Everyone has times when they fall into those sticky feelings of anxiety and despair. It’s part and parcel of being human. Especially a human now, at this point in our evolutionary journey… there’s a lot to be anxious about.
It was Jiddu Krishnamurti who said, over 60 years ago, that:
“It is No Measure of Health to Be Well Adjusted to a Profoundly Sick Society”
This truth can’t be emphasized enough. If you’ve ever felt (or are currently feeling) symptoms of the many kinds of anxiety disorders that are so common now, perhaps it’s not YOU that there’s anything wrong with. Had you ever considered that?
But knowing that it’s the world that’s sick, and what you’re going through is a reflection of her pain doesn’t make the stress go away. It doesn’t stop a panic attack in its midst or relieve the darkness of depression when it hits. And more than this – bearing the heaviness of these very real mental health issues stands firmly in the way of any of us actually being useful when it comes to figuring out how to change society for the better, to cure it of its own ‘sickness’.
So it’s vitally important that we each take responsibility for the anxiety disorders we’re channeling, whether they are emerging as a panic disorder, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks or the dreaded black dog of depression. But this is often a slow process. For some, it could involve medication and/or a therapist. But for many of us, it’s more about adopting a few very simple, everyday tools and techniques that you can do at home, and for free.
1. Write a Letter to Your Anxiety
This is such an effective treatment for soothing that over-anxious mind and gently (or not so gently!) working through your stress to reach a place of calm.
You simply need a pen and paper (this works so much better than typing onto a keyboard), and begin:
Dear Job Frustration…
Dear Romance Woes…
Dear Depleted Bank Account…
Write to whatever situation is causing you pain and anxiety and be sure to explain all of your feelings, your frustrations, and your hang-ups. Not only is this a hugely cathartic exercise (getting all of those negative thoughts out of your head and onto paper will free up a LOT of mental space); but your healing will only come from seeing exactly what IS spiraling around in the storm of your own mind and heart.
I urge you to be candid.
Stream of conscious writing is best. Never edit yourself, or hold back on the page. Write in bullets if you need to. Or just words – One-word statements are super-powerful on the page, and by actually naming the thing that is stealing your spirit you release its power.
You can use other people’s words if you like. Use quotes, song lyrics, or passages from books – whatever makes you say, “This is so me right now!” This is your chance to express yourself somewhere safe, because a lot of those crushing symptoms of anxiety, and the turmoil that your mental health’s become, is actually the result of not getting things out of your system.
Sometimes when I have a really heavy, anxious feeling – a symptom that I just need to break I use marker… because pen just isn’t bold enough! I dig at the page, stabbing words and phrases into it. I scribble, ramble and completely surrender to the energies channeling through me.
Art journaling is another powerful way to of treating anxiety disorders by giving words, texture, and visuals to your inner world. But maybe you don’t like to write or collage? So record yourself. Make voice memos on your phone, or videos on your computer. Interview yourself, or your emotions. Talk it out. Scream. Sing. Yell. Cry. GET IT OUT!
2. Rest. Seriously, Just Rest
SO many anxiety disorders can be radically released by resting.
So take naps!
Naps are those healing moments of surrender. Your body, mind, and spirit can just melt for a few minutes, taking you straight to your inner sanctuary. Yet most people are programmed to keep going whatever the case, resulting in obsessive-compulsive behavior and eventual meltdown. This perpetual fight-or-flight cycle (fueled by higher-than-healthy levels of cortisol) can be calmed and treated with enough simple, beautiful sleep.
Aid your rest with some essential oils (lavender oil is ideal) and do a progressive relaxation meditation before your nap. A few minutes of relaxation, followed by a 15-minute nap could be the most restful sleep you have in a week! Make peace with your bed, accept it’s subtle gestures of welcome, crawl inside your warm cocoon and just be.
When I am especially bogged-down, overwhelmed and crushing from symptoms of creative anxiety I wrap myself in light. Whenever I need a little sip from the pool of the Universe I just close my eyes, follow my breath inward, and then imagine white light around me. But the White Light is more than a cure for stress – it’s a restorative energy that protects and fortifies. I follow this by calling on the blue light of healing, and the pink light of love, which together, are way more healing and fast-acting (for me) than any medication could ever be. I see them all circling around me, glowing, vibrant and spiritually nourishing, and instantly feel more luminous.
3. Let’s Get Physical!
Physical action and movement disrupt the build-up of nervous energy and stress in your system. And it also releases beneficial chemicals and hormones in your brain that make you happy! As well as flushing out the physical body, action and exercise (especially if you can pull yourself out into nature) are also some of the simplest ways to release the clutter from your mind, and spirit. You can just feel the “ish” melting away!
When you’re having an especially trying time with your mental health, punch your pillow. Go for a run in the woods. Or a much more subtle (but powerful) way is to stand still or lie in your bed tensing all your muscles. Clench your fists, curl your toes, tighten your calves… just tense everything up and then let it go. You will tingle with warm surrender.
But my personal favorite is a night of Karaoke! Yes, there is nothing more healing than screaming your heart out on the microphone to a little Hole, or just letting all the sadness become you with some Adele. It’s just you, your feelings, and that shiny black microphone!
4. Anchor that Anxiety
Get Back To Your Breath.
When you’re burning blue with electric emotions… you need to ground them. These overwhelming energies that we all feel are like striking lightening looking for something to take it deep into the earth, so simply acknowledging this can be grounding in itself. Grounding is especially potent when treating panic disorders, so the next time your anxious self begins to rise…
Sit under a tree!
Trees are nature’s grounding rods. They love to help you root yourself deep into the rich belly of Mother Earth. They’re great listeners. They’ll lower your blood pressure. And serve as a highly effective anti-inflammatory for when things get really bad!
But you can ground anywhere… no tree required. Just close your eyes, acknowledge the solid ground beneath you, and find your breath. Follow it deep inside and breathe mindfully. Once you are feeling less anxious, begin looking into your head. Be brave and dive into your feeling centers. I bet you’re going a little stir crazy in there! So stick with it, and just feel in. Feel everything that is overwhelming you, and surging through you.
Try to see this aanxious energy as blue-white fire.
Let it ball up… pooling in your belly.
Then in a flash release it deep into the earth. Repeat to yourself:
“I am Solid. I am here. I am present. I am grounded. I am on purpose”
As you begin releasing, resting, and discharging you will start to feel more present.
5. Micro Movements Lead To Major Events
Create Micro Movements in your life. Just a single little baby step forward is all that’s needed for now and make this something tangible that you can attain without frustration. A string of these baby steps is all it takes to make real long term shifts and get to a place of freedom from anxiety disorders for good!
The easiest first step is to daydream.
Daydream on how it feels to be where you want and have what you desire. Energy follows thought and feeling, and as you daydream you are actually channeling raw, manifestational energy into your personal universe.
Ask yourself how it feels to have this vision come to life.
If you do this a few minutes a day and you’ll actually be moving into a life that feels better, stronger and more in alignment with how you want to feel. When opportunities arise, take them. Stretch yourself a little, make another micro movement and feel that is’ safe to push into your edges, nothing will break, nothing will fall apart.
Be in a place of discovery. Pull at the thread. Expect answers. Be present. Coincidence and synchronicities will pave your path. Just show up!!
And when your head gets all fuzzy again. Start from the beginning.
And don’t forget to REST!