How to Calm an Anxious Heart
When my heart races with anxiety, I take responsibility for it. Like a mother, I calm my heart by listening to it. Is it trying to tell me something? Maybe I need to take it, and my whole body, somewhere restful like to a park or a walk in nature. Maybe I need to do something kind for someone else, anonymously, which would give my own heart a dose of kindness. When we put our hand on our heart, we increase the warm, fuzzy feeling toward ourselves like that of the bonding hormone, oxytocin. (For more on oxytocin, go here: https://www.psycom.net/oxytocin.) By touching our own chest and heart, we are bonding with ourselves. It’s like saying, I’m here for you. Combining this gentleness and compassion for ourselves with slower breathing stimulates the vagus nerve with signals that everything is safe, similar to how we felt in our mother’s arms. And like a baby, we can calm ourselves down. I usually make my exhale just a little longer than my inhale when I comfort myself. These longer breaths help me to relax. I give some more ideas in the video.