When fear strikes, your thoughts are on some imagined future.
Perhaps you’re worried about where the next client is coming from and how you’re going to pay your bills at the end of the month.
Or you’re terrified of being visible, constantly worrying “What if I’m no good? What if people reject me?”
No matter the cause, your thoughts create anxiety and send your nervous system the message “Alert! Danger!” And so your nervous system triggers it’s flight or fight response – One of those responses to the perceived threat is that your focus narrows – which is why the thing you fear becomes so all consuming. You lose access to your higher states of resourcefulness, creativity and empowered decision making.
Whenever you feel this state coming on, try this breathing technique. It’s called 7 / 11 breathing.
And it’s simply this – inhale for a count of 7 and then exhale to the count of 11. Repeat 5 times.
Firstly, you’re directing your focus to counting and your breath and you can’t think and focus on your breath at the same time. You’re effectively breaking the negative thinking pattern. And physiologically, when your exhale is longer than your inhale it’s imitating a sigh of relief. Imagine you’ve outrun the bear, you’ve climbed a tree and you’re safe.
Now you can stop holding your breath, you exhale fully and you signal to your body that danger has passed. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system which restores your body to a state of calm. Which then means you have access to logical, rational and creative thinking once again. Now you can think clearly, make empowered decisions and take some positive action to deal with the situation, or if there’s nothing to do, you let it go.
Peace and love