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Outsmarting Anxiety

By Andrea Kartika Deierlein

To outsmart anxiety can be as simple as ABC. First, become Aware what triggers your anxiety, focus on your Breathing to help yourself calm down, so that you can Choose what to do next.
 
Here's how this helped me with my flight to Seattle on Tuesday:
 
Several years ago, the mere thought of flying began to make my heart race. My mind turned to sweaty palms, a clenched jaw, and when I arrived at my destination (literally and even while still on the ground), I was totally drained.
 
I began to educate myself. I started to talk with flight attendants. When boarding, I asked how the flight weather forecast was (I don’t do this anymore). I learned that people experience more air movement at the back of planes, so I chose seats as much in the front as possible. I learned about cold and hot air masses and when they meet that friction may occur. My godmother’s husband, a retired airplane engineer, walked me through the rigorous testing processes planes are required to go through.
 
Armed with this knowledge, I know that planes just don't fall off the sky. But how to tell this to my mind and body? Thankfully I have my Reiki practice to turn to. Whenever the smooth sailing becomes bumpy, I turn to a grounding meditation, called Joshin Kokyo Ho, which means focusing the mind on one breath. Instead of paying attention to what happens or anticipating that the shaking gets worse, I tune in. My focus goes inside, to the inhale and the exhale, the assuring rhythm of the in and out. I feel my abdomen and chest rise and fall, helping me calm down and tune out what is happening outside of me.
 
Similarly, when the storms of life happen, I look at them like turbulence during a flight. The only way out is through. When I realize that I am about to enter anxious territory, I become Aware what triggers my anxiety (shaking of the plane), I slow down my Breathing to calm myself down, so that I can Choose what to focus on next. The next time you experience anxiety, try this ABC formula. Try to get out of your head and focus on your breathing. The next time we meet, let me know if you'd like me to show you some techniques and meditations.

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