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How to stop Anxiety and Stress

Do you seem to be worrying most of the time with thoughts buzzing round in your head?

puzzled

And then do you find yourself feeling anxious and unable to relax?

Worrying is part of our survival mechanism, allowing us to turn a problem over and over in our mind until we either find a way to resolve it or find a way to accept it.  Some of us become habitual worriers, especially at night, or when we are feeling low, and we let our imagination run away with us.  We spend way too much time thinking about what we fear will happen – and guess what?  We end up feeling very stressed and anxious as a result!

Read on for my simple exercise in how to reduce your worries.

One of my clients , a business woman in her 40’s, was stuck firmly in the ‘What if ?’ way of thinking:  “What if my company goes bankrupt? What if my teenage daughter gets in with the wrong crowd? What if my husband’s knee operation goes wrong?” And with these worries she attached the ultimate fear – “If the company goes bankrupt I won’t have any money to pay the mortgage, if my teenage daughter is in with the wrong crowd she will get drunk and/or take drugs, if my husband’s knee operation goes wrong he won’t be able to walk.”  Because her mind was so swamped with worrying about what could go wrong, making her stressed and anxious, when something relatively small happened at work she lost control and stormed out - and then berated herself that she was weak and pathetic! 

 

Does this sound like you?
I find it to be a very common vicious cycle!

 

The good news is that by adopting some small changes you can change the worry cycle to make it far more realistic and manageable

The FIRST STEP is to check out your negative thinking patterns.
 

DO YOU

positive  

Only notice or imagine bad stuff? Filtering out any positives? Are you wearing those ‘gloomy’ specs? What would be more realistic?

balanced  

Are you assuming you know what others are thinking? What’s the evidence? Is there another more balanced way of looking at it?

rain   Do you imagine that the worst possible thing will happen?  Is that helpful?  What’s most likely to happen?
  Do you believe that something or someone can only be good or bad, right or wrong? What about anything in-between or ‘shades of grey’?
  Are you self-critical of situations or events, do you blame yourself for things that are not totally your responsibility
Would most people you know say that about you?

Being able to recognise your worries and any negative thinking patterns you have, will give you the awareness to challenge and find more logical and positive thoughts.

Staying in the present is also very important.  If we spend a lot of time worrying about what might happen, particularly if the consequences are negative, then not surprisingly levels of anxiety will be pretty high!

Research has shown that being mindful is a very powerful way of managing our anxiety and stress.  Rather than fighting to not have the worrying thoughts, mindfulness is about accepting that you will have them, yet not attaching a meaning to them.  Again, research has shown that trying to stop thinking a certain thought is very difficult!

Here is an example:  I simply ask you not to think about a pink elephant for the rest of the day.  The truth is that you have to think about it first to then try and not think about it, yet because it has now made its way in to your mind it will probably keep popping up all day, even though you are trying to resist it! 

A thought is just a thought until we attach a meaning to it – for instance, you may have a thought that is about paying a bill and then because you know it is due you may start to feel anxious about it.Then, even though you can’t do anything about it right away it changes your mood for the rest of the day! 

Here is a great exercise that will help you to manage your thoughts and keep everything in perspective:

Imagine lying on some thick comfy grass looking up at the sky watching fluffy clouds drift by.  Imagine that as your thoughts come in to your mind you place them in to the clouds
.

clouds 

Then watch as your thoughts drift by in the clouds, without analysing or judging just observing them as they go by.  If you find that your mind gets stuck on a thought or you drift off, bring your mind back to imagining lying on the grass looking up at the sky and start again.

 

This takes a bit of practice but the good news is that if you manage this for as little as 5 minutes a day it will make a significant impact in reducing anxiety and

My name is Karen Francis, and I am here to help reduce your stress and anxiety. 

 

Check out my website retrainyourbrain.co.uk  as I am offering a free 15 minute relaxation download which uses the latest scientific neurofeedback system to train your brain to really relax.

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In my capacity as a Sports Performance Specialist I recently spent time supporting one of my clients at the Ladies European Qualifying Tour Golf School in Morocco.

We had spent time in England developing her mental approach to playing golf under pressure and this would be the ultimate test for her.

Qualifying school is brutal: 150 professional golfers battling it out over nine rounds of golf for 40 places on the European Tour; all wanting it badly because getting on to the European Tour is so important in terms of being able to compete at a high level and also a chance to earn a decent living to fund their desire and passion to win.

Most of them have already proved themselves in their own country; they all have amazing swings and they can get up and down from anywhere; and yet, after three rounds, scores varied from 12 under par to 25 over par. How to explain the difference?

It all comes down to their mental approach: how they step from the practice tee to the course; how they deal with the huge expectation levels; and the knowledge that they must shoot low, or they have no chance of qualifying!


Before coming out to Qualifying School, the essential belief system needs to be in place: of knowing that, whatever happens, they can post a good score. This is built through consistent practice, building an evidence base of good shots and developing a pre-shot routine that focuses on the process and the ‘here and now’.

Most importantly, they will be definitely concentrating on:

Remembering the good shots rather than the bad ones (how many times have I seen a golfer hit fantastic shots, only to bemoan a three-putt when asked about the round!)


Being clear about what needs to happen rather than what doesn’t (Telling yourself ‘I don’t want to go into that bunker’ is like telling yourself not to think of a pink elephant, which then immediately becomes your focus!)


Watching their body language and making sure that they are sending positive messages to their brains even when they feel frustrated!


Developing a mind-set that concentrates on what you need to do ‘right now’ is one of the most powerful ways to encourage consistent, focused play which is going to get what you want = RESULTS!

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I am fascinated about the impact of words that we use and the power they can have in terms of communication.
Did you know that the word ‘because’ is one of the most simple but effective ways of getting people on board with what you are asking for?

Why?

Well, it is one of those words that was conditioned in our brain from a young age as the absolute answer and reason for questions that we asked our Mum and Dad. It then becomes a stimulus-response mechanism for us later in life.

It goes something like this:


Child: ‘Mum can I have an ice-cream’
Mum: ‘No not now, maybe later’
Child: ‘Pleeeeeeese’
Mum: ‘I said no’
Child: ‘But why?
Mum: ‘Because you are having dinner soon’

This has been backed up by a series of studies through psychologists in America which showed that using the word ‘because’ in response to ‘why?’ questions triggers successful outcomes at around 50% more than the normal response rate in many situations.

So, one very powerful word that used in verbal reasoning and communication can unconsciously create a very effective connection.

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