Anxiety and Pain suck! One of the best times in my practice is witnessing people receiving relief and joy. As we take simple steps walk through the anxiety and fear the peace comes. It is not what we think. We as people are programed to move toward safety and away from fear. Move away from what hurts.
This is great and a base survival mechanism. We need it. The challenge is when there is not actually a life or death survival situation happening. Because the brain and nervous system react first from the hard wired emotionally driven fear response there is not clear thinking happening. It can be a minor thing, it does not matter. The brain has been taken over. Hijacked!
I love educating people about how to come off this adrenaline driven, burn out and painful cycle. Doing this for years is the high point of my life! This is discovering freedom again and again with each person I get to do this with. It feels really good! It is the best comfort from chronic pain.
So what are some tips that you can use right away? Here are 3. Please let me know what you noticed in your body as you practice these today! Have fun.
- Yawning! Yup, that simple to gain a little space from anxiety and pain. Fake yawns work great. Yawning is hard wired into most of the brain to be a message that “I am Ok. We are Ok.” What is great about this message is that it is contagious. You want to learn to come off the busy day? You want your kids to start settling down for bed? You want you and them to fall asleep easily? Yawn! Yawn, and yawn again. See if they catch the yawn. It is fun. Notice how your breath feels. See if fake ones turn into real ones.
- Gargling! Again simple. I got this tip from Karimon Pierce of New Gratitude Nutrition. Just take a sip of warm water and gargle for a few seconds and swallow it. Notice sensations from your mouth to your belly. Ok, you want some nervous system science with this one? As you experience anxiety and pain you move into Fight, Flight or Freeze Response (survival), energy is shifted away from digestion. This shuts down digestion and the body’s repair systems. **Hint these exercises are great just before eating.
- Ok one more simple one. Write down the anxious thoughts. The mind can be a very crowded, confusing and fast pace place to hang out. Just taking a few moments to write down the fearful or worrisome thoughts makes them stable. They will not change on the paper.
So did these exercises make you more relaxed? Did they change your experience of pain?