If you think that you will never overcome your anxiety problems, two simple practical exercises can help you reencounter calm, serenity and tranquility, according to Pedro Moreno, MD, in Psychology.
Have you been worrying too much for months or years? Do you also have an intense concern for your health, or are you afraid of going crazy or losing control and doing things you don’t want to do?
“They are signs that he suffers anxiety, an emotion that arises from anticipating a possible threat, and in which our ability to think and imagine the future generates a series of mental traps that make us feel anxious,” according to Pedro Moreno, PhD in Psychology. (Murcia, Spain, 1968).
For Moreno (www.clinicamoreno.com), who is the author of eight books on anxiety and its remedies, the last one entitled ‘Chronic Anxiety. A guide for patients (and impatient) ’, we find again the calm mind, the serenity and the tranquility,“ as we deactivate those mental traps ”.
“To free ourselves from anxiety, we have to learn to observe our mind without being carried away by our thoughts and emotions, increase awareness of what we think when we feel unwell, and reduce the need to control what happens in our mind when we are bad” he points out.
To start the path towards serenity and mental calmness, Dr. Moreno proposes two practical exercises, which he uses with his patients, both in individual sessions and in group therapies, and that stem from many years of experience.
The emotional diary
This exercise invites us to observe our minds to be able to recognize, live and direct, how anxiety is manufactured.
To learn to recognize the causes and conditions associated with anxious emotion, this psychologist recommends answering these questions when you feel unwell:
Where was I, with whom, what was I doing and what was happening just before I felt bad?
• Thoughts. What thoughts or mental images have come to my mind after what happened? What was worrying me at the time? Did you think something could go wrong? Was I judging myself or others? Did you remember a mistake from the past? What worries me now? What do I think of all that happening in my mind? I think it can be dangerous?
• Emotions. Did I feel anxious, scared, nervous, sad, angry, guilty? At that time, was any of the sensations in my body frightening (the pressure in my chest or head, the beating of his heart)?
“Write down what emotions you had and what bodily sensations accompanied them,” recommends Moreno.
“And if those feelings scared you, what did you think when you became aware of them? Were you worried? Did you imagine something that made you feel even worse? “
Moreno recommends making the notes as soon as possible and trying to write, even if one is wrong, since “the fact of introducing this voluntary activity causes the mind to have to start other areas of the brain and, as a secondary effect, the emotions painful they can be attenuated ”.
“It may also happen that becoming aware of threatening thoughts enhances our discomfort,” but in any case, “if we want to feel better, we first have to know well what really causes us to suffer,” he says.
Conscious muscle relaxation
In addition to becoming aware of our thoughts and emotions, it is also important that we become aware of our bodily sensations, according to this psychologist.
To alleviate states of emotional tension, he proposes a simple technique, consisting of paying attention to the body, to the difference between the state of tension and that of muscle relaxation, and whether it is possible to begin to release that tension.
Moreno suggests practicing this technique in a quiet place, lying on a bed or mat, with comfortable clothes and the phone disconnected:
• Bring attention to the body.
This exercise consists of tightening and relaxing different muscle groups, being aware of each area that we are tightening, of the sensations that occur when tightening and of how they change when we release the tension.
“If you realize that you are thinking about something else, stop for a moment and reconnect with the muscle group sensations we are working on,” he suggests.
Moreno advises to carry out the procedure of tightening and feeling the sensations produced by this tension (for 5 seconds) and then releasing that tension and observing the relaxing sensations that occur when loosening (from 15 to 20 seconds), twice in a row, in each one of the following muscle groups:
– Right fist and arm (squeezing and releasing it).
– Left fist and arm (similarly).
– Right leg (like pushing something with the toe).
– Left leg (similarly).
– Back (arching slightly to feel the tension).
– Belly (like pushing the button of the pants or skirt with it).
– Shoulders forward (lifting them off the mattress).
– Shoulders back (pushing against the mattress).
– Neck (pushing the head against the mattress).
– Face (pressing eyes, jaw and tongue against the palate).
– Forehead (raising eyebrows).
Next, we must bring attention to the abdominal area, noticing how the air enters and then leaves our body by inhaling and exhaling, without forcing breathing, for about five minutes.
“Then open your attention and feel your body as a whole. Notice how the force of gravity pulls you against the bed, feeling its weight and its heat. Finally, stay present for a minute or two, realizing this moment of relaxation, without focusing on any feeling or thought, “concludes Moreno.
(June 26, 2020, EFE / REPORTAJES / PracticaEspañol)
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