5 steps exercise for anxiety

by | Nov 1, 2021 | Health Coaching, Mental Health

Have you ever experienced a time when you heard a suspicious noise and felt your entire body start to react? You know when your breathing got shallow, you began to sweat, your heartbeat fastened, and your body started to produce adrenaline?

Long story short, it turned out that the suspicious noise was actually nothing at all, but it took you a while to be able to calm your mind and body and return to a place of calm and feeling safe again.

If that sounds familiar, it could well be that you have anxiety.


Because when we suspect danger, your survival brain sends an immediate stress stimulation message to your body, known as fight, flight or freeze mode. Which means that specific hormones are released, causing certain physical feelings related to your breathing, heart, and digestion.

But, in order to be able to understand what’s causing your anxiety, you need to look into your body, not your thoughts. Because, quite simply, there’s always a reason behind you’re feelings of not being safe.

But first, let’s take a closer look at what could be causing your anxeity.


What are the different types of anxiety?

There can be a wide range of factors that can cause anxiety. Your anxiety could stem from present day circumstances, past experiences, or social situations.

Present Day Anxiety

The feeling of not being safe, as a result of your present-day environment, is one type of anxiety you might be experiencing. This anxiety is formed when you’re not actually in a safe environment. It could be that you’re suffering from physical, emotional, or psychological abuse. Maybe it’s that you lack financial or relationship security. Anxiety can develop due to the triggers that you’re experiencing in the present moment.

Past Experience Anxiety

Anxiety can be triggered through feeling unsafe because of past experiences, which you’ve never dealt with and therefore haven’t truly recovered and healed from. This may come in the form of trauma you suffered in your childhood, or major emotional shock following stressful and traumatic events you’ve experienced at some time throughout your life, or the death or loss of a loved one.

Social anxiety can be a symptom which can be linked to past experience anxiety, where you may feel intense fear of being embarrassed, criticised, or humiliated, even in everyday situations. Some examples might be eating in public, making small talk, or even just having to leave your house. It’s the feeling of “I’m better at home because something might happen to me if I go out”. But that ultimately means you cancel social engagements at the last minute, and end up letting people down.


So, how does anxiety form?

As I said earlier, there’s always an underlying reason for feelings of being unsafe and anxiety forming, and it may not be just one reason why, but a number of reasons.

While many believe anxiety is caused by worrying too much about the future, anxiety is actually worrying about the past. If you’ve suffered from significant emotional trauma and stress during your life you’ll likely feel worthless and been dealing with a whole lot of anxiety related to feelings of being unsafe.

And because they’re just too difficult to deal with, I bet that past wounds often get dismissed when brought up, even though they often have the longest-lasting effect on anxiety.

But it’s these learned patterns from past experiences stay with us and shape who we are today.

And it’s important to remember that worry isn’t the cause of anxiety. Rather, it’s just a symptom, but over-worrying can feed the anxiety monster and make the problem so much worse.

There are times when it’s justified to feel anxious because you have good reason to not feel safe. A great example of this relates to present day anxiety, where you may be suffering from a form of abuse, or a lack of financial or relationship security. Because you’re not in a safe environment, the anxiety forming is your internal warning system working hard to protect you.

But there are times when we don’t realise in the moment that we’re overreacting. Even though the situation you’re in at the time may feel as though you’re in immediate danger, there’s actually nothing that you need worry about. What happens in this situation is that your feelings of being unsafe and anxiety levels are turned up higher than they should be, and it takes a long time for you to be able to turn down the volume.

These overreactions can be formed because you’ve been exposed to anxiety as “normal” behaviour, and now you instantly adopt it as your initial response. One example is if you were raised in an environment where your parents were constantly worried and stressed about different situations. Which means that that’s become a learned behaviour for you, and is now always your go-to emotional response.

So, how do you turn that feeling down and let your body know that you are actually safe?


Strategies that can help in the moment to relieve anxiety.

When you catch yourself falling into the arms of the anxiety monster, try to refocus yourself and bring yourself back into the present using this easy five-step exercise.

5: List FIVE things you see around you. It might be a leaf, a speck of dust, anything you see within your surroundings.

4: List FOUR things you can touch around you. It could be your skin, the ground, or the clothes on your body.

3:  List THREE things you hear. What external sounds can you hear? The wind blowing, your belly rumbling or the cars driving by.

2: List TWO things you can smell. You might be able to smell your own perfume or your bedsheets. If you struggle to find a scent, try exploring outside or in a different room.

1: List ONE thing you can taste. Maybe it’s the coffee you had earlier, the gum you chewed afterwards, or the snack you had for lunch.

Although these strategies are incredibly helpful in the moment, it’s important to realise that they’re only a temporary solution and won’t actually address the root cause of your anxiety.


Move on from anxiety and start enjoying life again.

Being able to identify the reason behind your anxiety and deal with the root cause of the issue means you’ll be able to move on and start enjoying life again.

The good news is that professional support and help is available to help you start enjoying life the way you deserve. And remember, it’s okay to seek help if you need support to move on. Because sometimes, no matter how hard you try or how much you want to break free from the anxiety monster, you might feel as if you’ll never be able to. 

So don’t just cope with life … live it! You only get one go, so isn’t it time to deal with the cause of your anxiety once and for all? Take the first step in transforming your life by having a confidential chat with me at carol@moveoncounselling.com.au, or give me a call on 0429 922 765, because I’d love to help you live your best life.


Are you interested in finding out how Hypnotherapy can help you?

I am a registered nurse with over 20 years of experience supporting people with long term health conditions. I am also a Clinical Hypnotherapist and TRTP practitioner (The Richards Trauma Process™).

I am experienced in helping people overcome anxiety, depression, addictions (including alcohol, nicotine, food), agoraphobia and other health related issues such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and chronic pain. 

The clinic address is Shop 13, 168 Main Rd, Blackwood, Adelaide, South Australia. I also offer online appointments with clients anywhere in the world.

I offer a free 45 minute clarity call to discuss your situation and see if we are a good match to work together. Simply click the button and submit an enquiry.