Hello again! I’m happy to be able to share with you as we have entered a new month together. The weather has been a bit tumultuous lately with wild swings from bitter cold to very warm weather and some very heavy rain and wind storms in between. Sometimes these weather patterns lead not only to an increase in joint and muscular discomfort, but also to an increase in anxiety. Have you ever experienced anxiety? Have you ever worried about something the point of not being able to think or concentrate about anything else? Has it effected your sleep? How about your appetite? If you’ve answered “yes”, chances are, you’ve experienced anxiety. Those of you living with chronic anxiety know it all too well. It’s a terrible feeling and one that I would not wish for anyone to experience.
The good news is that having experienced anxiety myself, I am able to share some practical, holistic tips that may help you to alleviate and cope with your anxiety over time.
- Breathe. Most of us at one time or another, and especially when stressed and/or anxious either hold our breath or do not breathe fully. Take a few minutes each morning, afternoon and evening to breathe by fully inflating your lungs. If you are familiar with yoga, pranayama is very helpful. If you’re not familiar, consider taking a class to learn.
- Practice some form of meditation daily. Prayer is included in this for those that have a spiritual practice. Or, it can be as simple as choosing one word that resonates with you and brings you peace. Repeating that word to yourself and focusing on your breath for 3-5 minutes is a good place to begin. All kinds of thoughts will enter your mind. Allow that to happen; just don’t attach any judgment to your thoughts. Over time, this will become easier for you.
- Confide in a trusted friend. You would be surprised how many others have experienced the same or similar feelings you are having. Sharing helps decrease the burden.
- Disconnect and unplug from the Internet and social media at a selected time each evening before you go to bed and stick with that curfew. It really is true that our 24/7 wired society is creating added anxiety.
- If anxiety is keeping you awake, consider utilizing a diffuser with an essential oil, such as lavender or Roman chamomile, in your bedroom. There are many types of diffusers available, but you don’t need anything fancy or expensive unless that is what you like. Check out this link for more information: (http://www.diffuserexpert.com/quick-view-top-10-best-essential-oil-diffusers/).
- Plan for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Your body, mind and spirit need this regular physical activity to maintain equilibrium. Exercise also helps the body release endorphins which are natural opioids.
- Discuss your anxiety with your acupuncturist. Acupuncture is an excellent tool to decrease anxiety over time, as it soothes the nervous system and “teaches” the body how to regulate energy, mood and sleep.
- Eat healthfully! Avoid processed sugar, excess alcohol and overdoing caffeine. Anxiety and excess sugar and caffeine are a rotten combination! Include plenty of lightly cooked, green leafy vegetables, some cooked grains (rice, oats, barley or millet), adequate non-fried protein, and qi-nourishing food such as yams (not the marshmallow, brown-sugared version) and squash.
- Finally, don’t allow anxiety to prevent you from participating in your usual daily activities. If your anxiety is creating this paralysis, seek the help of your primary health care provider who can provide you with additional options to help you be you again.
Until we “chat” again, I wish you health, peace and hope!