Dr Barry is a fan of mindfulness, which can help reshape our brain pathways, and he recommends the three-minute breathing space, a mindfulness technique that can stem anxious feelings.
He describes how to do it in this extract from the book: “One wonderful mindfulness exercise of great value in anxiety is the three-minute breathing space. It can be done at any time of the day, particularly when we are under a lot of stress. It involves finding a quiet space to waste three minutes of our valuable time. Here’s how it works. Finding a comfortable posture, close your eyes and engage with the following:
Focus your mind on inner experiences, such as your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. Do not try to change or challenge them. Just become aware of them.
Focus on the simple physical sensation of breathing and particularly on your abdomen rising and falling with each breath again. Do not try to control it. This helps us to centre ourselves. This part is critical for anxiety.
Increase your focus or awareness on your body as a whole, including your posture, facial expression and sensations. Accept it all completely and without judgment.
If performed two or three times a day, the benefits are enormous.”
Extract from Flagging Anxiety and Panic: How to Reshape Your Anxious Mind and Brain by Dr Harry Barry, published by Liberties Press.