Interrupting Anxiety, and Finding the point of Peace

In Zen there is an adage that says to do one thing at a time. Finish what you are doing before starting the next thing.  

I learned the true power of this, once, during a particularly stressful time. It was a time of emotional crisis, when I found myself operating from a place of fear and worry, unlike anything I had known before.  I found myself jumping from one worrisome thought to another, before any single thought could be adequately processed by my mind-body system. Each new thought would ramp up the tension in my body, and, instead of taking the time to slow down and feel it, and allow that tension a natural release, I found myself spinning off into the next worrisome thought before the first one was even truly complete. 

This destructive thought pattern had all of my intuitive health alarms going off. Stacking tension, on top of tension, on top of tension, I knew this pattern could cause me serious harm if I allowed it to continue.

Thankfully, interrupting the cycle was actually quite straight forward. It involved slowing down, enough to allow the feelings and physical sensations that were in my body, at that moment, to be recognized and given the space needed to settle.  The technique I used, based in yoga, is also validated by modern understanding of the nervous system, which we know takes time to deactivate, whether it's been ramped up by exercise, or by thought patterns.  It wasn't hard, and who among us can't use another tool for an emotional and spiritual reset during a time of stress? 

Here's how to do it.  
Lay down in a dim, quiet place, with your  legs slightly opened in a narrow V shape, and your arms as well. Bring your shoulders up to your ears, back toward the floor, then lock them down. (This will bring a protective arch into the lower back, to allow one to comfortably extend the legs.)  Feel the support of the floor, and let your body begin to sink into that support. Notice the sensations in your body. Allow them to just be what they are.  Breath deeply, allowing the belly to rise and fall.  Again, feel the support of the floor and earth beneath you, and continue to relax into its receiving support. Stay here for ten minutes, or until you feel rested.