Anxiety. The faster our lives run, the less directly we communicate, the more we overwhelm ourselves with electronic, the more expectations pile upon us, the more we kick our hormones and nervous systems into overdrive. While it is easy to intellectualize and say ” Nothing good comes of worry, ” or the like to someone that is freaking out, once the body response kicks in, it is very hard to reason through panic. It is true though: nothing good comes of worry.
I grew up in a house of panic. It was the general tone of my household. My mother’s go-to emotion was breathless out-of-control anxiety. I absorbed a lot of that, and found “free floating” panic strike me as a teenager when I least expected it- driving, flying, heading into classes. Luckily, I decided against them at an early age,and set out on a mission to undo what I learned. Terror would not be the color of my life. It took a lot of research, a lot of work and a lot of fun (!) to understand anxiety for myself… and move beyond it. Today, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite holistic anti-anxiety habits to share. There are so many more, but these are an easy start!
Some holistic ways to keep anxiety at bay…
Clear Clutter. Clutter is the stuff that will pile up mentally and emotionally until it reaches a breaking point of overwhelm. By getting rid of extra papers, by filing emails, answering your messages, clearing out your mailbox and cleaning your house you will find greater peace. You can only stuff things away for so long before they spill out in the form of panic attacks and overwhelming stress.
Exercise. Regularly. In A Way You Enjoy! Exercise both creates fresh and lively new brain cells and helps to regulate your responses in stress so that you can stay calmer, even under pressure. THIS study in the New York Times details recent findings about how exercise affects our brain cells. Yet another great reason to find an exercise program you love!
Try Some Homeopathy. In a pinch, I run over to the Santa Monica Homeopathic Pharmacy and grab a little stress relief in the form of homeopathy. HERE is more about homeopathy for anxiety.
Get A Pet. Pets have proven very helpful in reducing depression, feelings of isolation and anxiety as well.
Become More Present. In Psychology Today’s article Overcoming Anxiety With Mindfulness Therapy, Peter Strong, Ph.D. writes about the powerful benefits of being more present in life, and includes this exercise you can try at home to start (the whole article is HERE and it is a very helpful read) :
1. Sit down and get comfortable. Close your eyes. Allow yourself to relax and practice basic mindfulness of breathing to steady the mind.
2. Open the field of your awareness until it feels like a large space.
3. Introduce an anxiety emotion into this space and experiment with just sitting with it as you would with a friend: looking and listening very carefully with interest and an open mind.
4. Find the color that best fits the feeling.
5. Experiment with surrounding that color with another color. Try the exact opposite color first and notice the shift in feeling intensity of the anxiety.
6. Develop this imagery and try other modifications in size, position and movement.
7. Continue monitoring the change in intensity on a 1-10 scale. When the anxiety has reduced by at least 50% open your eyes and take a break before returning for another round.
8. Repeat the whole process 5 to 10 times for 3 to 4 days. Notice how your perceptions change each day.
Now, of course it is easier to do this with a skilled mindfulness therapist, but you will probably be quite surprised at how quickly things change once you get down to the detailed sensory level, made possible through focused mindfulness.
And, of course, consult experts and seek medical treatment whenever necessary. It’s also interesting to note that anxiety is not always caused just by “stress”: I have had friends with anxiety who actually suffered from food allergies, thyroid problems, anemia and hormonal imbalances. Comprehensive medical care- East or West or Both- is always best in solving chronic issues such as these, though I find a little help from nature to be supportive if not curative as well!
NOTE DISCLAIMER: PLEASE CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU HAVE ANY HEATH CONCERNS.
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