How to deal with the anxiety that gets build up around the globe? Our current situation with lock-downs, loss of freedom to move and express ourselves, and other uncertainties is stressful – after more than a year now even chronically stressful – and I think it is important to acknowledge that.
What is anxiety? When you feel anxious, you are alarmed and your body goes on autopilot high alert as if some danger is pending. Common symptoms of anxiety are nervousness, restlessness, tension, negative thought loops, emotional distress, fear and even panic.
Anxiety feels like an attack. It typically builds up slowly and hits a zenith that can last up to an hour.
Number one rootcause for anxiety is a traumatic experience or chronic stress. When the memory of the trauma has not been healed and cleared, you can get triggered into anxiety and flashbacks, and the above mentioned symptoms. You basically re-live the traumatic event, whether you remember it consciously or not.
A trauma is every experience that leaves us threatened, insecure and unsafe. And the typical basic trauma responses – flight, fight, freeze and / or fawn – are appropriate and life-saving mechanisms to cope with overwhelm or danger.
These automatic human coping strategies serve in the moment. But we should not have to resort to them over a prolonged period of time as they lead to disregulations in our body systems (e.g. emotional supression, physical tension, hormonal and autoimmune issues), from where all sorts of other suboptimal dynamics, behaviours and dis-eases can spring forth from.
Although we humans are resilient, we are also very sensitive, and vulnerable. This in itself is beautiful. But if anxiety and traumatic memories don’t get consciously processed and healed, they leave imprints in us that negatively effect our lives and relationships.
Two Keys for Healing & Equanimity:
1. Calm Nervous System
Sit and walk in nature, breathe deeply, be with animals / pets, spend daily alone-time is silence without any external distractions, practice pranayama and meditation, yoga or tai chi, go gardening or swimming, eat natural simple food, drink fresh spring water, enjoy daily sunlight, candlelight, walk barefoot, sleep in a properly darkened bedroom without tv / wifi, listen to soothing sounds, find people and places that are nourishing and loving, and that remind you of your true nature (namely your mental, emotional and spiritual strengths).
2. Consistency & Structure
For the day and entire week, establish a structure with anchor points that help you to get a sense of security and belonging. This aspect is especially important for the body. It can be regular timings of your meditation practice or your activities such as cooking / eating, being in nature, researching / studying or socialising. Book yourself also regular professional soulful counselling sessions and body treatments (reflexology, holistic massage, steam bath, sound healing etc.). Feeling safe and calm is the foundation to be able to look within. And begin to clear anxiety attacks, a potential traumatic history and start to assert healthy boundaries.
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