Creating the right conditions for your Anxiety
Anxiety definition – a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
“he felt a surge of anxiety”
worry, concern, apprehension, apprehensiveness, consternation, uneasiness, unease, fearfulness, fear, disquiet, disquietude, perturbation, fretfulness, agitation, angst, nervousness, nerves, edginess, tension, tenseness, stress, misgiving, trepidation, foreboding, suspense; (Google dictionary June 2015)
Anxiety and stress can be normal responses to situations, however anxiety is a problem when the stressor is no longer present but the anxiety continues. For the person suffering the anxiety it can be difficult to control and extremely debilitating on a daily basis.
Here is a list of preparation ideas for when anxiety has become part of your life. Preparation is king with anxiety and by creating the right conditions for yourself you can flourish and grow. By inviting these suggestions into your life you will be better able to deal with anxiety when it arises.
1: Where possible make life easier for yourself during anxious times, organise your sleep for around 8 hours a night. Make sure pre sleep is a period of switch off, so that’s no phones, no TV. Spend 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed winding down with a meditation or gratitude journalling, an Epsom salts bath and candles, yoga or a quiet read. Whatever suits you for relaxing and calming the body and mind.
2: Eat calming nutritious food that is anti-inflammatory and not irritating to the body. That may mean swapping your afternoon coffee, sugary snacks and gluten for healthy whole food or plant-based options such as green tea, nut and berry snacks and fresh soups or salads. Naturopaths are a fountain of knowledge on food for moods and can certainly support your mental health through food. In fact your food may be a cause/trigger for your anxiety. Consult a Naturopath about your food choices for anxiety. By also using what is in season locally you can feed yourself with what Mother Nature intended to carry you through the season healthily.
3: Focus your mind to think about positive things. Your thoughts create your reality through internal pictures, physiology and behaviour, what you think- you feel. What do you want to feel? Think about that. If you have trouble thinking positively, buy yourself a journal and write down what you are grateful for every day. Write down 5 things you are grateful for either on awakening or on retiring to bed. Affirmations are also great for training the mind to think positively. Make up an affirmation that suits you and say it in your head or as part of a morning ritual ‘ I am safe, I feel my feet on the earth and know the universe loves me’. Use the senses to invite in positive experiences, music, smells, tastes, favourite colours, things that invoke calm feelings in you, your favourite things.
4: Meditation is an awesome way at clearing the mind of stresses and allowing you to be present and grounded in your body. Being aware through your 5 senses helps you stay mindful and grounded. The meditations I would recommend for anxiety are mindfulness and Zen meditations. Stay away from contemplative meditations that can allow you to get lost in your thoughts and further detach you from your body. Zen and mindfulness will keep you grounded. Anxiety lives in the mind and the chitter chatter of your thoughts, you need to be spending time back in your body connecting through your senses and silence the mind.
5: Toot toot! Get on the NO train. If you are overworked and under supported it’s time to start turning things down and putting yourself first. By this I mean enforcing healthy boundaries in your relationships, time and health. Say no to what doesn’t make you feel is for your highest good and say yes to what lights you up and makes you feel joy and love, including accepting support from others if offered. You may need to make some tough decisions here but it will be worth it. See yourself as a loving security guard to your happiness, if it doesn’t feel good it’s a NO! (Unless you’re one of those people who needs to say yes more, and then you need to get off this train and get on the YES train Toot Toot!)
6: Spend some time reflecting or journalling on what feels good in your life, and what feels bad in your life. Your body is incongruent with your thoughts, there is a misalignment somewhere and you may be totally aware of what that is or you may not. This list is not really about tackling what is out of alignment it’s about clearing things out and cleaning things up to allow you to have the space around you to face or explore that which is causing you anxiety in your life. Your body is telling you something clearly so the time may have come for you to face that cause or by making way for change. When the time is right you will have a clean beautiful space around you to invite it in and welcome the new. Maybe this change will be all you need to hear your body and drop the anxiety!
7: Exercise has been proven to reduce anxiety, do as much as you can manage. If you are not a fan of exercise find something you enjoy and do it as often as you can. 30 minutes a day would be ideal.
8: Head out into nature, through the forests or to the ocean. Green space has been proven to lessen brain fatigue and help stress recovery. Or bring green plants into your home environment. Even sitting and looking at greenery from your window can have the same stress reducing effect. Hug a tree to allow it to absorb your negative energies and to offer its wonderful healing vibration in exchange, it almost sounds like a bin for your emotional rubbish! So what are you waiting for? Go hug a tree. The older the better! Mother Nature is the best healer.
9: Keep lavender near the bed or a drop of lavender oil on a tissue to help calm the body and mind. Please be careful not to use lavender oil if pregnant unless you have checked with your doctor.
10: Keep crystals that calm you. Visit your local crystal shop and ask about the best stones for anxiety. Lepidolite, amethyst, lithium in quartz are some crystals recommended for anxiety. You can keep them in your pocket or bra or sleep with them next to your bed or under your pillow. Crystals can be cleansed held over the heat of a flame or charged in sunlight or moonlight.
11: Lastly I recommend booking yourself in with a counsellor or psychologist if you feel ready to do so. Counsellors come along with you on your journey through the dark, to shed light on those places you have been unable to face or are unknown to you. We are not here to judge. Find a local counsellor you feel comfortable with and get booked in for a session. Visiting your GP is also a great way to get support with anxiety.
I really hope this helps if you suffer with anxiety. One in three people suffer with anxiety at any one time so you are not alone. Everyone has different reasons and triggers and as I have said, by creating favourable conditions for calm and joy and happiness to enter, you have a better chance at finding the answers to your anxiety when it arises. You may find other useful articles in our blog.