Manage anxiety using three simple Jedi mind tricks
Anxiety can be a teeth-rattling, skin clawing beehive of stress and worry. And the hell of it is that a lot of the time we know it’s irrational. But what can you do when your anxiety is hitting the jump to light speed? I want to give you some pointers to help you manage your stress, using some Jedi mind tricks.
How to manage anxiety
Recognize your own anxiety as it’s happening.
Jedis are masters of self-awareness. They’re in tune with what their emotions, which helps them to master their fear.
Try a “body scan” exercise. Mentally start at your feet and “scan” your body for any signs of tension, discomfort, or stress. Give it a color. Next envision that color start to fade as you loosen your muscles, noticing a sense of expansion. A loosening. Relaxation. Sense the peace of the force flowing through you.
When we’re anxious we take quick shallow breaths, high up in our chest. Because our body and our mind are connected, we sometimes trick ourselves into thinking there is actually some real danger present. I want you to start longer and slower breaths. Try this: breathe in for the count of four, out for the count of four (thinking of a word like peace, calm, or relax), and hold for four. This will help to slow your mind and remind your body that you’re safe. This will calm and focus your mind. A useful tool for anyone, Force-sensitive or not!
Anxiety is like a hamster on a wheel. It’s running really hard, but it’s not going anywhere. Let’s step off the wheel and find some solid footing. Our brain is bad at “not feeling” something. When I tell you to not think of a Darth Vader, you immediately think of his foreboding helmet, long cape, and light up chest display. Instead, let’s give your mind a focus. I want you to become acutely aware of the sensation of the soles of your feet in your shoes. Notice how the weight shifts. Feel the pad of each toe. The arch of your foot. How your skin makes contact with your sock or your shoe. Don’t try to change anything, just notice it. Now imagine that you’re deeply connected to the strength of the Force through the soles of your feet. Imagine that you’re Lue or Rey, supremely in tune with your connectedness to the ground beneath you. Feel that strength rising up into your body, giving you support. And any anxiety you’re noticing from earlier, see that drain down back into the earth, to be recycled. Just as our carbon dioxide is food for trees, we can imagine the earth can recycling our anxiety.
Find some time to practice these techniques today, ideally before you even need them. Give them a test run and be kind to yourself. Anxiety is hard enough as it is. When we take care of ourselves, we’re more present for those around us.
As always, let me know if I can be a support to you in any way. Questions about anything in this article? Shoot me an email. I love chatting mental health!