If you or anyone you know is suffering from intense anxiety, this short audio from Insight Timer will help. It’s by Jim Malloy, a longterm American meditation teacher (since 1973) with a soothing voice and caring manner.
ANXIETY BREEDS ANXIETY
Experiencing anxiety is not our fault. It’s not a shortcoming. We’re designed to flip into anxiety when feeling under threat.
The scarier the threat, the greater the anxiety. Even being anxious about getting anxiety can bring on more anxiety.
For many of us anxiety is low grade, a background trickle of unease hardwired into the metabolism.
It’s an inherited Stone Age design, intended to protect us when sabre tooth tigers and the like lurked around every corner.
LURKING AROUND THE CORNER
Lurking around the corner these days tend to be threats of a social nature: the demanding boss, the moody spouse, a frown across a dinner table, putdowns and eyerolls; even pieces of paper can bring it on (tax returns, speeding fines).
Not to mention mortgage stress, health scares, bushfires, floods, incompetent governments ...
THE BIG WHAMMY
Or the real big whammy, terminal diagnosis, for our self or a loved one.
Our best friend at such times is the breath ... making the breath long, deep and slow ... and returning focus to the breath when anxiety tries to regain centre stage.
Breathe from low in the body, from the belly or lower back. Breath is helpful because it is a direct route to the nervous system.
When times are really tough, intensify the impact of the breath by using an ages-old yogic technique known as ujjayi. It means making a soft snoring sound in the throat. Find instructions here and more here.
During an intensely stressful time in my twenties, the breath and ujjayi were great helpers. I added a third element too: sound.
Repeating syllables (also known as mantra) focuses the mind even more intently on the breath and the moment. ‘Intently’ in a soft way.