The relationship that we have with ourself is the most important relationship in our life. Furthermore, how we feel about ourself impacts the closest people around us. One of the biggest stressors that affects most of us is anxiety. This is particularly true right now due to the troubling events that are happening around the world. Anxiety is a form of stress that generally stems from overthinking. This is especially true if we are focusing on an uncertain future, rehashing traumatic or unpleasant events from the past, or comparing ourselves to others like we often do when we spend lots of time on social media. We all experience anxiety to one extent or another, but that doesn’t mean that we have to live with it all of the time.
There are both healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with anxiety. A popular way is to numb ourselves via alcohol, weed or prescription drugs. These substances are like bandaids, they cover over our symptoms by numbing us, but they don’t solve the root causes of our anxiety. In fact, they can lead to bigger problems that can ultimately throw us into an downward spiral. Furthermore, they deprive us of fully living the total soulful journey. That’s because when we numb our negative feelings, we also risk numbing our sense of joy, happiness and even our sex drive.
Let’s take a look at eleven positive ways that we can manage stress and anxiety so that we can live joyful and productive lives:
Since anxiety typically stems from overthinking, one of the best ways to calm our minds is through breath work. When we draw our attention to our breath and focus on inhaling and exhaling, we pull ourselves out of our minds. In addition, breath work takes us out of the sympathetic nervous system, which is associated with our fight or flight (stress) response and into our parasympathetic nervous system, which is associated with relaxation, rest and repair within our bodies.
The following YouTube video demonstrates three breathing techniques, which may help you to relax:
Meditation is another technique that is proven to calm the mind and reduce anxiety by pulling our awareness out of our heads and into our bodies. When we focus on our breath, our bodies, or a repeated mantra, we can effectively calm our busy minds. Learning how to meditate is a process that may take time and practice before it works for you. Keep at it and don't give up. Click here if you would like to get started with a guided meditation. I also recommend that you read Libby's highly informative blog post called, "The Powerful Benefits of Meditation and How to Get Started."
Yoga is like meditation in motion. By working through a set sequence of poses, one moves their attention from their mind into their body. Yoga integrates the mind, the body and the spirit and helps us to release stress and anxiety. Through this practice and over time we are able to carry this sense of peace off of the yoga mat and into our daily lives. In fact, in recent years the US military has started using yoga to treat veterans who are suffering from P.T.S.D. My co-writer, Libby McAvoy, is a certified yoga instructor and yoga has been a huge blessing in her life. If you have questions about starting a yoga practice, contact Libby via her website at: www.yogafitboutique.com.
Exercise is another constructive way to take us out of our heads and into our bodies. In addition, high intensity exercise, such as long distance running causes our bodies to release endorphins which give us a natural sense of well being. Strengthening our bodies can also make us feel more positive and confident.
Music lifts our spirits and can also relax us. That is why it is popular with some people when they meditate. It helps us to block out the world and center ourselves. There are many musical pieces on YouTube that have been specifically composed to help release anxiety using binaural beats. The following video is a prime example of this.
Spending time in nature is a proven way to reduce stress and distract us from negative thoughts. Exploring a beautiful forest, hiking in the mountains or floating in water can make us feel centered and connected with creation. The beauty of nature can also be exhilarating and inspiring. Once again, moving our bodies while hiking can also make us feel good. On top of that, exposure to sunlight increases our sense of will being by helping our bodies produce vitamin D and by improving our sleep cycles.
Grounding, or earthing, is a way to balance the energy in our bodies by connecting us with the electricity of the earth. The earth’s energy has been demonstrated to have a healing and calming effect upon our bodies. This is one of the reasons why spending time in nature reduces stress. To ground yourself take off your shoes and stand barefoot on the ground, or go swimming in the ocean. Have you noticed how relaxed you feel after spending a day at the beach? Click on the following green link to watch a fascinating documentary film about grounding called, “The Grounded.”
8. HEALTHY FOOD
What we eat has a huge impact on how we feel at any given moment. When we experience anxiety, there is a tendency for us to over do it on comfort foods at the expense of healthier choices that include appropriate portions of organic fruits and vegetables. You don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite comfort foods, just be mindful of the proportions and serving sizes. It’s not uncommon for us to binge eat when we feel stressed out and anxious. By eating nutrient dense foods, we assure that our bodies receive the proper vitamins and minerals that are necessary to energize us, repair our cells and bolster our immune systems.
9. SEEK HELP FROM EXPERTS
For deeper forms of anxiety, it may be prudent to consult with your doctor, or see a therapist. By addressing the factors that make you anxious, you can begin to take the charge out of those stressful triggers and possibly eliminate them all together. A life coach can also be helpful by helping you create strategies in your life for overcoming anxiety.
Some people also find relief through hypnosis. While others swear by NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). We are all unique individuals, so find what works best for you. In addition you may find relief using adaptogens and botanical oils. CBD oil, for example has recently become legal across most of the United States and many people are benefiting from its ability put them into a state of relaxation.
MARTIN ROSSMAN, M.D. is the author of, “The Worry Solution” and an expert on treating patients who suffer from anxiety. One of the techniques that works for his patients is that of making a list that breaks down the problem areas in their lives that are the sources of their anxiety. Dr. Rossman has them write down three columns to separate their their anxieties into the following categories:
- Things I can do something about.
- Things that I’m not sure that I can do something about.
- Things that I cannot possibly do something about.
By writing down the sources of our anxiety, we bring them into our awareness and can begin to alleviate the stress factors that are under our control. By facing our anxieties we can relieve many of them. For the things that are out of our control, he suggests to his patients that they imagine positive outcomes. Our minds are very powerful and by imagining positive outcomes, we can shift the anxious energy within our bodies into positive feelings.
10. USE THE POWER OF VISUALIZATION
When I coach people before a job interview, I ask them to focus on and visualize how good they will feel when they are offered the job. I also suggest that they imagine their new boss being super happy to welcome them into the company. World class runners also visualize what it will feel like to cross the finish line in first place. This is a powerful technique that I practice almost everyday. By seeing a positive outcome, I have no need to feel anxious.
11. LIMIT YOUR EXPOSURE TO NEGATIVITY
One last thing, turn off the news, unplug from social media and limit your time around negative people. We all deserve to live happy and fulfilling lives and we don’t need others to bring us down. As they say, surround yourself with positive, supportive people who love and value you. Let go of what no longer serves you and most of all have faith that everything is going to workout for you. I feel very blessed to have learned how to lean on faith and positive thinking to carry me through anxious times. Having faith in myself, as well as having faith in God gives me hope, guidance and a beautiful sense of purpose. Faith is super powerful and it can transform your life, as well.
You have the power within you to create a fulfilling life that is free from chronic anxiety and stress. Take care of yourself by using these tips and others that you discover on your own. Your loved ones want you to have a beautiful life, as well. Remember that all things are possible when you believe and take action!
Wishing you peace and love,
P.S. - Libby and I would like to thank and welcome our newest members to Total Soulful Journey. We really appreciate your support for this blog! If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to hit the "Likes" button and we'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment box below. Stop by the blog this coming Saturday to read Libby's thought provoking post about the importance of bringing purpose, meaning and community into your life. We all have a yearning for connection and yet in this era of social media and consumerism, we are feeling more and more alone. You won't want to miss this post. Happy Tuesday and we wish you an inspiring week!
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