The challenge we have when we live in a ‘perma-crisis’ is that it puts us into reactive mode.
It’s as if we’re constantly having to respond to demands that are urgent and difficult. This triggers our ‘flight, fight, freeze’ mechanism and puts us into a state of semi permanent high alert. No wonder anxiety takes hold! There are some really practical, small adjustments that we can make when we find ourselves in this state – it’s often the tiny habits that make a big difference.
The first thing we can do is to take a step back and some good breaths.
Seriously, it may sound so basic, but when our nervous systems are on high alert, we are hard wired to react and we can’t think straight when we feel like we’re under attack. Deep, regular breathing calms our systems and helps our bodies to settle. Try taking 5 deep breaths, two or three times a day. It’s amazing how little it takes us to re-set, and what a big impact it can have.
Then there’s perspective.
Stepping away from the situation and getting a bit of distance, means that we give ourselves the gift of being able see a bit more clearly and notice our patterns. Try to focus on what you HAVE, not what you LACK. Perma-crisis and anxiety tip us into what I call a state of ‘scarcity’. We want instead to move towards a state of ‘enough’ – where we DO have what it takes to meet the challenges we face. Developing a daily practice of noticing what you have and feeling grateful for it is a great way to shift perspective. Ask yourself, “What have I got in my life today that I can be grateful for?” If you can write it down even better. Gratitude gives us a little shot of serotonin in our systems which is literally a natural high and a great antidote to anxiety.
First published in Grazia magazine.