While anxiety and fear are our body's natural responses to danger, being in a physical state of alarm the majority of the time has harmful repercussions on our mental and physical health. We all deal with it from time to time, some more, some less, to some it comes in waves and phases, and to some, it is a feeling they have grown to live with every day.
As it is still Mental Health Awareness Month – and we believe, this should be an ongoing conversation beyond May – we are shedding light on anxiety, a common state faced by many and that has creeped into our everyday life to now be something ‘normal’.
Anxiety, often misunderstood, is an intricate, and definitely uncomfortable part of the human experience. It manifests differently for each individual soul: anxiety can reveal itself through racing thoughts, excessive worry and fear, restlessness, shallow and fast breathing, insomnia, disordered eating, any form of physical discomfort. Anxiety can disrupt our daily lives and hinder our overall well-being, to the degree that its debilitating and numbing impact tempers with participating in our everyday life.
Anxiety is a human response to stressors, but when it becomes overwhelming and persistent, it warrants attention and care. We feel clearly: something is off. We can ask: what needs to change? By embracing anxiety with compassion, we offer ourselves the groundwork for healing and potential transformation of the status quo. By writing this we also want to acknowledge – this is easier said than done.
Compassion & care
Here's what we did: we got together as a team and encouraged an open conversation about anxiety. You see, anxiety does well in disguising as something else and sometimes, our first instinct is to hide it and pretend that everything is ok. But that is exactly the stigma we want to break - we need to talk about it so that we can all cultivate mutual understanding and compassion for one another.
Below you will find a few steps that came emerged from our conversation, tools that helped us along the way to cope a little better – please note that this is not a concluded list and there are many, many other things one can do to self-care.
Please also note that we are not professional psychologists. Please seek professional care if you are dealing with ongoing mental health symptoms and heavy thoughts. The following tips are tools and methods that brought us through our personal challenges, but are not a promise or guarantee for betterment.
Disclaimer: We are not providing mental health care or therapeutic services at this point, or attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any mental or emotional issue, disease or condition.
1. Prioritise Self-Care: Taking care of yourself is the first step towards managing anxiety. Our bodies are sacred vessels that carry us through the tapestry of life. Nurturing the mind-body connection allows us to cultivate harmony within ourselves. Practice self-compassion, indulge in activities that promote physical well-being, that bring you joy. Ensure you get enough restful sleep. Nourishing your body and mind with wholesome food, exercise, and regular relaxation techniques can have a significant impact on reducing anxiety. Move with intention, embrace the healing power of touch through massages. As you honor your body, you invite peace into your being, bridging the gap between your inner and outer worlds.
2. Embrace Mindfulness: Amid the chaos of daily life, cultivating mindfulness provides a sanctuary of calm amidst the storm. Mindfulness invites us to be fully present, savoring the richness of each moment. By focusing on the present moment without judgment, we can cultivate a sense of calm. Whether it be through meditation, yoga, or simply taking a solitary walk in nature, find the practices that resonate with your soul. As you embrace the present moment, anxiety loses its tight grip and can be managed from groundedness and presence.
3. Harness the Power of Breath: Breath, the eternal thread that connects us to the present moment, serves as an invaluable tool in managing anxiety. Take a moment to find a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe deeply, allowing the rhythm of your breath to guide you towards tranquility. Inhale courage, exhale fear. Allow your breath to ground you, gently reminding you that you are safe, supported, and deeply connected to the divine flow of life. For more pranayama practices visit our blog post in which we offer different techniques.
4. Create Healthy Boundaries: Establishing boundaries in various aspects of life is crucial for managing anxiety. Learn to say no when needed and prioritize your mental well-being. Setting aside time for self-reflection, self-care, and pursuing activities that rejuvenate your spirit can help create a sense of balance and peace.
5. Healing through Self-Expression: Art, music, and writing have the power to transcend language and allow emotions to flow freely. Embrace the transformative nature of self-expression and find solace in the creative endeavors that ignite your spirit. Pour your anxieties onto the canvas, release them through the gentle strumming of strings, or let your words dance across the pages of a journal. As you give voice to your inner world, you will find healing, catharsis, and a deeper connection to your true essence.
6. Connect with Nature: Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature to find solace from anxiety. All answers lie in nature. Spend time outdoors, take a walk in the park, or go for a hike. Connecting with the natural world has a grounding effect and can help to soothe an overactive mind.
7. Seek Support: Remember, you don't have to face anxiety alone. Seeking support from loved ones or professionals is an act of courage, not weakness. Reach out to trusted individuals who hold space for your vulnerabilities, and consider seeking guidance from therapists, coaches, or support groups. Surround yourself with a community that uplifts your spirit and supports your growth, providing a nurturing cocoon in which your soul can flourish. Counseling can offer valuable insights and coping strategies to navigate through anxious periods.
This month, let us remember that we have the power to cultivate serenity within ourselves. By embracing self-care, mindfulness, seeking support, setting boundaries, nurturing creativity, and connecting with nature, we can take significant steps towards managing anxiety and nurturing our mental well-being.
What works for you? Share your ideas below.
May you be well, may you be at peace.
Love, Ananda Soul