Spend More Time In Awareness, and Less Time In Anxiety
As human beings, we feel with our bodies at the core of our experience. And how we feel depends on the way the brain receives information from the external world.
If you are not comfortable about something, there are reasons why your brain interprets the feeling as being uncomfortable. The brain has two ways to process information.
- One way is to take that information from the external world and compare it to an experience recorded. From that, it will guide you through a future experience to look forward to.
- The second way the brain processes information is to use the body’s sensory system. The body’s sensory system will bring in what you see, taste, touch, and hear, and then give you a very vivid, emotional experience of the present moment.
Here’s the thing, it’s very important to have a high level of thinking about your emotions, to have a conscious awareness of how to process them. You can then reflect on your emotional experience and therefore give yourself a chance to heal those that have hurt you.
Practicing Mindfulness and Process Your Emotions
If you do not process your emotions, things start to get bottled up. You’re like a pipe that is blocked on one end and you’re about to burst wide open. This affects your mental health. But with some training, you can turn this into a learning experience called mindfulness.
Mindfulness is where you can use your mind in such a way that it can change how your cells are connecting to other cells. You don’t have to go through the same loop and circuitry, where you are going to end up with the same emotional experience.
When you do that, you can change your brain to deal with your current circumstances. You then have this learning ability to think at a very high level of observation.
You can have a different attitude based on the observation. Then your body can run a physiological response to what you’re thinking and feeling. This is powerful because you’re now able to tell your body to produce chemicals and send them into the bloodstream so that you can have a personal experience, one that you wanted, one that is not triggered by your emotion.
It’s important then to observe your thoughts so you can feel the discomfort that’s maybe happening in your body. Instead of stimulating your fear or anger circuitry, to the point where you get triggered and lash out at someone, you just continue to observe and say — “Wait a minute, I don’t have to go to this level of experience. I don’t have to be triggered by this person, in this way. I can have a different emotional response!”
As a result, you feel your chest start to soften up. Your shoulders are relaxing downward. And your breath gets a little bit deeper and longer. You no longer have to clench your jaw or fists.
You may find you stop sweating about the whole situation.
The answer is to simply observe. Observe yourself. Instead of engaging in the emotion, access your higher level of thinking and observe how reactive or quick to the trigger you are about a situation so you can avoid lashing out at someone when you’re angry.
When it comes to your anxiety levels, you may find yourself feeling anxious for hours, maybe even days on end or even for weeks. This drains your adrenals. When you are in this high state of anxiety, you are going to put a lot of stress on your body.
Instead, allow the emotions to run their course through your body. Go out for a walk in nature or try an internal exercise like Tai Chi and use your higher brain to soothe your body while you do your internal exercise.
The first step to spending less time in anxiety is observe your emotions and not get caught in them. Tai Chi is one way to help you to become more aware of yourself. You can choose to observe with Tai Chi. Then you can choose to shift your focus from feeling worried, anxious, nervous, or feeling any sort of discomfort, to spend less time in those states.
How do you choose to observe yourself?
Let me introduce you to something called the turtle exercise, where you’re going to do simple movements that resemble what a turtle would do. When you start to see that you’re becoming anxious, angry or feeling intense emotions, do this exercise.
Follow along with my video.
Let’s do this exercise and let’s begin by placing your feet, shoulder-width apart.
- Allow your arms and hands to hang downward, exhale, relax, sink your weight into your feet.
- You’re going to bring your chin down onto your chest. At the same time, you’re going to stretch the top of your head upward. Slowly inhale as you do this movement.
- You’re going to feel the back of your neck and feel a pull upward as your shoulders are going to relax downward.
- Slowly, bring back your skull down onto the back of your neck. Do so as if your skull is going to touch the back of your neck. You’re going to exhale as you do this movement and pull your chin upward and feel your throat nicely and slightly stretched.
- Then you’re going to pull your shoulders upward – as if they are going to touch your ears.
- Then relax back down, back into your standing posture.
I recommend you do this 12 times.
After doing this exercise, you’re going to feel an emotional benefit. One that is diminishing any tension or tiredness in your neck or upper back.
Your brain and spinal cord with its nerves are very important parts of your nervous system.
But what happens when you develop nerve weakness?
It can cause mental imbalance and mental illness, including depression and nervous breakdown. Nerve weakness is a physical imbalance. Psychiatric and psychological treatments won’t necessarily work here to counter this imbalance. You’ll need physical treatment, one that is offered by an internal exercise such as Tai Chi.
Stay tuned to learn more about how internal exercises can strengthen your nervous system.
In the meantime, check out my online Tai Chi classes and get more tips and advice on how practicing awareness can lead you to spend less time in anxiety.