Posted in Hello, Anxiety.

Hello, Anxiety: “NPA — Neal’s Protocol for Anxiety — Part One”

This blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to say (with cautious sincerity) “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the condition from my “me-andering” views.

So, I remind you that a while back my therapist gave me a homework assignment to come up with some strategies for dealing with my anxiety when it shows up, an Anxiety Protocol, so to speak.

“Don’t make it too long with too many items or strategies. Or too complicated,” Rubi advised. (I’m good at droning on and on. And I excel at long lists and complications. I’m actually kinda proud of all that.) He also told me to make sure I begin each of my strategies with “intentionality.” That I need to be deliberately attentive and to intend that each strategy or effort be effective.

Okay, no problem, I can be short, uncomplicated and deliberate, if you insist, I thought, a little peevishly on the drive back from Statesboro.

I divided my protocol into three parts. The first deals with strategies which can help with both the physical and mental aspects of my anxiety. The second with mental, and the third with physical. Of course those divisions are academic only. The mental and physical ebb and flow into and through each other. But it makes for a neat three-part outline, which I will share as a printable handout when I finish posting all three parts.

Today’s blog post briefly examines NPA Part One.


(How I can attend to the experience of anxiety in my mind and my body.)

Meditation — Any of my saved meditations from “10% Happier,” “Buddify,” “Apple Fitness+” or meditation on my own without guidance.

I LOVE the practice of meditation. But I’m TERRIBLE at it. My mind keeps wandering far, far off: “Will Season Four of ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ FINALLY address Susie’s sexuality?! Stop it, back to your breath, Neal.”

Seriously, apps actually help me tremendously with navigating the confusing world of meditation. “10% Happier” with Dan Harris is my favorite. It’s a bit pricey at $100 a year, but it’s worth it. The app offers courses on meditation, as well as single, short meditations on just about any subject you can imagine. Also podcasts and lectures. It has been a lifesaver for me.

• Slow Side-to-Side Head Movement — Noticing colors, shapes, pictures, loved items, etc. as you move your head left to right.

This short practice is so easy and simple, but incredibly effective for me. As you begin to rotate your head slowly from side to side, try to notice any items that bring joy or peace or color, etc— inhale as you move your head to one side, then exhale as you turn your head back. Simple, distracting and calming. I love it.

• Inhaling and Exhaling

— “Breathing in, I calm the mind. Breathing out, I calm the mind. Breathing in, I calm the body. Breathing out, I calm the body.”

— In through the nose. Out through pursed lips (like through a straw).

— In, cool. Out, warm.

— In, yes, Out, yes

Joyful, slow, deep breathing. Calming for my mind and body.

• Hot soothing teas

I continue to be amazed at how a simple hot cup of tea can also bring about soothing calm to my mind and my body. Slowly holding the warm cup and savoring the aroma and taste and ethos help to bring about needed peace.

My three favorites: Green Tea Matcha (with toasted rice), Peppermint and Echinacea.

Here’s my Tea Carousel.


Your thoughts, ideas, suggestions? (Was I short and deliberate enough?)

NPA Part Two coming soon.

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