RESOURCES for an ANXIETY Stress Response Style
An anxiety stress response can be seen as an over-activation of the brain and a feeling of being hyped up, difficulty getting deep breaths, and racing thoughts. An important goal of the tools and techniques for an anxiety response is to develop the inner calm.
This is not a complete list. Rather, they are options to explore. You don’t have to do them all. Begin with what is easiest for you and see what sticks. This becomes your protocol to practice.
Right and left, pair movement with breathing (tadasana moving arms out to side on inhale, and floating down on exhale), cat and cow with slow meditative breath.
Sleep support: use meditation and yoga nidra before sleep for deeper quality. No electronics 1 hour before sleep. Regular physical activity that works into the psoas (ex: running, calisthenics). Reduce stimulating substances and activities (caffeine, electronics, sugar, drugs)
Asana (physical yoga poses)
Chest expansion - Tadasana with lateral movement, face down restorative pose with weight on back of head and soft pillow or blanket under belly. Savasana with an eye pillow or folded blanket over eyes. Balasana (Child’s Pose), Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend).
Release tension: 1) Breath with motion (Time movement with breath mindfully observing the body tension locations). 2) Hold breath at top for 1-3 seconds to let go of exhale completely- work up to 4 part breath. 3) Soft “Haaaa” exhale. 4) Ujjayi breath to ground the mind. 5) Lengthen exhalations.
Mudra (Hand Yoga)
Especially when other physical expressions are not available to you, hand yoga can help bring calm and peace. pushpaputa (handful of flowers - brings receptivity), Murti Mudra (pinky long and fingers clasped - helps extend the exhale)
Counter the combative fight response to an open receptive response: I open myself to divine joy. I open myself to healing power.
Bring attention behind the eyes and between the ears. See a beautiful relaxing color in that space and imagine the cool liquid color flowing down from your head, turning to a warming and calming liquid in your heart and pelvis.
Acceptance, connectivity, full body awareness. Pratyahara (withdrawing senses - taking a stress vacation)
Expressive writing - track the negative/ anxiety thought response. Find mindtraps and counter with new thoughts. Focus attention: Identify and write down anything you can do or acknowledge that is positive and productive.
Self observation: track the automatic thought patterns and associated feeling with non judgement. Be curious and flexible: find a way to non judgmentally connect with the self and self acceptance; self connecting is a powerful antidote to stress.
Need to reset nervous system. Identify action: self care plan to burn off energy (exercise, name it to tame it). Fascial work to help the brain turn off the alarm system and release tension. Pelvic floor activation (mula bandha) and release for vagus nerve activation. Gain control over emotions: purposely evoke positive alternating with negative. Practice expanded awareness: ex: identify 3 things you can see and 3 things you can hear.
** These are practices meant to be done long-term and consistently (not everyday, but on a regular basis so it becomes a habit and a new way of life. Otherwise, the effects will be temporary (not a bad thing, just not as transformational as it could be)