Hey Shrink #3: Extinguish Anxiety with Oxygen

Fireside by David Zinger

Issue #3 of Hey Shrink: Breathing into Anxiety

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” ― Amit Ray

Welcome to the third issue of ‘Hey Shrink.’ The first series of posts for this newsletter is devoted to understanding, reducing, managing, and transforming anxiety.

Takeaway. Don’t let anxiety take your breath away.

Anxiety Defined. If you joined us late I am using the Cambridge dictionary definition of anxiety:

the uncomfortable feeling of nervousness or worry about something that is happening or might happen in the future.

Perls of Wisdom. Fritz Perls, the mover and shaker of Gestalt Therapy said, “fear is excitement without oxygen.” We can’t live without oxygen. We may also live less anxiously if we breathe into anxiety. As an aside, Perls encouraged us “to lose our minds and come to our senses” (something I encourage you not to think about too much).

Making sense of sensations. Physiologically, there is little difference between the sensation of excitement or fear/anxiety. When we breath into these sensations and feelings we may still have the sensations but begin to experience it more as excitement than anxiety. You want to feel excitement before an important performance but too much excitement (anxiety) can be debilitating.

Every breath you take. You don’t have to gulp in oxygen or make your breath unnaturally deep, just an easy focus on your breath. To tweak the the simple yet powerful breathing instructions of Thich Nhat Hanh, as you breathe in imagine yourself breathing in easy calmness and as you breathe out imagine yourself breathing out accumulating anxiety and fear. Imagine your breath sweeping your mind clear of anxiety.

“Feelings come and go like clouds. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Inspiration. As you go throughout your day keep reminding yourself that conscious and focused breathing can literally inspire you to experience less anxiety.

Bonus: I encourage you to breathe life into your breath by reading Moyra Mackie’s first newsletter with the wonderful name: Learning to Exhale.

Next week’s issue: How to Scale the Wall of Anxiety.

I am available for online and in-person workshops, coaching, and caring conversations. If you want more zing in your life and work message me directly though LinkedIn or email me at: david@davidzinger.com.

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