What is a method for coping with anxiety?

  1. Find a quiet, relaxing place if possible (try to minimize stimulation).
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Let go and accept that the anxiety is here and needs your attention to the best that you can.
  4. Pay attention to your breathing.
  5. As gently as possible, slow down your breathing.
  6. As gently as possible, deepen your breathing.
  7. While maintaining a slow deep breath, become aware of the soles of your feet. Imagine inhaling up through your feet and exhaling down through you feet deep into the earth. This is known as grounding.
  8. If possible squat while breathing “through the feet”. By working the hamstrings, it brings more of your attention into the lower body. This increases the grounding.

Because the breath is usually controlled by the autonomic nervous system, but can be taken over and directed by the conscious mind, it is the most direct way to influence your emotions.

From the perspective of chi/prana (whether or not it is literally true, it is a useful model), grounding takes the energy out of the head where it creates anxiety and brings it down to the lower body. When you place your awareness in your feet, the “energy’ (prana/chi) follows.

This is not a cure for anxiety. It lessens the severity of the anxiety.

©2017 Stephen L. Martin

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