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12 Oct 2020 , by Caroline

Fight, flight or focus?

I’m not going to lie, but things at the moment just seem to be going from bad to worse. And it’s not just me being an Eyore, and having a melancholy outlook, they really are, and it just feels a bit rubbish at the moment.

This isn’t going to be a “poor me” post because I know, I really do, that I am far from being the only person who feels like this at the moment. And I am also very, very aware that so many other people are going through very tough times too. We are definitely not alone, we really are all in this together.

Anxiety is meant to protect

Anxiety is a rubbish thing. I think if we could tell it that, anxiety would be quite shocked to hear it. After all, it is actually there to protect us. To prepare us to defend ourselves from any danger. We have had it since the very beginning of time, and it was there when we were living in the Stone Age to protect us from any oncoming predator. But over time, it’s got a little too protective for some of us, and for me, is going way way too protective and seems to trigger over any change, challenge, fear, concern, potential worry at the moment, to the point everything feels anxiety driven.

The most common response when anxiety is triggered is to either prepare to stand and fight, or run away (flight) from the anxious situation. But at the moment, for me, this is now feeling exhausting.

So I am trying a third option. And it is to focus.

Acknowledge the feeling

Every time I feel my anxiety is triggered (and, at the moment it is a lot!), I stop. I don’t try and fight the feeling but I stop and become aware of the feeling and acknowledge that this is in fact anxiety. And as soon as I have acknowledged it I then focus on where I feel this feeling, and how does it make me feel.

For example, my anxiety is triggered. Ok, here it is anxiety is here I’m acknowledging it. I’m not going to try and fight it but instead just let it sit here and simply be for a while. After all it is a feeling and it will not hurt me. Now, how does it make me feel? Well, my stomach feels like it’s being squeezed. My chest feels tight and my breath feels short and shallow. My head feels spinny and my thoughts feel overwhelmed.

Focusing may seem daft but what it does it actually takes my mind off the angst driven thoughts and helps me, by focussing on my responses to bring me back and to remain present in this moment. By also acknowledging the thoughts as an anxiety response also helps me to see the thoughts for what they are. Thoughts.

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