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Five Ways to Ease Anxiety

February 5, 2015

Anxiety...tight chest, shallow breathing, irregular heartbeat, headaches, tight neck and shoulders - any of these symptoms sound familiar to you?  I have been all too familiar with these symptoms and more.

I spent most of my adolescence physically ill from the side effects of anxiety, tension headaches, nausea, the list goes on.  By the time I was nineteen years old I made the proclamation to finding a better way of living and so I sought an anxiety free life through holistic measures.  Since then, well over a decade ago, I’ve accumulated a wonderful tool box of techniques to help ease an anxious mind. 

 

Tip: What I have found is that trying to implement more than a couple tools at a time is overwhelming and doesn’t have as powerful an effect as implementing one tool and being consistent with that tool. 

 

As you read through the list implement the tool or tools that jump out at you.  Let your instincts guide you toward the best means for you.

 

With that said, here are five methods I have found to be helpful in easing anxiety and promoting a more peaceful mind. 

 


 

Laughter

 

Think about the last time you had a good laugh, no - a great laugh, go ahead think about it.  You know the kind that makes your sides hurt, and there is a smile glued to your face while you gasp for air!  I love that kind of laugh.

 

Studies have shown that laughter can help relieve stress, support functioning of the immune system, and help shift a grim perception to one that’s lighter hearted.

 

Inspiration for Laughter:

  • Hang with a friend that knows how to make you laugh

  • Watch a funny movie or show

  • Go to a comedy show

  • Go to a laughter yoga class

  • Take a comedy class

  • Google funny jokes

  • Read Comics

  • Play/Interact with children

  • Play with a pet

  • Watch cartoons

 

Check out this Article for more information on Laughter Therapy

 

 

 

 

 

Journaling

 

There isn’t one way or a right way to journal.  Sometimes one word written is enough to ease the mind.  I’ve offered you below a few suggestions how you could journal.  These entries are meant to be made daily, if you choose to do so:

 

  • Write about what is going on in your life right now, let it flow. Where you’re at in your life, how you feel, challenges, blessing, everything let it spill out on the paper.  Write until you can’t write anymore. This is not meant for you to read through right away, if you do want to go back and read your entries wait about 3-4 weeks.  Entries are not intended to be edited. 

 

  • Spend 5-10 minutes just writing anything that comes to mind.  Your writing doesn’t have to make sense – don’t censor, don’t correct. Let whatever comes to mind flow out onto the paper for 5-10 minutes when timer rings, put down the pen!   This is not meant for you to read through right away, if you do want to go back and read your entries wait about 3-4 weeks.  Entries are not intended to be edited. 

 

  • Keep a daily log or entry of what you are grateful for.  You can write one word, a quote, or a full page it doesn’t matter.  If you’re grateful for something write it in your journal.  When you are in need of a pick me up grab your journal and reflect on the blessing and inspiration your life is full of.  

 

 

 

Grounding Meditation

 

Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor.  Sit somewhere you will not be disturbed and you will be comfortable for at least 10 minutes.

 

Take 3 deep cleansing breathes inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.

 

If sitting on the floor imagine your sit bones rooting into the ground.  If sitting in a chair with feet on the ground imagine your feet rooting into the ground. 

 

With your eyes closed picture heavy strong roots shooting from your feet or sit bones into the ground.  Allow the roots to go deep within the earth, when they are securely rooted imagine with every inhale fluid white light flowing up the roots and slowly through your body.  On the exhale imagine the fluid white light slowly recycling back into the earth, and on the inhale, again, breath in the light energy slowly through the body continue this cycle of imagery and breath for 10 minutes. 

 

 

 

Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)

 

  • Sit comfortably somewhere without interruption for at least 10 minutes.

 

  • Back straight, neck and shoulders relaxed

 

  • Setting up hand positioning or Mudra: curl your index and middle finger into the palm, using the thumb to close off the right nostril and the ring and pinky finger to close off the left nostril.  Only one nostril will be closed at a time.

 

If that is challenging, hold the index and middle finger on the brow line and use the thumb to close the right nostril and the pinky and ring finger to close off the left. 

 

  • Gently press the right nostril closed with the thumb, gently exhale out the left nostril.

 

  • Now, breathe in through the left nostril, at end of inhale press left nostril shut with the ring and pinky finger

 

  • Remove thumb from right nostril, Exhale through the right nostril

 

  • Now inhale through right nostril, at the end of the inhale gently press the right nostril with your thumb

 

  • Exhale through the left nostril, now inhale through the left nostril

 

  • Continue this cycle of alternate nostril breathing 10 minutes.

 

Tips:

Breathe in from the same nostril that you exhaled

Keep eyes closed

Take relaxed breaths

Spend a few minutes in silence after doing this breathing exercise

 

 

 

 

Use Essential Oils

 

Essential oils are a beautiful way to sooth the nervous system.  They can, depending on the type and quality, be used topically, inhaled, and ingested.  I am a doTerra Wellness Advocate, I love the doTerra product and do I’ve listed some of their blends below.  There are a number of wonderful, high quality brands of essential oils on the market.  Most health food stores will have a great variety to choose from.   

Essential Oils and Blends that Ease Anxiety:

Single Note:

Cedar Wood

Bergamont

Sandalwood

Citrus Oils

Lavender

Vetiver

Patchouli

Geranium

 

doTERRA Blends:

Serenity

Balance

Breathe

Peaceful Child

Citrus Bliss

 

Ways to Use Essential Oils:

  • Diffuser

 

  • Blend with grapeseed, olive, jajoba, or coconut oil

    • Use as massage oil - Indulge in a self massage before a shower or bath – or Massage feet before bed

    • Use as a bath oil

    • Use as a perfume - Apply to the back of the neck, behind ears and wrist

 

  • Blend with an unscented lotion, use as a moisturizer

 

  • Add oil to a water bottle mist your pillow, bed, or room

 

 

Being consistent with one or more of these practices will help to reduce anxiety and ease the nervous system.  Making time to care for you is the surest way to stay healthy, both physically and mentally.  These suggestions are meant to be tools you can add to your box of “go to” remedies when you or someone you know is in need of some soothing self-care and love. 

 

Tip: Start with one of these suggestions and become consistent with it, then add another if you need to. 

 

 

I hope you found these suggestions helpful, please let me know what you think in the comments below and feel free to leave any suggestions or helpful tips you have for easing anxiousness.   

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