top of page

Anxiety Reigns - Emotional Awareness

There are many illnesses that we suffer from in the 21st Century. But there is one that many of us suffer from without realising . . . busyness. We dash from moment to moment, often filling our down time with ‘phone moments’ whether that is on a game, social media or watching media. Every moment filled. The consequence of this illness is that we fail to pause, to reflect, to listen. Our minds and our bodies are constantly on the go and just like a car engine that runs without pausing, it can then metaphorically overheat. We are so used to not listening to our minds and body and this is one reason anxiety can reign over us.

This month we have looked at 4 areas of reigning in your anxiety.

  • Understanding our mind and body to find a mind, body & solution

  • Grounding – how to be present in the moment to reign in our thinking

  • Analysing the issue – examining what is fact and what is your opinion and looking at the options

This week, we are looking at raising out emotional and body awareness to help us with anxiety.

Name that emotion

In my work as a coach, I have come to realise that many of us have a low emotional literacy level. We know we feel a bit funny or off, but we find it hard to put a name to it. Brene Brown’s brilliant book called ‘Atlas of the Heart’, lists 72 emotions and gives them a definition. The list can be found here One of the first things that we need to do, when we feel anxiety getting at reign on us, is to acknowledge the emotion. Steve Peters, in his books ‘Chimp Paradox’ and ‘Path through the Jungle’, explains that our emotional centre brain, our Amygdala, is like an agitated chimp. In order to ‘Box in our Chimp’, we need to a) acknowledge our emotion, b) examine the worries and c) address each worry to reduce the risk for our chimp. So, naming our emotion is an important first step. Now it doesn’t need to be out loud – we may find that a little embarrassing. But a little internal chat to ourselves along the lines of, “I am feeling worried,” is a good first step.

The Body keeps the score

If we are regularly feeling anxious, it is likely that we have had a difficult experience that we have felt some element of feeling powerless in. Bessel van der Kolk in his brilliant book, ‘The body Keeps the Score’, explains this in more detail. What happened when we come across related situations to moments of powerlessness, upset or trauma, is that our mind spots the similarities and the body triggers those feelings again. It feels like you are back in that moment. So, recognising what our body is feeling is an important step too.

As in previous blogs, the 3 R’s come in handy again to help with this: READ; REALISE; RESPOND.

  • READ – Notice your body feelings and emotions and put a name to them

  • REALISE – What do I want my body feelings and emotions to be? What are the steps to get there?

  • RESPOND – Plan my actions to gain these emotions

So, the next time you are feeling anxiety, just take a little moment, 5 minutes can do it. Ask yourself these questions

  • What do I notice in my body?

  • What emotion am I feeling?

  • What would I like to feel in my body?

  • What emotions would I like to feel?

  • What actions that I could take would help me generate those more helpful feelings?

What do I notice in my body?

What is happening to my heart rate, my breathing rate and depth? What does my skin feel like? What does my head feel like?

What emotion am I feeling?

Sure, you feel anxious. What other emotions are you feeling? Scared? Angry? Frightened? Worried? Maybe take a list at Brene Brown’s list. Maybe ask yourself what you are telling yourself might happen? Ask yourself how likely is it?

What would I like to feel in my body?

If you had the magic wand, what body feelings would you like? For example, I would like a steady heart rate. I would like calm, slow breathing. I would like a clear-thinking head.

What emotions would I like to feel?

If you had the magic wand, what emotions would you like? Try to avoid the ‘not X’ statement eg not worried. The brain still holds onto the word. Replace it with a positive word. For example, I would like to feel calm or confident or have a sense of authority.

What actions that I could take would help me generate those more helpful feelings?

Now you know what you want, consider the thinking and the actions that will help you achieve it. For example, you might take a moment to think. You might take a slow breath. You might choose to remind yourself of your passionate purpose. You might then choose words that tell a story you want to tell.

In an earlier blog, I talked about the ‘Google Yellow Man’ method of imagining scenarios and planning a response. If you think about possible situations, the feelings you want and what actions would provide those feelings, then when you actually face them, you are more likely to put those actions in place.

If you have high levels of anxiety, you are likely to need some support in develop strategies similar to those we have talked about over the last 4 blogs. Everyday Leader Coaching can help you with that or you may choose to seek a counsellor, hypnotherapist or therapist. Anxiety can leave you feeling powerless and reign over you.

The first step, however, is recognising that you can take back the reigns. My hope is that these blogs have helped you realise it is possible.

  • READ – Notice your thinking, your body feelings and emotions and put a name to them

  • REALISE – What is happening to your thinking? How much is fact and how much is your brain making wobbly sense of it? Ask yourself what do I want my body feelings and emotions to be? What are the steps to get there?

  • RESPOND – Plan my actions to gain these emotions. Maybe use some of the techniques we have covered in this series.

If you need help taking the next steps, then do contact us.

Can we help you?

We hope this blog has been helpful and if you would like some more targeted support to explore anxiety emotions and gain better insight, then Everyday Leader is here to help you. Our clients find their coaching empowering, as we help them gain a full perspective and find a way forward. If you have a challenge and you would like our support, then do get in contact with us. Give us a call on 01449 710438 or email if you would like us to help you explore this and empower you.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page