We’re living in a time when the world is unsettled, seemingly out of control; so it’s normal that we might feel that way too. Many people are not feeling safe these days; and feeling more anxious they have never felt before. Personally, I have to limit my exposure to the news; maybe you do too. It becomes too much for our nervous systems, not to mention our hearts, to process.
Though we may link up fear and anxiety, they are not the same. “Fear is often an instinctive reaction to facing a threat in the present moment—think of it as an internal alarm that is there to protect you in a frightening situation. You see a car speeding toward you in your lane; you hear something that sounds like a gunshot; you slam on the brakes when a child suddenly darts into the street. . .
Anxiety, on the other hand usually focuses on situations that have not yet happened. It’s often about vague things you can’t control, like the economy or the future of the planet. Anxiety can also rise up in the midlife years, with hormonal changes and menopause. There can be a constant anxiety about just not feeling comfortable in one’s own skin. There's also a spectrum of anxiety: from the normal anxiety we feel before taking an exam to the debilitating anxiety of panic attacks.
Besides the usual go-to's, like getting into nature, getting enough sleep, addressing your gut health, and exercise, here are 7 ways to help deal with anxious times.
According to Harvard’s Dr. Andrew Weil, this breath, "over time has been shown to be more powerful than anti-anxiety drugs that are commonly prescribed."
Exhale through your mouth to begin.
It’s a great way to fall asleep if you wake up in the middle of the night.
Dr Andrew Huberman of Stanford University is a huge advocate of a breath anyone can use to reduce stress. It’s a double inhale followed by longer exhale, called the Physiological Sigh. As your breathing is driving heart rate, when you slow down on the exhalation, you are immediately calming your nervous system. This can be done anywhere, anytime, and it works.
This short exercise brings you back to the moment and interrupts the cycle of negative thinking and rumination.
Imagine a protective bubble around you where negativity cannot enter. Fill it with protective golden light. If the negativity is super strong add an outer shell of electric blue that dissolves the negativity on contact. Keep filling your bubble with golden light – see that entering your head as a constant stream. You are connected to something greater always. Come back to this image to reenergize and feel protected.
The invitation here is to look at anxiety as a messenger who’s telling you that your body and mind want you to realign your life with your values. When this recalibration happens, anxiety loses its power. So, be aware of what thoughts are crossing your mind. Dr Dan Siegel coined the phrase – “name it to tame it.” Such as: I am feeling anxious, disappointed, sad, afraid, excited. What is the thought crossing my mind? Is it actually and always true? What can I do to help deal with that? Consider replacing the anxious thought with one that helps you move forward, rather than one that digs you in deeper. (EX: Of course, its stressful – I’m in a new situation – I’ve been through worse – I’ll do what is in my control and that's all I can do right now. It will be OK) Speak to yourself like a coach, not like a critic.
There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing you are not the voice of the mind - you are the one who hears it. - Michael Singer
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