One of the things I’ve found hugely beneficial in managing my anxiety, and shifting my mindstate rapidly, is using different breathing techniques. When anxiety is triggered our brain goes in to problem solving mode. Rapid thought loops can quickly become overwhelming but by understanding our own physiology and nervous system response we can actually change things permanently for the better.
Our brain works on repetition, the neural pathways that get used the most become the strongest information super highways. If we can stop our thought loops in their tracks we can train the brain that it no longer needs to react the way it has been to previous triggers. By working with our Parasympathetic nervous system we can flip the switch in our brain back to rest and digest mode.
The simplest way to do this is breathing in deeply through the nose… hold for between 4 and 10 seconds… slowly exhale through the nose. The action of holding the breath floods the system with CO2 and nose breathing increases Nitric Oxide, which is beneficial on a number of levels, but in this instance the important role is it calms the nervous system. The autonomic nervous system works between its sympathetic branch or fight/flight and its parasympathetic branch or rest/digest to keep balance in our nervous system. When we’re triggered our system goes in to flight/fight mode which increases heart and breathing rate. Flooding the system with CO2 and NO actually increases blood flow and in turn slows breathing and heart rate as the system flips in to rest/digest mode or the parasympathetic nervous system. Once deactivated and in PNS our brain feels safe so the thought loops stop.
So give it a try and start your brain training today.