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- You will understand how anxiety works in your body and thoughts
- Practicing the simple, effective tools to calm anxiety will increase the strength and resilience of your nervous system
- You know emergency tools to stop a panic attack
- Consistent use of breathing, relaxation and inquiry practices resolve underlying issues that feed anxiety and a racing mind
- You have a human body. You're set.
We can develop a healthy, strong, resilient mind and body.
Using mindfulness practices, we notice anxiety when it is at a lower level and practice effective, science-backed practices to calm our nervous system, self-regulate emotions and enjoy a happier life.
This is what we cover in the course:
The root causes of anxiety
How anxiety shows up in our body, breath and thoughts
Tools to let your past be in the past
Develop a more accurate perception of threat, coming down from hyper-vigilance and red alert
Two simple ways to stop catastrophic and compulsive thinking
Fear of flying
How to leave panic attacks behind
You may feel the grey half-life of low level anxiety or you might be experiencing extreme anxiety or PTSD. You might be on medication. The understanding and practices in this course will support you and are complementary to other treatments.
This course is for you
You are sick of being stressed out and being hijacked by the past
You want to know how you got here and how you can help yourself
You are willing to try these simple proven techniques and tools
Calm your stress and anxiety. Gain resilience and strength. Watch the preview and sign up for this course.
I know it is possible for you to heal.
- Everyone who experiences anxiety will benefit from the powerful tools and understanding in this course.
- You are sick of being stressed out and hijacked by the past
- You want to know how you got here and how you can help yourself
- You are willing to try these simple proven techniques and tools
Anxiety takes a huge toll on our physical body, our relationships, our lives. We need a healthy, well-functioning nervous system to really enjoy our life.
It helps to understand why we feel anxious and the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) on everything from our physical and mental health to our financial earning capacity.
It is possible to heal. It is worth the effort! You will have increased resilience, better self-regulation and connection with others. Your life will open up.
We are evidence based systems. Our brain develops based on our experience. Our thoughts and beliefs are formed through our experience.
In our life, we will all experience risk, danger, being hurt, unkindness and harm.
We have the capacity to more resilient and stronger so we can weather the storms.
Our primitive brain developed in response to conditions thousands of years ago. Our brains are not built to process the level and intensity of traumatic images from the news and the pace of modern life.
Our ancestors were vigilant and good at recognizing threat or they would not have survived to pass on their genes.
Improve the quality of your life through connection. Children need warm connection to feel safe and to thrive.
When we're neglected or abused, we numb out. We turn to addiction instead of other people.
We struggle. Our breath becomes shallow. Children form beliefs that there is something wrong with us.
Human beings are meant to connect with each other. This is calming for our nervous system.
Our body is not able to handle stresses of modern life. Dr Gabor Maté: The Body Says No
This course covers the root causes of anxiety and gives you practical, effective tools to become stronger and more resilient.
We tend to resist anything that is painful. We escape from the present moment. When we are overwhelmed, we escape through dissociation, daydreaming, denial, binge watching tv, addictions.
Accept you are a human who has had experiences that led you to where you're at right now. Many people are frustrated and aggressive towards themselves.
The solution is to practice welcoming and accepting ourselves. We deeply know ourselves as acceptable as we are. We become kind with ourselves.
Through consistent regular attention, like my daily free online guided resting practice, we get to know ourselves.
If this happened to a friend, would you be as harsh with them? What would your beliefs be about them?
Understand survival level threats and the root causes of your anxiety and fear.
Connect with yourself and with other people.
Everyone is afraid of fear and painful feelings.
Trauma is stored in our body. Many people never visit their body. We don't know how we feel.
In order to heal through our body, we need to feel in our body.
Guided relaxation practices help us to become familiar and comfortable with our body and sensations and feelings.
Overwhelming experiences are stored in our body along with associated memories and thoughts. Scott Kiloby talks about the Velcro Effect - where we're no longer driven by the energy connected with troubling thoughts.
We feel anxiety in our body, like a clenched jaw or tightness in the gut. Learn practices to release this.
Our breath is powerful as a clue to what is happening and as a way to relax and heal. Learn about this in the next segment.
Please check out my course on breathing https://www.udemy.com/breathe-relax/
Paying attention to the breath is like an early warning system to signal something is concerning us
By noticing before anxiety builds up, we can take steps to calm ourselves
Relaxing our body helps us to tune in to what is happening in our body
Our most calming breathing pattern is: smooth with no pauses or jerkiness in our breath; even length of exhalation and inhalation; smooth and continuous with no holding our breath; and through the nostrils. See the video for a 3D animation of diaphragmatic breathing.
We need six seconds of breathing out to activate the relaxation response in our body. We can exhale longer, sing, chant or play a wind instrument. We could speak in longer sentences. Trauma expert Dr Peter Levine recommends exhaling using the syllable Voooo.
We can use box breathing practice as an emergency reset. See the video or the resources below.
Alternate nostril breathing is an odd but powerhouse practice to stabilize and ground yourself
Breathing is a powerful tool to heal your nervous system and calm yourself
I wrote a book called Friends With Your Mind, How To Stop Torturing Yourself With Your Thoughts available on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MURMMJ9
Catastrophic thinking is when helpful planning becomes compulsive and counterproductive.
Our primitive brain doesn't have the skill to negotiate the modern day world, the speed and images that flood our brain. Most of us have an image installed in our brain of the attacks on 911
Our brain developed to react to first hand threat and doesn't know how to handle this type of threat. We don't have a way to protect ourselves and we feel powerless and alarmed. We react as though the images on the news are an immediate danger.
We hold our breath and go into a compulsive, ruminating thought stream. We lose access to our higher level of wisdom and intuition.
Our body has intelligence. We feel uneasy. We have a gut sense.
Overwhelming experiences are stored in our body Velcroed to thoughts - images, words, sounds, aromas, memories.
We bring the habits and compulsions of the mind into our daily life. Ruminating is when we try to re-write an experience so we can feel a sense of agency.
We ruminate on the worst possible outcome and scare ourselves with catastrophic thinking patterns.
We develop habits of entertaining worse-case scenarios that can become stronger unless we interrupt it.
Mindfulness: observe your system, thoughts, what's going on inside
We obsess about the future: my son's death bed, his daughter without her father, none of which happened.
We don't think ahead to best case scenarios. Our primitive brain focuses on the negative, worse-case.
Our natural survival mechanism has us focus on possible danger.
Practice that combine breath, body and thought interrupt this suffering
Thoughts are words or images
We hear words or see them as though they are written out
We see colors and shapes that our brain interprets
Thoughts feel intense or threatening when there is an associated sensation or energy in our body
When we are able to stay present with sensation, we watch the associated thoughts
What does it mean? Is it here to hurt me? To protect or warn me?
We become more able to tolerate and even be interested in feelings and sensations in our body. We become curious.
Try the attached practice "Stay With and Mine Your Feelings"
Scott Kiloby developed the Living Inquiries, a mindfulness practice to help us know that memories aren't happening right now. Memories are made up of images and words Velcroed to sensations in our body.
Tap in your forehead and transfer your attention away from the troubling thoughts and into the sound and sensation of the tapping
Put a frame around the image or words, see the space around the outside the image, and trace the space around the outside edges or open your eyes and look at it like it is on a wall across from you.
Notice the response in your body to these thoughts. What does the energy feel like? Is it hot or cold? Still or pulsing? Location? Notice the space all around the sensation.
Thoughts and sensations come and go. They don't go on forever.
Anxiety, fear and panic attacks are ways we cope with feeling out of control.
We turn to addiction when we've reached our limit. We're so distressed.
We are trying to get away from our experience. It's too much!
Day dreaming. Dissociating. Denial. Escape.
We might be too numb to even know we're feeling anxious.
We project it out onto someone else.
Fight/ flight/ freeze are run by our primitive brain.
We try to set up our life so we're not triggered: control, co-dependence, perfectionism.
Fighting back includes: lashing out, physical, righteous indignation, power over someone.
With PTSD, our nervous system is extremely dysregulated. We can have both anxiety and depression. We might have flashbacks and feel overwhelmed.
Complex PTSD is primarily from childhood trauma.
There is a role for western medicine and sometimes the right medication can give you some space to use these complementary tools to heal on a deep level so you can enjoy life.
We catch anxiety or calm from other people.
Mirror neurons in our brain help to explain this
We develop emotional self-regulation when we are exposed to people who are well-regulated.
We enjoy being around people who are calm, they are present with relaxed breathing.
Stress and anxiety are like a rain barrel - when we're close to the top edge, anything pushes us over.
These powerful practices lower our stress level
It takes time for anxious patterns to develop and it can take time to heal them
When we do regular practice, things shift quickly. Our breath and our nervous system become regulated.
Be patient, kind and keep practicing.
In the Anxiety Inquiry, we look for evidence of a threat.
We feel uneasy, or have a gut sense. There clearly is a threat.
Our primitive brain is hypervigilant - we overreact or become numb and not notice threat
Ideally we're relaxed, alert, and looking accurately at the level of threat
Is there something here that's dangerous? How do I experience that in my system?
We can look at words and images - can a picture that's not attached to energy hurt me? It's the Velcro between thoughts and energy that gives the intensity.
Notice the space around the images and around the energy or sensation
What is the actual threat? Is it a memory? We can release the associations that make it feel threatening.
People with PTSD have a skewed neuroception - we have trouble accurately assessing threat
The Anxiety Inquiry can help release the Velcro and we're able to be present in this moment in time
When we've been hurt by people, we don't turn to other people for emotional support
It is difficult to be in a social setting because we feel threatened
Look to see precisely - what is the threat? It is relates to prior experience.
Rebuild social trust by taking small risks and being around safe people
As we heal, we become less reactive because we feel safer. When we're afraid, we turn away.
Strategies that help: exhale at least six seconds through mindfulness of breath and speaking in longer sentences
Practice breathing on a regular basis: this calms our whole nervous system
Have a strategy. Go with a friend. Look for someone else who seems nervous or alone. Relax your forehead and shoulders.
If connection is difficult for you, it is because of your past experiences. Be kind to yourself.
Don't waste your life on the couch watching other people have fun
We can develop resilience, strength and this helps ease social anxiety.
When we are overwhelmed, we feel threatened. Our system floods with hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to help us.
We're in a fight for our life - this is mostly emotional and relational
It takes 20 to 25 minutes for this to clear from our body and brain
Learn the early warning signals so we can disengage or postpone interactions until we calm down
Tell the person - I need a break for 20 minutes and go for a walk
Avoid the blow-ups that are so hard to repair after trust has been compromised
There are real dangers in our world. It is also true that we can have a nervous system that is overwhelmed.
The stress of years has built up and we can't handle things
Panic attacks is an urgent plea to intervene and bring the level of anxiety down
Children aren't able to withstand high level threats like bullying on their own
Panic attacks are high cost socially: they are hard to hide, we are shamed for them
Panic attacks are terrifying. Something is taking over and we feel we can't control it.
Emergency relief -write these down on paper or your phone and keep it with you to remind yourself
Box breathing Exhale 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds, inhale 4 seconds, hold 4 seconds. Do this several times.
Feel the warm of your own hands, hold your own hands. Notice your feet on the floor.
Look for 5 things that are the color red.
Get up and move around
Stand. Inhale your arms up then relax them back to your side as you exhale
Stand up and shake it out. Let your whole body move.
Throw the panic down out of your body - hands above head with fists clenched - exhale and throw it down, open your hands
Use a syllable like Vooo as you exhale at least six seconds
Connect with someone you trust
After we've experienced a panic attack, we naturally are afraid it will happen again
Prepare ahead by running a slow motion movie in your mind and use your tools as you feel uneasy
Practice these ahead of time so you'll remember to use them
The key is to strengthen your system when you're not in the situation. You'll be resilient and able to handle it.
These practices are complementary to any medication you may be using.
Some people are afraid they will die when they fly.
Medication or white-knuckling it can be the way we make it through.
Images are part of what scares us and we can work effectively to release the intensity - use tapping and tracing
When we tap or trace on the images, our system realizes these are images, not real threats
If you've had a panic attack in the past, you will be afraid of another one in addition to the fear about flying
Do the Anxiety Inquiry on the spot and ahead of time
Prepare a list ahead of time when you're calm to remind you of what to do
Get to the airport in plenty of time
Rest one hand on your stomach and relax as you breathe out
Continuous smooth breathing with extended exhalations of 6 seconds
Relax your forehead and consciously let go of worry
Breathe, relax and distract yourself. Don't follow fearful thoughts.
Distract yourself: a conversation, book, podcast
As soon as you notice you're entertaining fearful thoughts - come back, these are fear thoughts and not reality
It is possible to increase resilience and can tolerate the anxiety more easily
Shaming is a powerful negative experience. Other people's opinions and judgments matter.
Shaming is meant to be used in a context of connection and belonging where we know it is the behavior that is unacceptable
"Shame on you" is devastating, we believe there is something wrong with us
We develop core deficiency beliefs that I am not lovable, not worthy
Human beings experience shaming as a survival level threat
We can survive on our own in modern society yet studies indicate loneliness is the new smoking
The Boomerang and Panorama Inquiry help us see: what does someone reflect back to you about you?
Notice when you are slumping into shame then do the opposite - sit straight, bring your shoulders up and back, eyes up
Teens experience exclusion from their peers as devastating
Bring up an image of someone who has judged you. Hear the words. What does this mean about you?
We believe what our experience tells us and it is not true. We have experienced not being connected.
Mindfulness allows us to see what triggers us from the past
Tools of the Living Inquiries like tapping and tracing are effective to release old beliefs so we can meet each other anew
We begin to assess more accurately and make better decisions. We have more ease in our lives.
We are alarmed by what is happening in the world today
Human rights, injustices, fires, floods, natural disasters, ACES, the high amount of trauma, residential schools, border separations.
Our primitive brain is alarmed by video images of violence and trauma. Our brains become overwhelmed.
Be careful about your exposure to news without blocking out what is happening. Be realistic.
Dr Rick Hanson: the brain is teflon for positive and velcro for negative.
Watch for good news. Stories about people who are working for a better world, like the 16 year old who developed Ocean Cleanup
Humans want to get engaged. We care. Work on a community level. Volunteer to make change AND challenge the feeling of being powerless.
Protect yourself from overwhelming negative news. Don't let yourself be trapped in front of your screen.
Get engaged in something you care about.
There is a power in knowing the truth #metoo #blacklivesmatter
Share your own experience and witness the real experience of others
Engage collectively with other people who care
We live in a difficult time and need to bring all of our skill and whole-heartedness
My course When Crisis Hits https://www.udemy.com/when-crisis-hits/
It is helpful to know how these work: emotional self-regulation, co-regulation and emotional maturity.
As we heal from trauma, things settle and we become calmer.
A child can't become self-regulated on their own. We co-regulate.
Our modern culture is very stressful. We lack emotional connection within and with others.
My meditation teacher talked about strengthening our mind. We can understand and support ourselves as we heal the weaknesses in our mind.
Some of the habits in our mind, like judging and shaming ourselves, are actually symptoms of unhealed trauma and core deficiency beliefs. We are triggered by other people because it is reflecting these back to us.
"The effect of trauma is a disconnection from ourselves, our sense of value, and from the present moment." Dr Gabor Maté
Understanding this is the key to healing. We need to safely connect with ourselves deeply.
We develop a strong mind through mindfulness and meditation. We know ourselves and become our own friend.
Analyze your daily life to see how you could limit some activities and do more of beneficial ones.
This friendliness within also transforms our relationships with others.
Basics of a healthy mind in everyday life:
Good nutrition, exercise, sleep
Volunteer, give of yourself
Reduce inputs that cause stress and increase inputs that build resilience
When you throw a pebble into a calm lake. It makes waves. The waves aren't the lake.
There are reasons for the waves in our mind and why we are hypervigilant.
Part of the mind is not affected by the waves of thought.
The mind is a field of energy: we can blow the circuit with too much stress.
We can increase the strength and resilience in our mind
Strength is flexible. We're able to go with the flow.
Build your strength then you can apply it to anything in life.
Symptoms of a weak mind: inability to concentrate, running away from unpleasant situations, not believing in ourselves etc
Focus on your strengths and the weaknesses will take care of themselves.
"Safety is an absence of threat PLUS a feeling of connection." Dr Gabor Maté
We need fulfilling relationships to have fulfilling lives.
We make bids for attention. Watch the Still Face Experiment on YouTube to see this in play.
Parents aren't always able to meet our bids for attention for a variety of reasons.
Emotional neglect is a major source of trauma, of disconnection from ourselves, our sense of value and the present moment
The pace of our lives contributes to this sense of disconnection. We all know this experience.
Children experience disconnection as proof there is something wrong with them
We only need about 30% of attuned connection with a child.
Co-regulating and calming down happens with animals as well as people - dogs, horses, cats.
We need to be around other people who are emotionally self-regulated. Reach out to other safe people.
We can co-regulate through watching movies and series like Heartland where we feel connected to the characters.
Widen your window of tolerance through these practices
As we heal our nervous systems, we're able to go out into the world and connect with people.
Take small risks. Connect. Set boundaries. Be realistic. Hang out with calmer people. Support your nervous system.
For a happy life, we need meaningful, kind, authentic relationships.
Are you holding back because of fear? Use everything in this course to build your resilience and strength.
Acceptance is a deep experience and at times can feel out of reach.
We get to know ourselves - nurturing, kindness, compassion, acceptance, authenticity with ourselves and others.
What is in the way of deep acceptance?
It is normal to feel despair and that life isn't fair. We got a raw deal in life.
Applying the idea of justice and feeling cheated is common. We compare ourselves.
Why are my siblings doing better than I am?
There are many factors that influence trauma. We each had a different experience.
This is a question that's not applicable to life and not helpful. We can experience the feelings of being cheated and having to deal with the effects. It's hard. Asking why me isn't helpful.
It might help to let go of the grip of the past by accepting it did happen and we did respond that way
Kindness Compassion Truth Authenticity
Things that were overwhelming at the time they happened are stored in our body
As we heal and become stronger, we are able to welcome everything to be seen.
Give yourself the time on a regular basis to breathe and relax. Insight Timer and YouTube are good resources.
Reduce inputs for awhile: go into nature, spend time in silence
Work with reducing catastrophic compulsive thoughts. There are effective tools to do heal these patterns.
It is wonderful when we can be present with our full human experience.
We no longer shame, ridicule or denigrate ourselves. We become a friend to ourselves.
We know the stillness and silence in our mind, our Being. We become more alive.
Human beings are a system. We can learn about optimal development, let go of fear, anxiety and really enjoy our lives.
Thank you to Lane Ledoux, Winter Social Media for the wonderful images and slides in this course.