An Effective, One-Step Anxiety Management Tool

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There are things you must accomplish although your anxiety is high.

Maybe you have to make it through eight hours at the office or run necessary errands, do the laundry, mow the lawn, get the groceries or sit through your child’s recital or soccer game. You wonder how you will make it through the day.

Sometimes the simplest anxiety management tools are best. An effective one comes from Dr. Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom.

Our Anxiety-Prone Brain

Dr. Hanson is passionate about studying the human brain and shares that it has acquired a hard-wired tendency toward anxiety for good reason. Being ever-vigilant helped our earliest ancestors stay alive and procreate. Those organisms that were too easygoing to be observant likely did not notice the cracking of branches or shadows creeping up on them and became some other creature’s dinner.

However, our observant surviving ancestors’ wariness has developed into a kind of background noise of latent alarm in our neurological wiring, so we tend to frequently scan our environment for anything that threatens our survival. With some of us, this anxious awareness becomes so heightened it can disrupt the enjoyment of daily life.

In his writings, Dr. Hanson shares how can we keep anxiety from robbing us not only of our functioning, but our pleasure in life. Here is one of his favorite ways.

A Simple Anxiety Management Tool

This method is written in three "steps" for emphasis and clarification, but it is really only one step. Although it is one step, you may need to repeat it several times during the day, or throughout an hour.

  1. “Notice the fact that most of the time, right now, you’re basically OK. You’re basically all right, right now.” -Dr. Rick Hanson
  2. Notice the fact that, unless a tree is about to fall on you, or a black bear is towering over you, or someone is jumping from behind a bush and threatening you, you are actually all right, right now.
  3. Notice this over the course of your day, or as often as you need to, that you are all right, right now.

If your anxiety is mild or moderate, this tool can help alleviate some or most of your anxiety. When anxiety is severe, this tool can help you accomplish what you need to despite your anxiety and might reduce your discomfort, or at least prevent it from escalating.

“The important thing is to learn how to rest your mind - to work with it instead of being worked by it.” -Yongey M. Rinpoche

 
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