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You Can’t Think Your Way Out of Anxiety. Try This Instead.

I won’t sugarcoat it. If you’re chronically tired, frustrated, annoyed, anxious, or overwhelmed, then you’re in big trouble. Because it isn’t ever “going away.”

Daily, uncontrollable negative emotion means you currently operate with a fundamental misunderstanding of both body and mind. You’ve trained yourself into habits that don’t serve you; and yet, you cling to them incessantly out of fear. Don’t you see that it’s insane to expect positive outcomes while mired in constant negativity?

The cycle will be hard to break. It won’t be like flipping on a light switch — it will take practice and patience and education. You must learn what you are before you can ascend to whom you were always meant to be.

You see, to learn about the functionality of the body means, ultimately, to put the mind in the absolute best position to succeed. A nourished, rested, energized body with muscularity and strength will not hinder the mind from its true purpose: creation. A broken body, on the other hand, mired in pain and lethargy, demands constant attention from the mind. Put simply — the body can dictate the terms of daily satisfaction better than an untrained mind.

This phenomenon explains why so many people report positive emotions from working out, running, or even eating well. It also explains why people become addicted to the journey of fitness, and then, eventually, the journey of 24/7 improvement. Honoring the body feels so good that the mind can’t help but join.

And soon, the mind is creating new ways to feel satisfied, as well. That’s the sweet spot of life — creating a satisfying journey day-by-day with mind, body, and spirit working in harmony. It’s such a far cry from the momentum of chronic anxiety that they might as well be different galaxies. But really, they’re just different patterns of thoughts, and thus different bodies of work.

Utilizing breath work is the first step in moving away from chronic fear into daily joy

If you’re serious about embarking on the arduous journey from pain to pleasure, start with better understanding the body and how physicality affects state of mind.

In moments of intense overwhelm, do not try to flee from the discomfort. Go into the body and use its natural functions to change your chemistry, which will temporarily change your mood and outlook.

The best way to tap into the power of the body is to learn how to breathe.

First and foremost, most people actually breathe too frequently. They take short, shallow breaths (more than 15 per minute) which cause stress sensors in the body to assume that danger is imminent and adrenaline is needed.

Science calls these sensors the sympathetic nervous system, and it is the system designed for moments of “fight or flight” in daily life. However, there are no predators anymore in life — just self-imposed fears, usually stemming from work or sexual relationships. This means that you can hack the mind into thinking the body is safe by just slowing down breathing with longer, deeper, steadier breath work.

This tip is quite literally just the tip of the iceberg — there are some many other ways to use breathing to your advantage. You can flood the body with oxygen via deep, powerful inhales, a practice which will stimulate various glands and chemical responses. You can also play with the ways you inhale and exhale (mouth, nose, one nostril, other nostril) and stimulate different states of consciousness.

And because whatever journey you choose to take must always include the breath, you can rest easy knowing that the power of total body regulation is always available. The breath (read: the body), unlike the mind, will never forsake you once you understand how it works.

What do you think?

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