Often when we’re facing a life change; it could be a job loss, retirement, separation, a health challenge; we feel anxious. Our heart begins to race and we feel like we want to run away from the situation. It is difficult to focus and often times we want to go back to the way things were. We feel overwhelmed by all that lies ahead of us, and are uncertain about our future.
When this happens, what can you do to get out of this cycle of anxiety?
Here are some proven strategies:
- Take slow deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, keeping your mouth open and releasing sound when you exhale. Repeat this about five times and notice how you feel. This exercise releases oxytocin, the hormone that relaxes and calms us. When you have taken a few slow, deep, conscious breaths, you should begin to feel more relaxed.
- Do body scanning on awakening and/or before going to sleep. Lie in bed and scan your body slowly from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. While doing this notice any tension or pain. If you do, breathe into that area and set the intention to release the tension or pain.
- Spend regular time in nature. Find a special place you feel connected to. For me there is a place on the rocks by the ocean close to where I live. When I go there and lie on the rocks, I feel so grounded, relaxed and protected. Did you know that the Japanese have done longitudinal studies to show that when we walk among trees it reduces our heart rate, reduces our blood pressure and increases the number of natural killer cells our bodies produce?
- Do mindfulness walking meditations starting with three times a week for 20 to 30 minutes each time. When you do this, instead of going for a walk and thinking about all that has happened or all you have to do, instead focus on your senses. Notice the wind on your face, the smell of the salt sea air, the crunch of leaves underfoot, the sound of the birds, the beautiful vistas that surround you. When thoughts come into your head, which they inevitably will do, imagine they are clouds and let them float by or imagine putting them in a bubble and seeing them float away, and refocus on your senses.
- Repeat to yourself several times each day, “I am safe, it’s only change. “ (a favourite of mine from Louise Hay) Post this affirmation where you will see it, e.g. on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator door.
- Move your body. Put on some music you enjoy and dance around your kitchen or wherever. Feel the music and let it flow through you.
- Tap into and express your creative side. Do something creative that you enjoy. Perhaps it’s painting, drawing, playing the piano, gardening. It could be something you did as a child that you no longer do or something you’ve always wanted to try. When you tap into and express your creative side, you feel like a child at play, lighter and filled with wonder. This opens you up to exploring the positive side of the change you are experiencing, and to the belief that change is a creative process that opens us up to new possibilities.
I’d love to hear from you some strategies you’ve found helpful to reduce the anxiety associated with change. Feel free to post your comments below and to share this article with others.
Someone once said that the only things that don’t change in life are death and taxes. Life is all about change. Once we understand that, it is easier to get through them. Great post!
So true! Thanks Barb. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.
Oftentimes the experience of change leaves me feeling in the “void,” that space in-between what has completed and what hasn’t yet manifested. I first recognize that feeling for what it is when I feel like I want to cry. I want to cry, but it’s not connected to anything. I’m not feeling sad. Then I say to myself,”Oh, I’m in the void!.” That opens space within me to simply be where I am, not having to fix anything, or assign this uncomfortable feeling of being in the unknown, to anything more concrete.
Wow Laurie! Thanks for sharing your experience with change and the effective way you deal with it. Good for you to have such insight and such a powerful way of dealing with being in the “space in between”.
I love all the tips . Thank you Pamela for sharing.
Hi Leila, Thanks for your positive feedback. Happy you found the article useful. 🙂
These are wonderful strategies to transform the anxiety of change. I also love to use gratitude to change my perspective and over time have felt it was my life boat! Thank you for this affirming post!
Hi Kelley, Thanks for sharing your helpful strategy to transform anxiety related to change. I appreciate your positive feedback 🙂
Powerful post, I also use ho’oponopono that lifts me . Yes change is constant xo
Hi Suzie, Thanks for sharing a strategy that works for you. Appreciate the positive feedback 🙂
Great article! Tips anyone can use, we all have times of stress and anxiety when these would come in handy. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Kris, Happy you found the article useful. Appreciate your positive feedback 🙂