Anxiety… managing and feeling free…

Enhance Life Psychology - Albert Park Psychologist - Nonie - Breathing to manage anxiety.

What does anxiety feel like?

I’ve been listening to Florence + The Machine a lot recently… there’s something about her music that just strikes a chord. In particular, I’ve been enjoying Free from her most recent album, Dance Fever. The song is about anxiety and how it can take over, and that sometimes there’s one thing that helps you escape.


Florence Welch sings about anxiety and what is helpful to her in that moment. Actually, Florence often draws on challenges she’s experienced as inspiration for her music… 

In Free, Florence very vividly describes the experience we have when we feel anxious

“A feeling comes so fast and I cannot control it

I'm on fire, but I'm trying not to show it

As it picks me up, puts me down

A hundred times a day

I'm always running from something

I push it back, but it keeps on coming”

Florence then sings about how music helps pull her out of the rumination that can take over during anxiety. That feeling of freedom that comes when she hears music, the beat and dances.

Anxiety is demanding...

It’s not always as easy as that… Anxiety is not always an easy emotion, or experience, to tame. Anxiety has a tendency to take over our thinking and it is rarely rational or logical… hello feeling terrified walking outage front door, talking to a stranger, walking on stage, lining up to race or compete or even to write a blog! None of these things are inherently dangerous, but they really feel like it sometimes! That heart racing, that breathing feeling just a little too fast and uncomfortable, the tummy feeling like it’s doing somersaults and the sweaty palms… and the thoughts that seem to take over and race through your mind…

Managing anxiety can be tough, sometimes it can feel impossible. There are a number of things that can be done to assist the management of anxiety. They can be quite simple, but they do require some practice.

Breathe to manage anxiety

It can be helpful to learn how to breathe… well to breathe slowly, deeply and deliberately. When you are able to slow down your breathing, to take longer and slower breaths, you might find you are more likely to feel calm. The interesting effect of doing this is that it brings your rational thinking mind back online.

Enhance Life Psychology Albert Park, Nonie Carr Melbourne Psychologist

Movement to manage anxiety

Sometimes though we might need to be more active. Anxiety is often referred to as the flight-fight-freeze response and so we might be feeling more activated and need to do something with this energy. If this is you… like Florence… moving might be the most helpful thing for you to do. Anxiety is adaptive and is there to protect us when we feel threatened. It gets us ready to act in response to the perceived threat. So maybe you need to move to use that excess adrenaline… walk, run, ride or dance… move in a way that works for you… 

For me, I find that cycling or walking can be really helpful when I'm feeling stressed or worried about something. It can help me to slow down and think about what might be helpful to manage the situation that might have prompted the anxiety response.

Enhance Life Psychology Albert Park, Nonie Carr Melbourne Psychologist

“… I hear the music

I feel the beat

And for a moment

When I’m dancing, I am free…”


If you'd like to learn more about managing your anxiety you can check out this article -

If you need support around managing anxiety please seek help... you can contact me here or make an appointment online: 

As a postscript you might like to have a look at the interview Florence Welch did with Lisa Wilkinson on The Project. She spoke about the film clip for her song Free which was filmed in Ukraine.

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