Your Truth. Photographed.®

BLOG

3 Tips To Instantly Reduce Anxiety

I have been a professional photographer for the last 8 years. In that time, I have had the good fortune to photograph hundreds and hundreds of human beings from all walks of life. I've accumulated hundreds of thousands of shutter clicks on a wide range of cameras using just about any type of lighting available. But photography isn't the thing I know the most about or have the most experience with. The subject that dwarfs my photography experience? Anxiety.

I'll have more experience with anxiety than anything else for the span of what years left I have on earth. Why? Two reasons:

1. I've suffered from anxiety for most of my life. 

2. Being in front of the camera is an anxiety producing experience that I've helped hundreds through. 

I don't really suffer from anxiety anymore. But man have I been through the wringer. Anxiety has kicked my ass and left me addicted, strung out and paralyzed by fear. If you suffer from it, you know that I'm talking about. Being plagued by irrational "what if" thoughts, a racing heart and feeling like you're going to suffocate. Feels like death really. Or, at the very least, like you're going to die - in that moment. But you never do. You always live through it and are left feeling a bit silly for thinking those horrible things that never seem to happen. 

I want to share with you 3 things that helped reduce my anxiety and, eventually, rid myself of it.

hree Tips To Instantly Reduce Your Anxiety

. Breathe. Breathe for heaven's sake. We often forget to because the first thing we stop doing when we start feeling is breathing. A big part of being a well trained actor is breathing through your feelings. Especially those great big feelings. Here's the thing, your body always knows how to breathe - if you let it. But if you feel your breathing going off the rails, that's ok too. Here's a breathing technique that helps me: Inhale for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 8. Do this 10 times nd count. t's important to count. I like to tap my thigh when I breathe and make sure I count ten full cycles. If I lose count, I start over. This breathing technique will help slow everything down and calm you. Try it today (and any time you're feeling anxious). 

2. Watch your thoughts. What are your thoughts when you're feeling anxious? Are they... ood thoughts? Or are they horrible "what if?" thoughts that have nothing to do with the present moment? Probably the latter. Stop that. I like to replace my "what if?" thoughts with "so what?!" "So what (fill in the blank)?" It's a great way to disempower those non-helpful thoughts that can cause us anxiety. 

3. Defy your anxiety. Your anxiety usually tells you what NOT to do. Go do that thing and do it fast. DEFY that little f*#ker! Show them that they can show up all they want and they more they do the more you're going to do exactly what they're telling you ot to do. Anxiety will eventually realize you're not going to take it's shit anymore and that stuff that use to have power over you no longer will. 

I hope you found this helpful. These three things have helped me through some very tough times. If I could give you one more tip it would be this: et professional help. or real. Cinquino is great and all but I don't have an "ist" at the end of my title. I'm not a Psychologist or a Therapist. My therapist, Dr. Nelson, is my longest relationship in New York and I'm not ashamed to admit it. She saved my life and I wish everyone had someone as amazing as her to help them through their struggles. But seriously, if you don't have professional help, get it. And if it's not the right fit at first, keep looking. They're out there waiting for you. Just like your life ;-) 

As Ever,

Michael