Anxious thoughts? Observe your body

Anxiety: where are you feeling it?

Anxiety: where are you feeling it?

This week I had an experience I’d like to tell you about.

I have a summer engagement working with professional actors who are recording the voices to a well-known video game.

In the middle of one of the recording sessions I found myself starting to worry about something. What I was worrying about isn’t the point here. The point is I was…

in the middle of an important job that required a high degree of focus and suddenly I became distracted.

At that moment, I noticed that my legs were feeling like they wanted to run away!  So I used the calming tools– I took a good deep breath and I grounded my feet on the floor. Instantly, the worrying thoughts went away and I was able to get back on track and give my full attention to my work.

How does this apply to you?  The next time you feel anxious I suggest that you look immediately to your body and ask yourself “Where am I feeling the anxiety, right now?” As soon as you recognize which part of your body is tense or unsettled, breathe deeply and ground that area.  “Grounding” doesn’t mean you have to touch the ground.  It means that you make a conscious intention to release whatever tension or stress you are feeling in that part of your body and you let it go, as it is releasing it down into the ground.  Example: say you’re reading a test prep book and you start thinking, “I’ll never get this, I won’t get a good SAT score,” and you start feeling anxious about your future. Stop!  Notice where you are having an unsettled or tense feeling in your body. You might realize you are clenching your fists,  or tightening your jaw.  Good!  Awareness is always the first step towards change.  Now, apply the tools: breathe (deeply down to your belly), and ground (open up your hands, let your fingers relax; let your jaw go)..

You’ll be amazed at what you discover when you pay attention to what your body is doing when you feel anxious. We confuse the thought we are having with the feeling. Remember: thoughts create feelings. In other words: if you have an “anxious thought” it’s going to make an anxious feeling somewhere in your body. Locate it.  Calm it down.  You’ll see that the anxious thought will just disappear.

Let me know about your discoveries.

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