It’s not surprising we’re all feeling anxious: we’re trapped inside with lots to get worried about, lots of encouragement to be frightened and little to distract us.

However, we can reduce that anxiety by doing three things:

  • breathing
  • moving
  • expressing

If you’re anything like me, then you may forget those things that really support you just when you need them most.

So beneath the bit of explanation (see below) there are two things to help:

  • A short ‘here and now’ exercise to ground you in the present moment and focus on breathing.
  • Music to get you moving and expressing.

breathing – anxiety encourages you to breathe shallowly, or even hold your breath, which increase anxious feelings. Becoming more aware of how you’re breathing, and practising breathing more deeply and calmly decreases anxious feelings.

moving – anxiety provides ENERGY for fight or flight and if we stay still that energy has nowhere to go. By moving about (running, dancing, stamping, rolling about, jumping) and making noise (laughing, shouting) your anxious energy has somewhere to flow and you’ll feel calmer.

expressing – anxiety thrives on silence and avoidance so name and express what you feel and the thoughts that are going round in your head. Talk out loud, tell the empty room (or a person if there’s anyone about who’ll listen) – “I feel really really terrified” “I’ve no idea what’s going to happen” “I might die” – the sound of your own voice will calm you.

Here is a playlist – Dance, No Talk! – if you’d like something to help you get moving and expressing.

Here is a 20 min led exercise to help ground you in the present moment and focus on breathing.

Final thought…don’t forget to surround yourself with things that bring pleasure to your senses – things to smell, taste, look at, touch, listen to.

Stay well.

Published by Dr Esther Walker

Esther runs a social enterprise called Storyworlds Life and has a private practice as a Gestalt therapist.

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