4 ways to turn anxious feelings into positive ones

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Being aware of how your body reacts to fear and anxiety can make a big difference in how you handle it. Think about your body’s physical reaction when you are fearful – what happens? What sensations do you notice and what goes through your mind? Does your heart race? Perhaps you blush and sweat, too? Maybe you even feel the need to run to the bathroom before it’s too late. Here are four common physical reactions people have to fear and anxiety and ways to think about them differently so that you can take back control of your thoughts and re-direct your negative feelings into positive ones:

What You'll Need

  • Yourself, practice and awareness

What You'll Do

  • Sweating: The body is preparing to either fight or flee. The sweating helps to cool it down. Re-frame it like this: “Good, my body is ready for this sporting event called life! It will keep me cool under pressure.”
  • Pounding heart: The body releases the hormone epinephrine into the bloodstream when it perceives a threat. This in turn increases the heart rate so that more blood gets to parts of the body that may need it to act in the face of fear. Re-frame it like this: I can feel comfortable knowing that my defense against stress is functioning well, including my ability to get a surge of strength and energy.
  • Shortness of breath: The nerves around the rib cage and torso are on high alert, causing you to feel heaviness on your chest. Re-frame it like this: My body is getting the oxygen it needs. The increased breath is going to fuel my muscles and brain with oxygenated blood so I will think more clearly and react more quickly.
  • Dry throat: Fluids are diverted from nonessential areas of the body such as the mouth. This leads to dryness and difficulty talking. Re-frame it like this: Parts of my body that really need fluids will now get them so that they function effectively under stress. I can always take a sip of water to moisten my throat.
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