Alleviating Fear & Anxiety… Just Breathe
The importance of self-care, in my mind, can’t be overstated. It’s become a priority in my life over these past 18 months, and it will continue to be a focus going forward.
Recently, on Oct. 10, we observed World Mental Health Day. As individuals across the globe focused on mental health, I shared six key actions I believe can help to bring balance into our lives.
- Get a Good Night’s Sleep
- Nourish Your Body
- Exercise Regularly
- Limit Screen Time
- Engage with Others (and the World Around You)
- Explore Nature
I invite you to read more about these steps in this blog post.
One action not listed, but that’s helped me tremendously, is something I’ve talked about previously (and in the video above): Purposeful Breathing.
As part of the #AskKevinGuest social media series, members of my online community have asked questions and I’ve answered a few on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (please feel free to tag me in your questions).
One question centered on my seemingly relaxed nature on stage and asked how I work to alleviate any fear or anxiety that might naturally occur when presenting or performing in front of large groups.
First, I’m glad to hear my anxieties and self-doubts aren’t readily apparent. It’s something I continue to work on. That said, I’ve definitely experienced my share of panic on stage.
In fact, one story I share in my book All the Right Reasons, discusses an especially uneasy moment backstage ahead of a performance at the Grand Ole Opry.
Here I was about to perform on one of music’s most-hallowed stages and a flood of negative self-talk entered my mind. My heart raced, I questioned my abilities, and I couldn’t enjoy the experience.
Fortunately, at that moment, I leaned on a breathing exercise I’d learned. It’s something I now do regularly — before important presentations or performances and any time I catch myself feeling anxious or stressed.
A Breathing Exercise
I take viewers through the exercise in this video, but if you think about a square, you can picture the exercise (closing your eyes also helps):
- Breathe in for four counts
- Hold it in for four counts
- Exhale slowly for another four counts
- And finally, maintain the exhale for four counts before repeating the cycle
I usually do that four times. It’s amazing how it sets my mind right. It allows me to become present and to achieve what I know I’m capable of accomplishing.
If you’ve tried this or similar breathing exercises, I’d love to hear about how they’ve worked for you. Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.
And don’t forget… Just Breathe.
A version of this article originally went to e-newsletter subscribers on Sept. 21, 2021. I invite you to subscribe.
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