I have a client-centered confession: I prefer working with anxious people.
I know, it's like saying, "I prefer my son over my daughters," but I can't help it.
I've been a psychotherapist for over a decade and that's long enough to know with whom I excel, in my clinical book.
It's not that anxiety is easy to be in the room with — on the contrary, sometimes clients are so unfocused, overwhelmed and tense that gaining control of the session is a challenge.
But here's the thing: At the end of the (stressed-out) day, anxious people get the job done.
I totally get it. I wasn't exactly raised in the most calm, cool and collected environment. Nobody taught me the importance of getting in touch with my body in order to relax. I knew the phrase, "Stop being anxious!?" didn't help, but I wasn't sure exactly why.
Maybe you can relate. But the beauty of anxiety is that there are simple actions you can do today to bring more peace, Zen and productivity to your environment.
In addition to lifestyle imperatives like getting adequate sleep, reducing caffeine, and exercising for at least 30 minutes per day, the following tips will help you make the most of your active mind:
1. Breathe to soothe your nerves.
Shallow breathing is a typical stress response. Hyperventilation can prolong anxiety and stress. Remember, it's your response to anxiety that is helpful or hurtful.
Because your senses are heightened, you can tap into body awareness more easily than some. When you recognize the nervous cues such as heart palpitations, headaches, and shortness of breath, take a time out to get your body back on track.
Abdominal breathing techniques calm the nervous system and reduce blood pressure. A few simple belly breaths can get you from anxiety to Zen: