How Soft Eyes Can Reduce the Feelings of Anxiety

I have vivid memories of my many heightened experiences with anxiety. Triggered by an event (which many times was outside of my awareness), my relentless negative self-talk would start up and be something I could not stop. Typically, it was worries of a negative outcome, a perceived failure or an anticipated altercation with someone. Certainly the thought, I’m not good enough, was at the centre of most of my internal dialogue.

Interestingly enough, when I felt anxious, I took on behaviour as if a real predator was actually threatening me. My eyes would dart back and forth, desperately looking for the danger. I was acting as if a prowling lion was stalking toward me. I have now learned that this is a completely normal behavioural response to feelings of fear or anxiety. This behaviour is hardwired into us; the mind cannot tell the difference between being scared due to an actual predator, or from something imagined.

After years of trying to manage my anxiety, I discovered if I defocused my eyes while experiencing anxiety my emotions would calm down. A wonderful sense of connection would begin and my heart rate would start to slow. I soon began to defocus my eyes at work, when I was feeling anxious, or at home when things got overwhelming. It was a great take along when I was on long flights to reduce any sense of nervousness.

Technique for Reducing Anxiety: Defocusing Your Eyes

Here is all you need to know to start doing this technique yourself. Pick an object to focus on somewhere near you. It can be anything, like a chair or book. The size or shape of the object doesn’t matter.

Next, stare at the object with all of your concentration. While you are staring, take note of what happens to the muscles in your face and also to your breathing. Then, instead of staring at the object, start to “look” at it, while allowing yourself to notice the other objects in the room without looking directly at them, and while maintaining your gaze on the primary object. What do you notice about your tension and your breathing? They have decreased, haven’t they?

You can use this technique anytime you feel overwhelming emotions creeping up and certainly if you struggle with anxiety. You will soon see that you can reduce the negative feelings within your body, allowing you to behave and think differently. And isn’t that all that we are searching for? An easy and healthy way to feel differently now!

I invite you to share your experience with worrying in the comments. You can also join in the conversation on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration.

To our health and wellbeing,

Karen

Fall Back into Routine to Reduce Anxiety

It’s that time of year when we get back into our routines, whether it be work, exercise, eating or school, after enjoying a couple months sabbatical. Even if you don’t have children returning to school, September symbolizes a fresh start. For many people, work and school are sources of high stress and continuous anxiety. And, since ignoring them is not a practical solution, why not implement some simple and effective lifestyle habits that can greatly reduce the anxiety that may arise from daily circumstances.

In this newsletter edition, you will receive 5 effective anxiety-reducing strategies that you can start implementing right away.

Strategy 1: Make Sure Your Diet is Balanced

A poor diet deprives your body of the important nutrients it needs to function optimally. Maintaining a poor diet for an extended period of time forces the body to compensate by raising the stress-hormone cortisol. Chronic high-stress levels can wreak havoc on overall health and wellbeing. So it’s important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet consisting of protein, fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Drinking enough water daily in order to stay hydrated, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine will also help relieve anxiety. Complex carbohydrates metabolize slowly, and therefore help maintain a more even blood sugar level, creating a calmer feeling.

If you cannot commit to eating a balanced meal every day, have a supply of meal replacement bars or shakes available as an alternative.

Strategy 2: Get Physical

There are two amazing benefits from being physically active. First, it releases endorphins immediately into the body. Endorphins are the feel-good hormones that long distance runners enjoy and promote.  Any level of physical activity can start the release of endorphins meaning you do not need to be a marathon runner to get the benefits. Consider what you can commit to daily to get our body moving. Maybe it’s a walk, or a bike ride, or a short visit to the local gym. Whatever you can do to get moving will make you feel better and less stressed.

Secondly, exercise takes your focus off of whatever is stressing you out. Switching your attention to something else gives your brain a chance to take a break. You may be surprised at the perspective that comes from not thinking about your problem!

Strategy 3: Sleep Baby!

There is not enough good to say about the powerful effects of sleep. We live in a sleep-deprived society, due to our fast-paced and demanding lifestyles. And sleep deprivation is a sure fire way to generate a bad mood and feed our anxious feelings. Moreover, a lack of sleep can throw off cortisol rhythms and mix up the body’s circadian clock. Anyone who has flown internationally can relate to how difficult it is to feel good when your internal time clock is out of whack.

Aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night to minimize anxiety. If you are having trouble getting to or staying asleep try taking some of the natural sleep aids available at your local drug store.

Strategy 4: Set a Daily Routine

One of the best ways to avoid feeling anxious is to develop a daily routine and a to-do list. Start with a morning routine which ensures that you wake up early enough to get everything done that you need to before heading off to work or school. Waking up late is a guaranteed way to start your day with anxiety.

Many people get anxious because their schedule is either too rushed or sporadic, and there is no time for themselves within their daily activities. There should be enough time within your morning routine to either read a bit, do some exercise and/or enjoy a nutritious breakfast. Starting your day in a calm, relaxed way will set it up for success.

Strategy 5: Meditation

Meditation is more than just sitting with your eyes closed. It is the practice of training your mind to let thoughts come and go without fixating on any thought in particular. It takes practice and as with all good habits, it takes some time to develop. Be patient with yourself and encourage yourself to keep at it.

Picture yourself watching cars on a busy highway rushing past, and you have to take notice of every license plate. That would be exhausting and impossible. Now, what if you could stand there, ignore the cars, and instead focus on something in the distance. Maybe a sunset or a beautiful, magnificent tree. That would be much more calming, wouldn’t it? Meditation is an amazing skill to use when you have anxiety. As your anxious thoughts about yesterday, tomorrow, five years from now race in and out of your mind, being able to slow down your thoughts and focus on a calming image greatly reduces the level of anxiousness. Training your mind to be in the present is vital to managing anxiety.

For more discussion on anxiety, what it is, why we feel anxiousness and how it can be managed, please click on the links to either of my blogs below.

Log onto my website at www.itcanbedifferent.ca and download a free tool called Focus and Peace. This audio file will teach you how to overcome anxiousness instantly.

Come and see me at the Empowering Women to Succeed Conference on September 25th. Go to http://empoweringwomentosucceed.com/conference2018 and book your complimentary 30-minute session.

My New Favorite List – A List of Accomplishments!

August is here already

Did you wake up last week like, “How has over half of the year already passed?” Did you have a bit of a panic regarding all the things you wanted to accomplish in 2018 that don’t seem to be hitting the finish line? Well, I did.  I have big plans for this year, which is very exciting and sometimes frightening. I live however, by the mantra, if you don’t have a goal, you can be certain you won’t achieve it. So, why not put it out there? Put that dream, accomplishment, or achievement on a piece of paper (yes, I’m still old school) and go for it.

I often think of hockey players and wonder if they could stay motivated and driven to play their very best if they were just shooting and passing the puck around. What if there was no net, no goal, no point to be earned? Once you stick that net on the ice, there is a whole new motivation. So, my goalie net is my to do list.

And now for a confession. I love, love, love crossing things off my list! I love the feel of the big black sharpie (yes, I use a sharpie!) making a thick, black horizontal line across the page. I also love the sense of accomplishment and completion when this is done. I’ll let you in on a little secret … sometimes, I put things on my list I’ve already completed just so I can cross them off. Wow, that was huge for me to admit!

It’s the Journey, Not the Destination that is Important

The other day I was thinking about my lists, and where I’ve gotten with them so far this year and I had an epiphany. I had totally forgotten that it is about the journey and not the destination. I hadn’t taken any time to celebrate what I had already completed.  I had simply dismissed my accomplishments. I had written them off, forgotten about them.  I wasn’t feeling gratitude for what had already transpired. And then I remembered, if I want more black sharpie lines on my many lists I need to STOP focusing on what is next, and START feeling appreciative for what I’ve already done. I needed to remind myself that gratitude is the strongest form of sustaining momentum and flow.

List of Accomplishments

Now I am attempting to balance the attention I give to upcoming duties, tasks, goals and the things that I’ve already succeeded at. How? I decided to start a list of my accomplishments! Instead of drawing a thick, black line through what I’ve completed, so that it is blacked out and unable to be seen, I transfer this item to a new, fresh list posted on my wall. My list of accomplishments. And then I take time everyday to look at this list and feel grateful for having the energy, ability, attention, intention and dedication to accomplish it all. This has made a huge difference in how I feel most of the time.

So instead of feeling panic about the fact that over half of the year has passed by, I feel masterful, talented and confident that in the upcoming months I will add more and more items to my new favourite list.

I still make ‘to do’ lists at a ridiculous rate, and I still love doing so, but my accomplishment list has also made it into my heart.  I see the power that it can have in moving me forward. Just as energy brings about more energy, I like to think that accomplishments brings about more accomplishments.

 

What have you accomplished this year that you can celebrate?  It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

I invite you to share your experience with worrying in the comments. You can also join in the conversation on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration.

To our health and wellbeing,

Karen

What Does Anxiety Look Like?

what does anxiety feel like? personal breakthroughs nlp coaching aurora - It Can Be Different Karen Spencer

In this blog, we are going to explore what anxiety looks like, what it feels like, and how it shows up in our lives.  I am talking about anxiety that is not productive.  You know, the kind that keeps you up at night, that stops you in your tracks, that makes you and everyone around you crazy.

This unhealthy anxiety can strike at any moment and usually does.  It sometimes creeps into your life bit by bit, tapping you on the shoulder like a person trying to get your attention.  Or it can barge into your life like a house invader that just broke down the front door.  Throwing things around without regard for your feelings.  Totally unwanted and frightening.

What Does Anxiety Feel Like?

When someone asks me what anxiety feels like, I generally talk about these symptoms.  You can feel panicky, unsure, irritable, jittery, numb.  Sometimes you become hypervigilant.  You can experience headaches, migraines, vomiting, nausea, clammy hands, clenched jaw, panting, trembling, racing heart, inability to speak or think clearly, breathlessness, tight chest or insomnia.  You can start performing repeated patterns such as scratching or picking at yourself and you can develop a sensitivity to light or sound.

Thoughts You Can’t Turn Off

You may also have repetitive thoughts that you cannot turn off, no matter how hard you try.  Random, flittering thoughts that are most likely negative and predict a worse-case scenario.  These thoughts tend to lead from one disaster to another such as “this will happen and then that will happen and then that will cause this to happen.

These stories that we tell ourselves are vivid and melodramatic with everything that could possibly go wrong occurring all at once.  These stories are always in the future and have nothing to do with the exact moment that we are living in.  Convoluted and detailed, they become ingrained in our current consciousness as if they were actually happening.

All of this thinking and imagining is so easily triggered and yet so very difficult to stop.

Difficult, But Not Impossible

With the latest techniques in neurolinguistics programming (NLP) and Timeline Therapy®, both the anxiety triggers and the resultant behaviours and feelings can be not only understood and managed but also eliminated.  Through identification of the root cause of the anxiety, the inherent anxious thoughts and beliefs that have been running repeatedly and unconsciously in our brains can be understood and replaced with more positive and productive thoughts.

This easy, effortless and quick change starts to have major and immediate positive impact on our day-to-day lives.  Joy and ease returns.  Life becomes easier.  Deep, restful sleep starts to become the norm.  Overall life becomes different, better, lighter…

Finding your anxiety triggers can change your life in profound ways

If you’re not reading this on my website, you can visit it here www.itcanbedifferent.ca for more information and to see how I can help you find your triggers so that you can imagine, believe and break through to a new, anxiety-free you.

You can also join in the conversation on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration.

To our health and wellbeing,

Karen

What is Anxiety?

what is anxiety

What is anxiety?  How do you know if you have it?  And if you suspect that you do have it or if you have been told you have it, how do you effectively and successfully deal with it?

There is no exact diagnosis for anxiety;it is an observation of symptoms. Some of them can be emotions a person is feeling and displaying and some of them can be physical symptoms that can be observed.

And if you do have these symptoms and if they are plaguing your life, what can you do about it?  Is it controllable?  Can it be overcome?  Can it be understood?  All very good questions and all questions that I have struggled with for most of my adult life and for which I have found some life-changing answers for.

In this blog and blogs to follow, I hope to help you identify the symptoms of anxiety. And to reassure you that you are not alone. If you do suffer from these symptoms then I hope to provide you with tools and techniques and even a therapeutic approach to managing and even overcoming them.

Does Everyone Have Anxiety?

Some level of anxiety is normal and anxiety can even be useful.  We should feel anxious before a job interview.  We should feel the jitters before going on a first date.  However, if you become overcome or even fixated with the anticipation of what’s to come and you find yourself not going to the job interview or opting to stay at home instead of going on that date, then the anxiety has taken a turn and has become detrimental.

As you know, anxiety exists to keep us all safe against real-life threats.  It is part of being human.  It was meant to get us up and running when that wholly mammoth was making a charge towards us.

For Some Anxiety is a Crippling Constant

But for some of us, anxiety has become overwhelming and constant and it rears up sometimes over incidental or even unreal threats.  When this happens, life can become a true misery and suffering can be exhausting and relentless.  Even low-level yet constant anxiety can lead to problems at work, at home and even with one’s health.

Understanding Anxiety is the First Step to Overcoming It

To expect a complete elimination of anxiety would be irrational and not appropriate for your emotional and physiological health.  However, understanding, managing and overcoming unwarranted and damaging anxiety is within your grasp and a life of calm and peace is very much on the horizon.

In my next blog, I am going to describe what anxiety feels like for most people and how it can be easily and effortlessly eliminated.  It can be different and it starts with awareness and understanding.

I invite you to share your experience with anxiety in the comments. You can also join in the conversation on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration. To book your complimentary consultation, please click here.

To our health and wellbeing,

Karen