Anxiety stress management is an interesting juxtaposition of ideas.
There is a way to manage both anxiety and stress, or even anxiety about stress management.
The physiology of anxiety and stress is very similar, and the antidote is of course some kind of relaxation.
Most of my clients will began the anxiety stress management process by telling me of the external situation, the chronology, and the implicit assumption is that they will no longer feel anxiety or stress when the external world has been controlled.
So at this point in the process of anxiety stress management, I will ask my clients where they see me.
Almost all will reply that they see me across the room, and I will tell them that they are incorrect.
The only place they can see me is in the visual cortex, inside their head.
Most clients are a bit taken aback by that insight, and they know they cannot argue it either.
And then I repeat the question for hearing, smell, taste, and pressure, and close off our exercise be reminding them that their entire stress producing experience exists inside them, not outside them, and then we begin teaching a number of ways to change the things we can change, thinking, feelings, and behavior, so that stress is minimized.
Clients at this point are beginning to open their eyes to the fact that anxiety stress management is different than the external thing they would like to change by now, although I usually have to remind them (and myself) frequently of old patterns of thinking (for example-some one did it to me, I am the victim).
At this point in the training we can really begin to demonstrate how our thought about the external situation is what brings on the physiology of anxiety/stress, and how changing the thought changes the feeling very fast.
I ask the parents, for example, as they are launching into their diatribe, what they are feeling and how intense that feeling is.
After some work to identify the feeling, and its intensity, I ask them to imagine holding their child as a new born, and I ask them to tell me what they are feeling now, and almost always, with a bit of coaching, folks will report they fell love now, and then I ask them if the child is in the room with us, and obviously, the answer is no.
Then I ask them to have the thought that made them angry, stressed, or anxious, and then switch to holding their baby again, until they get it that changing the thought changes the feeling, but not the external world, and that change in physiology can happen in as little as 1/18th second, according to the author of FLOW, Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi,Ph.D.
So it is not the presence of the child or the problem that makes them feel, it is the thought about either that brings the feeling, and they can feel love for their baby when they are in the middle of the problem, since it is their brain.
My clients are now at a place where they are open to learning about what I consider to be the premier tool on the market for quick, hard hitting heart beat by heart beat anxiety stress management, which is the heart rate variability biofeedback tool.
The heart rate variability biofeedback tools fit very well with a western life style, I think, where clients want a quick switch in feelings rather than a meditative or contemplative lifestyle that may come with an Eastern mindfulness tradition for example.
The biofeedback is a computerized tool, and it will quickly demonstrate how fast your thinking impacts your physiology even when you are sitting still, and you will get it as you practice the Quick Coherence technique that your thinking and breathing can keep your heart beating coherently, which leaves you feeling very relaxed and content.
I like to indicate to my clients that they have not become better looking, or richer, or grown more hair, in my case, which is simply a humorous way of saying that the content feeling results from what they do internally rather than changing the external world.
And the best part of the heart rate variability biofeedback process is that it is learned.
Once you have practiced frequently enough at your computer ( six 1/2 hour practices for me), the brain in your heart will have learned that it is to produce the coherent heart rate when you present it with a cue image and a change in breathing pattern, so you are managing stress and anxiety heart beat by heart beat.
The Brain in Your Heart?
Yes, your heart has a very sophisticated nervous system of its own, and that nervous system can learn and make decisions independently of any other brain I have. In fact, the brain in the heart has a wonderful impact on my problem solving ability because it opens the higher perceptual centers in my brain for access.
In fact, if you have been following the brain fitness information emerging over the last year or two, you can encourage the growth of new neurons, or neurogenesis, and neuroplasticity, or the connectivity of neurons by attending to the pillars of brain fitness daily.
Those pillars are physical exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress management, and novel learning experiences.
Heart rate variability biofeedback is recommended as a component of your brain fitness workout by no less an authority than Alvaro Fernandez, MS, the author of the SharpBrains blog.
I have been using heart rate variability biofeedback since 2000 because it feels good. I like cuing the contentment whenever I feel like it.
Not sure you can master some weird process like heart rate variability biofeedback on your own, at your computer?
The program includes a coach who will direct you in the thinking and feeling components of the tool.
Change the thought to change the feeling!