Isn’t it true that we often cannot change the circumstances of our lives right away but we can change our experience of it? Maybe you don’t know. If you’ve read my book, I shared how 12 years ago my husband and I were involved in a Ponzie scheme which in other words is a financial swindle. We quickly went from living “atop the hill” so to speak to traveling around in several apartments until we could settle into one place.In the meantime, I built a practice, worked extra jobs on weekends selling vitamins, wrote a book, published articles, had arts shows, interviews, TV shows, podcasts and radio interviews. I had to step it up.I landed the privilege of working with integrative doctors as well. While living my comfortable, cozy life before this event, there was no urgency or energy that moved me to ” show up”. I am not saying I would wish this on anyone but my point is sometimes it takes looking back and seeing where you’ve come or what a situation has compelled you to do to gain a greater perspective about it. Yes, there were times when I would blame, feel shame, anger, unfairness etc. but each day I focused on the “next right thing”. I could not change the situation all at once or band aid myself with a new purchase or renovation. Instead I found my strength, courage, self worth and independence. I utilized the knowledge I gained in natural healing and practiced it every day. I perceived a thread of energy that was weaving the way for us and trusted it as much as possible. If it hadn’t been for a solid meditation practice prior to this, my unfailing faith, prayer, belief in the powers that be, I don’t think I would have made it through AND stayed married.
So here I am. More whole from this experience , stronger and more independent from this experience and sharing what I learned hands on about “anxiety” over these past twelve years with you.
A simple fact is that anxiety is plaguing more women than men,now at about 25% of the population.
You don’t necessarily need to be in a literal “fight or flight” situation like we were but the body “feels” like it’s in fight or flight even from a simple thing like someone being in your space, or your husband cheating with another woman, or the kids having too much electronic time, moving to a new city, having new stepchildren. Do some of these sound familiar? The causes of anxiety are endless. Some can be underlying and need to be checked out. Such as, thyroid or hormone imbalances, blood sugar/ adrenal imbalances, other vitamin deficiencies and so on. And many of the causes are not obvious such as underlying grief, fear, unresolved issues from childhood, lack of purpose, being a perfectionist, not getting enough support, not getting enough sleep, feeling unworthy and guilt.
Anxiety has real consequences . It affects the breath, our ability to digest foods well, sleep disturbances and feeling ungrounded.
These are four simple things you can implement every day to alleviate anxiety:
The first is something I mentioned earlier. Do the next right thing. I learned this from my husband, CEO of telecom companies and large sales forces around the country. For the first time in years, David was able to help me with my website, some marketing and be there to support me after many years I had supported his career. I became the “support-ee” rather than the support-er in many instances.
If we look at the “big” problem we are not present for what’s happening in this moment. We may be worrying about the future or the past while creating fearful thoughts leading to out of body experiences. The key is to catch yourself in “anxiety” mode, pay attention to it, and choose to do something else to shift your thoughts. You are ultimately responsible for your inner state not the circumstances. A difficult concept at first but ultimately empowering. Take a baby step and “do the next right thing”. It could be to simply breathe.
Secondly, attempt to walk outside every day. If you take your dog on “long”walks that counts. Studies have shown that daily walks can boost mental and emotional health, increase Vitamin D levels, improve circulation and circadian rhythms. I find that I get some of the best ideas for writing or painting when I walk. I recommend leaving the phone home so you can stay open to the play of light and color, marveling at the trees,birds,plants, sky and clouds. Besides the endorphins that get stimulated, you begin to breathe again and feel your feet on the earth. Being in nature opens us to new possibilities and thoughts! It can even balance all the chakras or energy centers.Honestly, I don’t miss a day; rain or shine and even snow in Atlanta. This practice can definitely lower stress! More on this topic here
Third, the practice of meditation. ” I can’t still my thoughts” is what I often hear from clients. No you can’t. That’s not anything you are supposed to control. The mind is akin to a monkey, always moving always chatting. There are so many different types of meditation to choose from; guided, yoga nidra, apps such as “calm” and “head space” , empty bowl meditation,TM and on and on. The main thing is to simply sit and ” be”. When thoughts arise simply watch them and sit. You can come back to the breath or the space in the heart. How about two minutes a day to start then five minutes, then ten then fifteen? Small steps are more doable again than the large ones. Just creating time in the morning or evening for “silence” can be so restorative. Isn’t that how nature rejuvenates herself? Perhaps it’s your time to write a gratitude journal or simply think of things you are grateful for. It doesn’t need to be very formal, just something that feels right for you. I often listen to a few chanting prayers first that I have on CD to set the tone for meditation. And of course having a yoga practice prepares the body for meditation. That is actually one of the main purposes of yoga is the “stilling of the modifications of the mind” and to prepare the body for meditation, according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
Read more in the meditation chapter in my book.
The fourth thing is something you know is “dear to my heart” ( I am so southern now-lol ) are essential oils.
These little gifts from nature are powerful essences that can elevate your mood,increase immunity, stabilize hormones, relieve grief, anxiety and depression; the list goes on. I’ve used them both personally and professionally for almost 32 years.
With new viruses on the rise, essential oils which are the protectors of plants also have similar effects on the human body.
You can find my most recommended resources on my website.
Oils such as Ylang Ylang, Lemon, Valor by Young Living,are just a few examples of anti-anxiety oils. You can diffuse in an aromatherapy mist diffuser or mix with a carrier oil such as sesame , sweet almond oil or jojoba. Place a few drops behind the ears, on the chest, wrists or feet to gain the most benefits. If you use Valor by YL place a few drops on the feet for feeling grounded.
Remember that ALL oils have antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic qualities so wearing them daily can boost your immune system. I highly recommend them. Again there is a whole chapter in my book dedicated to essential oils; nature’s gifts. You can’t go wrong with essential oils. Just allow yourself to feel drawn to your favorite scents.
I hope some of these tips help you and please share with your friends and family.
And when all else fails, make something or bake something!