anxiety state but not of it.

Act with the anxiety: Keep behaving normally and doing what you intended to do. Breath normally, in a relaxed way. If you run from the situation your anxiety will go down but your future anxiety will go up. If you stay you will de-condition the anxiety.

Repeat the steps: Continue accepting your anxiety, watching it and acting with it until it goes down to a comfortable level.

Expect the best: What you fear most may never happen. Why not surprise yourself the next time you have anxiety by the effective way you handle it with the above steps?

(Adapted from Anxiety Disorders and Phobias. Beck, Emery and Greeburg, 1985)

The Anxiety Measurement Scale -

0 - Relaxation: Feeling at ease

1 - Slight Anxiety: Passing twinge of anxiety

2 - Mild Anxiety: Anxiety Butterflies in the stomach, muscular tension

3 - Moderate Anxiety: Feeling uncomfortable but still in control, heart beating faster, breathing more rapid, palms sweating

4 - Marked Anxiety: Feeling uncomfortable and beginning to worry about staying in control, heart beating fast, muscles tight, 'feeling scary'

5 - Early Panic: Heart pounding, constricted breathing, dizziness, definite fear of losing control, compulsion to escape

6 - Moderate Panic Attack: Palpitations, difficulty breathing, feeling of unreality, panicking about perceived loss of control

7 - Major Panic Attack: Same symptoms as level 6 but felt more intensely: terror, fear of going crazy or dying, compulsion to escape

People vary with regard to the specific symptoms they feel at each stage. The ones listed above are however, typical. The most important thing is to identify what level 4 is for you - the point at which you feel you are beginning to lose control. It is at this point that the fear of losing control can become the trigger for further escalation of anxiety symptoms, into a full blown panic attack. It is important to develop self observation skills so that you can use strategies to abort a panic attack before it reaches this point.

(Adapted from a similar scale used by E Bourne 1990 The Anxiety and Phobia Work book)

"Many of the anxieties that harass you are superfluous being but creatures of your fancy, you can rid yourself of them and expand into an ampler region, letting your thoughts sweep over the entire universe"
- Marcus Aurelius

"When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened"
- Winston Churchill

"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live"
- Marcus Aurelius (121-180)

"Psychological stress is as much a function of how we see the world as how the world really is"
- Paul Martin

"There is compelling evidence that those of us whose world view is essentially pessimistic - regarding our problems as pervasive, long-lasting, insoluble and our fault suffer worse damage from stress than those irritating optimists who always look on the bright side of life"

"If someone scheduled for surgery tells me she's panicked that day and does not want to go through with it, I cancel the surgery. Every surgeon knows that people who are extremely scared do terribly in surgery. They bleed too much, they have more infections and complications, they have a harder time recovering. It's much better if they are calm"
- Dr. Camran Nezhat

"Emotion as we know to our cost, is not always useful. We have come a long way from the Savannah's and what in the evolution of our physiological machinery was adaptive, has become maladaptive in terms of cultural and social development"
- Pat Williams

"If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man, sir, should keep his friendships in constant repair"
- Dr. Samuel Johnson


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