I like to say that our minds are anticipation machines; we are constantly planning for future events. Anxiety can develop into worry about an unknown future that is being perceived as being unpleasant, dangerous or perhaps already determined in a negative way so that we feel helpless.
When this happens, an anxiety sequence is activated. Typically you will begin to hold your breath, notice distinct physical reactions in your body such as a quickened heart rate and your thoughts will turn negative. It feels like your body and mind have been hijacked by worry.
Get SMART can ease you out of the anxiety cycle. Here’s how it goes:
Stop what you are doing to realize you have been hijacked by worry.
Moment. Take a moment to begin taking some deep breaths. Inhale through your nostrils for 3 seconds and exhale through your mouth for 3 seconds.
Assess what is happening in the moment. Getting back to what is happening in the moment can help stop negative thoughts about the unknown future.
Respond in the moment rather than react to the perceived threat.
Thoughtfully. There are other ways to think about the situation once you lessen the grip the worry cycle has on you.