1. Focus on your breath - "Breath focused attention" lowers activity in the brain's fear and anxiety center. Practiced regularly and you'll have fewer negative emotional experiences overall. For five minutes, focus on the feeling of air passing the outside edge of your nostrils. Don't have to breathe deeply or consciously slow down your breath, just focus on the sensation.
2. Identify the cause - Ask yourself: What is the source of my feelings? Do they stem from something you are dealing with at the moment or a different issue? Focus only on what is right before you.
3. Don't ruminate - Playing the "what if" game is a clear sign you are ruminating. Take a pause, ask yourself what step you can take. Are you worried about a loved one? Plan some quality time with them. Upset about a natural disaster or political issue? Make a donation. You'll feel better because you've taken control of your thoughts and dome something however small to the make the situation better.
4. Put down your phone - social media can produce the same gawker effect as a car accident on the highway. If you can't tear your eyes away from the "carnage" on Twitter or Facebook, then set a time limit for your social media.
5. Visualize your anxiety - Focus intently for a moment on your worry and give it a rating on a scale one-to-10. Picture where the fear is in your body - chest, throat, stomach? Imagine your fear as an object, like a fiery red ball. Then, imagine the color of the ball changing. Make it pink or pale blue. Visualize it changing size. So small, that a breeze carries it away.
6. Say it out loud - When our voice is trapped in our mind, we start to believe it is true. Speaking it out loud helps you realize how you speak to yourself and identify thoughts that may sound ridiculous when verbalized.
7. Tap - This may sound hokey, but try it! Start by labeling your emotion as specifically as you can -- ie "I am worried my partner is irritated with me" then rate it on a one-10 scale. Take two fingers and tap gently on the top of your head while saying your worry slowly, out loud several times. Repeat this by tapping down the side of your body, the inside of your eyebrow, under your eye, your chin, your collarbone and the side of your torso. After you finish, rate the strength of your feeling. Repeat as needed until you get to one.
Compliments of Ambassador Queen Sunny Mathews, Florida. Highlights from "Seven Tips from the Experts to Cut Down Stress" Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, October 24, 2017