Anxiety has unfortunately become a common, everyday feeling for many of us. It’s hard to go through a day without having a handful of anxious thoughts or fears invade your mind. Never before in history have our brains been asked to process more information than in the times we live in right now. The speed of information in which we have access to has caused many of us to be in sensory overload. It’s no wonder so many of us our feeling anxious and worried.
One way we have been able to measure anxiety is to see the changes in our brain waves when someone is feeling especially anxious. We have five types of brain waves occurring all the time in various intensity of frequency. These five brain waves are called gamma, beta, alpha, theta and delta. Anxiety is a sign that one or more of these brain waves are vibrating at too high of a frequency which can be caused by external or internal stimuli.
If you’re interested in reading more about brain waves here is an article that explains them in more detail.
Here are five ways to naturally slow down your brain waves to help you feel less anxious.
Yes, it might sound simple but you will be amazed at how much you can calm down your anxious feelings by just focusing on your breathing. Think of anxious thoughts as if they were an upset, scared little child inside your head and all they needed was something to distract them long enough to stop the momentum of their fear. When you focus on your breath you distract your consciousness and calm down not only your brain waves but in turn every system in your body starts to calm down as well.
If you want to take your breathing to the next level you can sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus only on counting your breaths. When a thought comes to mind, other than the counting, you simply acknowledge the thought, and go back to counting your breaths. Try to count to higher and higher numbers each time you have to start over. Or you can focus on a flickering candle or the hum of a fan. Anything that can keep your focus. One of the goals of meditation is to slow down your brain waves to a theta state which is where we are in our most relaxed state.
If you want add another dimension to your meditating experience you can listen to calming music while you meditate. Classical music is good for this as is listening to certain frequencies that are specifically calming for the brain. When we listen to certain frequencies, music included, it entrains our brain waves to match what we are listening to. The 528 hz frequency is an especially good one because of its healing nature. It’s a great one to listen to while you sleep too.
Any kind of mindful, rhythmic exercise is helpful to calming the brain and reducing anxiety. You can try walking meditations that incorporate music, breathing and physical movement. Yoga is another form of mindful exercise that requires focus on the body and breathing. But any form of exercise that increases your endorphins, gives the brain a rest and connects the mind and body will do the trick. The important thing is the exercise be an enjoyable experience for you and you look forward to doing it.
Worry is a specific kind of future oriented thinking that causes anxiety. Worry is actually a fear not about a specific event that could happen but is a projected fear of the emotions we will experience if that event does take place. What you need more than anything when you worry is to acknowledge the present moment and do things that ground you and help you feel safe right now. Journaling your present feelings and fears is a way to get them out of the mind and body. Your fears lose their control over you when they are reduced to words on paper.
Another great journaling exercise to is to go on a “gratitude rampage” and write everything that you can think of that you are grateful for in 5 minutes. The 5 minute time crunch forces your brain to use your heightened emotional state to channel that energy in a positive direction. This creates an uplifting mental momentum that you can continue once you put the pen down. Talk about an energy shifter. There’s nothing like filling your whole being with thoughts of gratitude and then focusing on the task at hand when you are coming from a state of appreciation.
Last but not least you can use EFT (tapping) as a way to express and release your thoughts and feelings. If you are feeling particularly anxious or worried it helps to ask questions as you tap, such as “what is the worse thing that can happen if such and such comes to pass?” Or, “what is the root cause for this scary thought?” Or, “what am I really afraid of?” Invite your subconscious to have a conversation with you and help you answer those questions. You might be amazed at the answers you get. There are many ways to use tapping to reduce anxiety. Not sure what tapping is? Read my blog here that explains it.
The bottom line is that anxiety and worry are states of mental stress that can be combatted and mitigated by becoming more mindful of needing to change your brainwaves and engaging in activities that help your brain slow down where it can more easily and gracefully perform its function and allow you to experience life from a more balanced state.