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Frequency: Daily, as needed. Do any exercise, or a combination of the exercises, whenever you experience anxiety, for up to 3 minutes each.
Along with depression this most ubiquitous of negative emotional states is generated from within–as opposed to fear, which is a response to something happening outside of us. The literal meaning of anxiety is "twisted rope"! Anxiety is always produced in relation to time–that is, in regard to concerns about the future. We cannot actually know the future; it is only potential, not something that actually exists. However, we tend to treat the future as an actual thing, susceptible to being manipulated, controlled, or modified. This unfortunate self–deception, from which most of us suffer, prompts the fretting and discomfort that characterize anxiety. It is unlikely that any of us will elude this trap entirely. At one time or another, we will feel anxious.
Bring your attention immediately to your breathing. Breathing is always altered when we are anxious. Controlled breathing brings control of anxiety. Start to let out long, slow exhalations through your mouth, and take in normal–not exaggerated–inhalations through your nose. Continue to do this until you feel quiet. Do not take in big, deep inhalations, as this will increase your anxiety and may make you feel faint.
The White Silk Cape:
Close your eyes. Breathe out and in three times slowly. See in front of you a white silk cape. Put it on and fly above of whatever it is you are afraid. Know the feeling has disappeared. What do you experience? Breathe out and open your eyes.
Do this exercise whenever you feel fear.
Close your eyes and breathe out three times. See yourself entering a desert carrying a backpack. As you walk, you notice darkness looming ahead of you. You know this means that a sandstorm of anxiety is coming toward you. As it approaches, see yourself removing a folded tent from your backpack. Unfold it and set it up, driving the four pegs into place, raising the tent, then going in through the flap and closing it behind you. Sit peacefully in your tent as you hear the sand blowing around and over the tent. Know that when you hear the sandstorm pass completely, your anxiety has passed. Then open your eyes.
Close your eyes and breathe out three times. See yourself at the seashore. The sky is clear. See and feel your anxiety abiding in you like a stone or rock. Let the water and wind erode this rock, washing and blowing away the particles that remain after the erosion. Know that when all the particles have gone, your anxiety has gone as well. Then open your eyes.
Close your eyes, breathe out three times, and see yourself entering a beautiful meadow. See yourself taking in the blue–golden light, a mixture of bright golden sun and cloudless blue sky, and breathing out the carbon dioxide as gray smoke, which you watch drift away and disappear. Let the blue light circulate through your bloodstream, reaching everywhere in your being, helping you to become calm and quiet. Let the blue light circulate through your fingertips and beyond, to encircle your body in a sapphire blue glow. See the inner and outer blue light linking. Know that your body is a bridge allowing this linking. When you see the blue light link, know that your anxiety has passed. Open your eyes.
Colored Spiral Maze:
Close your eyes, breathe out three times, and see yourself going through a colored spiral maze. When you exit the maze, know that your anxiety has gone, and open your eyes.
Close your eyes, breathe out three times, and see yourself as a mummy wrapped in bandages. Remove the bandages, roll them into a ball, and throw it away. Breathe out once and find a cave. Go deep into it and find your own sarcophagus (mummy tomb). Go into the coffin and lie there, again as a mummy wrapped in bandages. Remove the bandages, knowing that your anxiety has left you. Then leave the coffin, come out of the cave, see the blue sky, and open your eyes.
Close your eyes. Breathe out three times. See and sense your entire being becoming like the surface of calm water reflecting the starry sky. When you have fully sensed this, know that your anxiety has gone, and open your eyes.