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505: How to regain calm when anxiety hijacks your brain

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Today we’re speaking about how you can regain calm when anxiety hijacks your brain.

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Show notes:

Anxiety frequently hijacks our thinking with a fearful story that revolves around the things we worry about.

The body responds as if those fearful thoughts are true—because it doesn’t know the difference between real threat and imagined scenarios.

When the body reacts it makes the mind more disturbed and we get caught in this fear cycle that feels frightening and completely takes over our body and mind.

It starts with a trigger

Anxiety starts with a trigger, a symptom or sensation, a message, or news item - something that strikes a vulnerable place in us.

The mind zooms in on that trigger and creates an anxious narrative. A story around the trigger that makes it instantly more solid, or a potential threat.

As soon as the mind creates its story, and it can happen in an instant, the body reacts. Our heart beats faster, our breathing becomes shallow, we might feel lightheaded, or shaky. These sensations in the body feed back into our mind and further disturb the mind.

This repeats and builds into a fear cycle that feels very real and very hard to bear.
Until we know how to stop it.

A mind in balance can respond calmly to incoming information, but a mind that’s already challenged by anxiety will react rather than respond. It lacks the resilience to process the incoming information and respond in a self-supporting way.

The good news is that we can change this. We can learn to break the fear cycle.

It’s not the thing

An anxious mind fixates on things that it thinks are the problem. It zooms in on one thing, then another, in a loop of worrying thoughts and rising anxiety.

Ayurveda teaches that this happens when Vata is high in the mind. Vata pushes the mind, and the energy builds into a storm - that’s the issue - not the thing. (This is explained in more detail in this episode.)

It’s important to understand that when this happens it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, it’s a pattern in the mind. A tendency that you can work with and change.

The mind has a negative bias, and will always lean towards anxiety unless it is firmly under control. The mind is delicate, easily disturbed and high maintenance, but when we learn how to care for it, it becomes much easier to work with and to live with.

How to break the anxiety loop

Recognize what’s happening, witness and observe your thoughts and responses

Know that this is a fear story, and it’s likely fiction

Remember F.E.A.R = False Evidence Appearing Real

Calming anxiety with EFT Tapping

The second you feel anxiety rise tap on the collar bone point in the EFT Tapping sequence and start taking steady breaths. Focus on your outgoing breath and make it as long as you can.

This is an effective way to work with triggers and stop them building into looping intense anxiety.

Naming the emotion helps: externalizing it - voicing it, or writing it down is an effective way to do this and it stop you freezing and holding the anxiety inside.

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For help with calming heightened anxiety, you can join Ananga for a new Guided Tapping Session video on Patreon at patreon.com/anxietyslayer


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