November 29, 2010

Chill Out…Tips on Managing Anxiety.

You may be one of those people who is almost always poised, confident and at ease. Then there are the rest of us. Bearing you are one of the latter, I am able to offer natural prescriptions on how to get you feeling your zen-like self in no time. There are occasions, situations and periods of time when anxiety levels may be higher. Ahem, the holidays.

Yes, anxiety can be soothed through yoga. I found yinyasa flow during my college days and was completely hooked. Upon discovering a regular yoga practice my whole being felt centered and strong. Walking out of a class was pure bliss, and even days after I reaped the benefits. First and foremost yoga is no doubt phenomenal and a real life changer, in many cases life saver.

But there are times when the mind begins to wander; you’re stuck on the train, in traffic, worrying about money, your relationship, your job, your health… Sometimes we need more methods to keep us grounded, and that’s totally realistic. You can pull these out of your pocket anywhere. Practicing alternate nostril breath and forward folds in public may get you some inquisitive looks but hey, your inner peace is at stake.

Perform at your own discretion. The below five minute refreshers are also phenomenal for extreme anxiety or Panic Attacks, in which case you may need to call on one asap.

Alternate Nostril Breath (Nadi Shodhana)—A form of Pranayama. This really works and is very powerful. It slows the heart rate almost immediately and helps restore balance on both sides of the brain. It increases the flow of oxygen and prana, life-force energy.

Forward Folds and Inversions—Bowing over your body helps release your head and heart, gives them a break by letting your heart be above the head, expands lung capacity, relaxes mind, reduces stress.

Essential Oils (Lavender, Yang Lang, Bergamot, Cedarwood, Marjoram, Geranium)—You can put some of this on before you leave the house in the morning, carry with you, and/or dab on before bed to ensure a more restful sleep. Just like perfume, works best on your pressure points, the neck and wrists. I also enjoy a small amount right under my nose so when I breathe in, there is the reassuring aroma.

Closing Your Eyes (Visualization)–There are so many stimuli in our world on a day to day basis. You’re trying to process it all but a break can be most welcome. Use this time to go inside and reflect. If you are able, pinpoint what is bothering you or causing distress. Otherwise, take full breaths and think about anything that brings you great joy ie., go to your “happy place.”

This is by no means an exhaustive list, however if I had to choose a handful of quick, go-to functions, these are almost guaranteed to help, if even a small percent. If all else fails, try red wine.

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