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As I started on my harp journey, there was one major obstacle standing in my way. Fear - fear of the unknown, fear of success, fear of being afraid. I had it all. Fear that led to stress, stress that led to anxiety and anxiety that reaches a breaking point and snowballs into panic attacks. Having conquered this obstacle once before, this new adventure was going to challenge each and every coping technique I had learned and push me so beyond any achievement I ever dreamed possible. Tough, absolutely - but worth every second.

So let's break done B.A.M.:

Breathe - When you feel anxiety and stress coming on, whether it be in the form of sweating, dizziness or shakiness, etc. Take a moment to make sure you are breathing. Nice controlled, slow breaths. In through the nose and out through the mouth.

Access & Address - Access your body. Are your shoulders hunched up? Are your calf muscles aching or your toes curled up to hold you steady on your feet? Does your face feel tight? How about your stomach muscles, are you holding them in? Now take a moment to address each set of muscles form

the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. Relax and release. Notice the difference between

tension and relaxation. Be aware of how good relaxation can feel.

Move - When you find yourself beginning to feel fear, anxiety or panic starting to take over get up and move. It doesn't have to be far, just away from that spot. Breathe, Access & Address, then return to the

same spot. Fear has been shed and no longer occupies that spot. You many now continue with a new sense of control and balance.

I have used these techniques many times when I drive. Even just a one minute break in a busy parking lot can

make all the difference in the world. Taking that time to make sure I am Breathing in and out. Keeping the oxygen flowing. Accessing and Addressing the areas of tension throughout my body. Briefly Moving myself away from the drivers seat (position of fear), leaving that fear behind, out in the open to blow away in the wind and then returning to the drivers seat, confident and in control.

B.A.M. - Just one of the techniques I use so fear doesn't occupy that spot any more.

Until next time. Take Care, Karen

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