THERE ARE 4 EASY PRACTICES THAT MIGHT HELP CALM AN ANXIOUS MIND
“I promise to let go of all of my concerns and anxieties so that I may live a life that is light and free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Because there is so much noise and overwhelming information in the world today, it is almost difficult to go through life without often experiencing anxiety that may be devastating.
We are a country of people who are continuously stressed out and overwhelmed because our schedules are filled with commitments, appointments, and duties that never seem to stop.
The majority of our lives are spent harriedly, on autopilot, accomplishing one activity after another until we are so worn out that we can hardly get up before collapsing into bed. Our thoughts are disorganized and we are in a constant state of thinking, planning, worrying, and regretting among all of the noise and expectations placed on us.
Because of this, we tend to experience worry, which is a natural reaction when we consider how little time we spend in our bodies, where we are grounded, connected, and quiet.
Since I was a little child, I’ve always had a hard time controlling my anxiety. My sensitive personality, along with my difficult upbringing, surely molded me. Perfectionism, people-pleasing, and a never-ending sense of humiliation were all symptoms of the persistent worry and anxiety. I did not have the sense that I belonged with my family, my friends, or the world in general.
I got to the point where I was treating myself in the same manner that others did. I was both the harshest critic and abuser of myself. I was incapable of navigating these enormous emotions of humiliation and dread on my own, and I felt damaged as a result. My heart became hardened and I became separated from myself as a result of being surrounded by negativity, violence, and confusion.
The experience of being a mother broke me open once again with a ferocity for which I was not prepared. My childhood was marked by a lack of affection and security, and I wanted to provide those things for my own children. However, the strain of caring for three young children at once was too much for me, and my anxiety manifested itself in full force. It took me a long time to reset my mental compass, get back in touch with who I am, and get back on my feet again.
There is a gentle way out of the cycle of habitual stress and overload, but it involves our complete presence and attention, as well as the development of new routines that will assist in our healing and transformation.
A more flexible and pleasant style of life may be achieved by making a series of tiny, incremental adjustments in our lives. These changes, when practiced, can move our lives from a state of chronic tension and anxiety toward one of more adaptability and calm.
There are many aspects of life over which we have very little influence, but there are also many aspects over which we do have influence, and it is on these aspects that we need to concentrate our attention.
There are a number of lifestyle changes we can do to better manage our stress and bring down our cortisol levels. Some of these include consuming less coffee, alcohol, sugar, and processed carbohydrates; obtaining more quality sleep; and engaging in regular physical activity. However, these things will not relieve your worry on their own. You also need to deal with the things that are going on in your head. Here’s how.
1. Schedule time in your schedule for both calm and flow.
In order to combat the tremendously rapid speed at which we live our lives, we need to carve out some time in the midst of our hectic schedules so that we may engage in activities that allow us to experience moments of flow, space, and calm.
Our days are jam-packed with noise and activities that demand our undivided attention at all times. As a result, we need to be intentional about setting aside time for solitude, time spent in nature, and time spent being creative — all of which are activities that feed and renew us.
Through yoga, painting, and time spent in nature, I am able to reacquaint myself with both quiet and flow. Whether I’m striking a posture, sketching, or just strolling through the woods, I find that the quiet and the deliberate pace are both calming and pleasant. I am able to put all of my problems out of my mind and find happiness in the sensations that I am able to experience, such as the noises, the fragrances, and the beauty that is all around me.
When I am completely absorbed in anything that fills me with amazement, wonder, or creativity, it seems as if my life is put on hold for a little while. It is both very calming and satisfying to do so.
Make it a habit to engage in regular activities that deliberately slow you down and draw your focus inside. Include these occurrences in your habit of practicing self-care. Turn off all of your electronic devices so that you may treat yourself to the pleasure of isolation and quiet.
Make sure you have some time to yourself every day, even if it’s only for fifteen minutes. Enjoy the peace and quiet of being alone by spending this time by yourself, whether it be in your garden, on a yoga mat, or in bed, and allow yourself to be rejuvenated by the experience. Rekindle the holy place that is inside you, and nurture yourself in innovative and enriching ways.
2. Befriend your thoughts.
It is intentional for the majority of our day for us to operate on autopilot. In addition time, if we don’t pay close attention towards where our mind wanders and what it does, we’re just letting habitual ideas and actions to guide the course of our lives, regardless of whether this is for the better or for the worse.
When I was younger, I had a tendency to ignore the thoughts that occurred inside my own brain. This lack of profound self-awareness was isolating and had an effect on every element of my life, particularly on the relationships I had.
For instance, since I had never been taught how to resolve arguments in a healthy way, if I was hurt or ashamed, my knee-jerk response was to shout, shut down, get defensive, or become extremely emotional. This only served to alienate me from other people and make the situation worse.
I would then fixate on unsolved problems and previous injuries, which would feed my anxiety and make me feel despondent, powerless, and unable to get beyond them. This vicious cycle would cause me to feel guilty and humiliated. Despite my success in both school and the workplace, I had a hard time developing meaningful relationships with other people. I couldn’t figure out why it felt like everything was constantly working against me.
I eventually came to the conclusion that living in a constant state of anxiety about the future while harboring resentment for things that had occurred to me in the past was not only detrimental to my own well-being but also detrimental to the well-being of others. My habit of constantly dwelling in my thoughts was contributing to my own anxiety and making my life more difficult to manage. As a result, I’ve made up my mind to give mindfulness a go in the hopes that it would help me discover some inner calm and teach me how to live my life differently.
My unconscious habits and beliefs were brought to the surface via the practice of mindfulness, which allowed me to gain clarity. I now see that the fact that I did not get a lot of love and support as a child and that I was raised in an environment where there was constant rage, turmoil, and misery caused me to internalize a lot of guilt, fear, and mistrust. And it was the thing that silently ran the show in my life up to this point!
Through practicing mindfulness, I was able to become more aware of my thoughts and the paths they led me down, as well as the ways in which I sabotaged my own ideals and ambitions. And instead of severely blaming myself for my shortcomings and failings, mindfulness taught me to take responsibility of my choices and my life; that I have a choice to do things differently; that I am not broken, I just do not have the skills – yet. The downward spiral of guilt, misery, and worry that I was caught in eventually gave way to healing thanks to the practice of mindfulness.
Being mindful gives one more agency; in this sense, it’s the antithesis of anxiousness. It teaches us to be open, to slow down, to observe what is happening within us and around us, and to respond genuinely rather than reacting habitually out of shame or fear. Rather than having to worry and frantically trying to control our surroundings, it teaches us to do the opposite: to be open, to slow down, and to observe what is happening.
Because of this expanded consciousness, we are able to completely take in all the beauty that the world has to offer. We gradually become aware of the simple joys that may be found in everyday life, therefore preventing chronic anxiety and an unending stream of diversions from taking control of our lives. We cultivate the freedom to think and behave differently, form new habits, manage challenging emotions, triumph over our challenges, and learn to flow with life as it unfolds.
3. Practice appreciative living.
Our thoughts are predisposed to be pessimistic, and as a result, we have a propensity of concentrating on difficulties and giving them a great deal more attention than is required, which ultimately results in worry. If we don’t take steps to prevent it, this may put a damper on our day and leave us in a condition of constant tension and concern if we let it go unchecked.
The encouraging news is that this prejudice is not unchangeable at all. We have the power to change it by focusing on the good aspects of the situation, such as the little pleasures that brighten our day and fill us with happiness; these are the moments that, if we were preoccupied with our worry and anxiety, we would have missed.
It is necessary to be truthful with yourself and be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions in order to practice gratitude, which is why being in the present moment and appreciating it is essential to the practice. When you slow down enough to accomplish this, you start to integrate everything in your life, the good and the terrible, the highs and the lows, on an equal footing. Your outlook on life may be altered for the better via cultivating an attitude of appreciation. In spite of all the challenges, you come to the realization that there is a great deal of pleasure and beauty there.
The practice of maintaining a thankfulness diary is one that I support wholeheartedly. In point of fact, this is how I began out on my own path to recovery. My worried mind responded quite well to the practice of gratitude.
You may purchase a diary that is tailored expressly to serve this purpose. Use different colored pens to embellish it and make it seem nice so that every time you open it, it makes you feel wonderful. Every day, write down between three and five things for which you are grateful.
When did you last experience a moment of tranquility? What made you laugh or make you feel happy? What instances of generosity or beauty have you seen in your life? Take yourself back to those times and relive them in your head as vividly as possible. Immerse yourself in the experience.
The more time you devote to remembering the events and experiences that gave you happiness during the day, the more time you devote to maintaining the connections that provide you with a sense of serenity, tranquility, and wonder. This will help you to keep fear at bay while also training your mind to concentrate on the positive.
4. Reestablish a connection with your own self.
The sense that I was drowning in a sea of errands, professional duties, and family obligations was a significant contributor to the anxiety that I was experiencing. Because I was always on the go, I never slowed down long enough to become aware of how I felt, what I desired, or what I need at any given instant.
Because I was taught to be helpful to others and to anticipate their wants — as the patriarchal structure of our society mandates — I had lost touch with my own aspirations and the essence of who I am.
Adapting to change may be challenging, particularly if we do not have a strong sense of who we are. Because of this, it is essential to reacquaint yourself with the core of your being, whether this is accomplished via therapy, play, meditation, or writing. After trying a variety of approaches, I ultimately decided that writing was the most effective therapeutic method for helping me get in touch with my most authentic self.
Writing in a journal gives us the opportunity to cultivate a close relationship with ourselves and establish a genuine connection with the world that resides inside. When we connect with our most fundamental wants, desires, anxieties, and hang-ups, our awareness of both ourselves and our experience becomes ever more profound. Journaling allows us to reclaim our authority over how we experience and react to life by helping us get in touch with our own inner fortitude and fortitude, which in turn strengthens our resilience and enables us to overcome the challenges we face.
After I had reestablished contact with my true self, also known as my inner child, I felt an overwhelming need to do all in my power to shield, care for, and provide her with everything she had always desired but was denied as a kid.
For instance, instead of just pushing through the discomfort and concealing my emotions when I made a mistake or felt harmed, I practiced self-compassion and provided it to myself. Instead of suppressing my feelings or trying to ignore them, I vented my frustrations and muddled thoughts in my diary. I took pauses before becoming overwhelmed. I made sure to give myself time to be alone myself and do activities that bring me joy, such as reading, dancing, painting, and taking bubble baths.
This was similar to acting in the role of a parent oneself, and the focus was on providing care and affection to others; these were qualities that I lacked throughout my own upbringing. When things became difficult, it gave me the courage and determination to show up for myself regardless of the circumstances. It gave me the strength to go on and enhanced my capacity to bring about long-lasting improvements in the aspects of my life that meant the most to me.
The aforementioned tactics may seem to be straightforward, but as you start putting together these seemingly little routines, your body and mind begin to react.
The soul may be soothed and brought back to peace by just being still. The practice of mindfulness enables us to slow down and better react to the obstacles that so often cause us to feel anxious. Being grateful enables us to see things from a different perspective, and cultivating more self-awareness enables us to identify and make sense of our feelings, all of which contributes to increased physical and mental toughness.
When combined, these routines have the potential to significantly lessen the tension and anxiety you experience on a regular basis. And by ensuring that you provide yourself daily nourishment and care, you make it possible for healing to take place.
This requires a lot of practice. Patience, slowing down, and acceptance of what already exists are all necessary components of the healing process. We need to have faith in ourselves, knowing that we are expanding our capacities and bringing about the changes that we are able to at this moment in time, and that when we are ready to accomplish more, we will go deeper.
These four techniques may have a calming impact on your body and mind, and they can help you transition from a constant state of tension and overload into a more serene way of life, regardless of how long you’ve suffered from anxiety or how recently it began to affect your life.