One route through test (or other) anxiety: accepting it. Worry is just part of the package.
For acceptance assistance, check out the guided meditations and other ACT-based mindfulness materials at Live Mindfully. Just tried a twelve-minute anxiety meditation from this collection and liked it.
Here's one of many, many YouTube mindfulness offerings:
Or go unguided. Cultivate acceptance and calm simply by breathing. If you'd like some structure for that, try one of these approaches:
Box Breathing: This technique involves visualizing the shape of a box while regulating your breathing. Start by inhaling slowly through your nose for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of four. Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of four. Finally, hold your breath again for a count of four. Repeat this cycle several times, focusing on the pattern and rhythm of your breath.
4-7-8 Breathing: Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale forcefully through your mouth to a count of eight. Repeat this cycle a few times, gradually increasing the number of repetitions as you feel comfortable.
Alternate Nostril Breathing: This technique is derived from yogic practices. Sit in a comfortable position and use your right thumb to close your right nostril. Inhale deeply through your left nostril. At the top of your inhale, close your left nostril with your right ring finger, releasing your thumb from your right nostril. Exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril, close it with your thumb, and exhale through your left nostril. Repeat this cycle, alternating nostrils with each breath.
Enjoy...or don't. Either way's fine.
August 18, 2009