Yesterday I spent almost an hour on the phone with a beautiful yogini friend of mine. She called to check in on me in these challenging times. Such a thoughtful soul. Our conversation went down many paths as they generally do but this particular day it became food for thought and brought me some clarity to thoughts I have been churning over in my head for a while.
Anxiety is not a problem. It is not an issue that needs to be fixed or removed from our lives. It is a valid emotion. It is a part of our psyche that distinguishes between our fight or flight responses. It is an emotion that alerts us to areas or issues that make us uneasy. Issues that don’t sit well with us on a soul level or maybe issues that upset our core values.
If you have ever suffered anxiety you may find that it has resulted from you caring. That empathetic side that is genuinely concerned for the outcome of a situation. Maybe that situation affects you, those close to you or the world around you. Anxiety is challenging you to listen. To step up and accept that our feelings are valid, yes in some cases these feelings can become gigantic, life threatening worse case scenarios in our mind we create from panic, but the purpose of anxiety is to teach us to observe these emotions, identify with these emotions, accept yes they are arising from a genuine concern, to teach us lessons and to honour what is important to us.
What we need to work out … and can be very difficult when experiencing the panic is how to put these concerns into perspective within our life and understand the trigger. Trigger, I actually hate hearing that word. For any of you that experience panic attacks, that ‘trigger’ word can conjure up a whole new level of emotion of despair and confusion. When we are in this moment, we are not always consciously aware of our ‘trigger’ in most cases, it will not be until we have found our calm in some way that we will see the progression of events that maybe led us to this point. So how can we acknowledge our concern, find peace with it, accept it and honour it as a part of our psyche, embrace it as a message, and allow ourselves to return to a grounded state before the panic becomes debilitating to our lives in some way?
Good question Mel! It is really a case by case situation. It is learning the little sensations within you, the thought patterns that may start to play out, the self sabotage, the careless attitude to our own self care, eating less nourishing foods, allowing us to be consumed by a VERY yang world where the expectation is GO, GO, GO! I want to share with you my top 5 strategies for calming my anxiety.
5 ways to calm anxiety:
1. Get back to nature
Stop what you are doing, most likely you’re doing it half arsed anyway because your mind is off on another tangent somewhere playing out some worst case scenario... Take your shoes off and step outside. Maybe to your lawn, or in your garden or vegie patch. Yes barefoot! Ground your naked feet to the earth, feel the earth supporting you. Take a deep breath in filling your lungs with life and as you exhale feel the connection to mother earth. Notice the sounds of nature, the birds chirping, the crickets, notice the breeze on your face. You might like to sit down or lay on the earth. Feel the connection.
2. Find your breath
Wherever you are right now, take a deep breath in through the nose while counting to 4, hold for a count of 4 and exhale for 8, hold for 4, and inhale for 4, repeat 4 times.
3. Cleanse away the day in water
A bath, shower, pool, creek, under a sprinkler, whatever you have available to you. Use the water as an energy cleansing visualisation. You can visualise that water as a golden healing light, cleansing away the stress, visualise the stress leaving your body as the water washes over you.
4. Move your body
Yoga asana, walk, run if you need to. Get that intense energy moving. Allow yourself to be guided by what feels best. Get on your mat, take a few deep breaths and move. Any movement that comes to you. Click here for a guided grounding Yin yoga class.
5. Hug it out
I appreciate that sometimes picking up the phone can be the last thing you want to do when experiencing anxiety, there are days that you just want to be held, to feel nurtured. We don’t always have at person available to be there for us. It is important to feel like you can do this. That you are not dependant on another person to feel better. Sure, it is nice to feel supported and nurtured it is our human instinct to nurture and be nurtured. But we do have the capacity to support and nurture ourselves too. Heard of self havening? Ever been in a yoga class where you hug yourself while in Sukhasana or maybe Savasana. Give it a try, notice the warmth of wrapping your arms around your chest, gently stroking down both arms form the shoulders to the elbows. Give it a go, and repeat this mantra either out loud or in your mind..
I ACKNOWLEDGE MY ANXIETY AS A TOOL TO PROTECT MYSELF AND MY LOVED ONES, THIS ANXIETY SHALL PASS, I AM STRONG, I AM ENOUGH, I AM LOVE, I AM LIFE. I AM ALIVE.
Disclaimer: Please consult your health care practitioner if your anxiety is affecting your day to day life. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health and should not be disregarded. There is so much support available to us all.
I am in no way playing down the extreme emotions that come with anxiety, I understand and continue to live with debilitation of not being able to find my calm sometimes. I am simply sharing, what can work and the areas I have trailed over the years on my own journey so far and I hope they can help you in some way.