Sitting on a beach in Portugal, I am asking myself if these thoughts are ever going to vanish away. When they come, my chest squeezes and there is no space left for my breath . They come unexpectedly and don’t go away so easily. They settle in my heart and frighten me to death. I feel like I am going to die. These are the last minutes of my life and I haven’t lived fully yet. I need a help. Running to the emergency room scared that this is my last heartbeat. When it comes to heart, nobody laughs. But in a few minutes, they send me home (laughing) that I am absolutely fine and that what I need is probably to fix something else.
Fast heartbeat, shallow breath, uncomfortable feeling in the chest, inexplicable fear, worries, high alertness, restlessness, physical and mental tension – does it sound familiar? We’ve probably all been there at some point in our life. Events happening around us affect us to a great degree. A big mess happening in the world right now has a huge impact on our mental health. Everything we knew has suddenly fallen apart and the world became an unsafe place and our life completely uncertain.
I thought this could not have happened to me because of my studies of psychology and a long yoga and meditation practice. But I was wrong. My mind has been greatly impacted by this mess and it raised a strong anxiety inside of me. Anxious thoughts and feelings were whirling in my body and mind day and night for a good few months. I had a tendency to fight it which made me suffer even more. Only when I accepted that this is my new reality, my healing journey began.
Healing your anxiety is a journey and it can take some time to see the changes. The anxiety takes time to build up and it also needs some time to uncover and let go. Thanks to psychology, yoga and Ayurveda, my amazing family, friends and spiritual guides, I have been able to slowly return back to myself. I wish you can find some inspiration for your own healing journey with these lines.
HOW TO HEAL YOUR ANXIETY.
First step to heal your anxiety is to accept it and stop denying and suppressing it. It is there for a reason you probably ignore. Whatever you ignore returns back louder. It has been with you for some time and right now it is just trying to surface so create some space for it and allow it to fully express itself. There is no reason to feel ashamed. It actually requires a lot of courage and strength to accept anxiety as part of our life. Accepting does not mean remaining in the uncomfortable situation that makes us suffer, rather becoming aware of it and slowly directing our attention to the strategy on how to get out of it. You can start noticing when it comes, what it triggers and maybe even keep a journal. This will help you to track and understand the pattern of your mind. Even if it seems like a big mess, there is an order in it which you can discover only by diving deep into it.
Your mind is very likely vulnerable to different impulses. By journaling, you can get familiar with what makes you anxious and simply avoid it at least for the time being. Do you really need to read the news filled with negativity? Does it make you feel good? Probably not. So try to avoid all sources of negativity including news, places and unfortunately people as well. If you know that some people make you feel nervous and anxious, why do you keep meeting them? It is really important you cut the source of anxiety and replace it with things that make you feel good like a good book, motivational movie, nice music, positivity and places where you feel good and safe. This is the time when you have to protect your mind and yourself!
Anxiety makes us feel that we are losing the ground underneath. Indeed, it is true. Anxious people are not very grounded because the main element that governs their being is air. The air is in constant movement so is your mind when you are anxious, flying between doubts, fear and worries. Just think about it for a moment. How do you feel when you are anxious? Do you feel heavy and still or rather light and in movement? You probably agree that an anxious mind is very unsteady and unpredictable, so is the air. You can balance this movement by bringing more earth element and grounding activities. The earth gives us ground and stability and that is exactly what is needed. Just try to go to the nature, walk with bare feet, sit on the ground, hug trees and you will instantly feel more calm and relaxed. Nature is full of pure and positive energy that brings us back to balance.
Some people have more tendency to be anxious than others due to their inner constitution. Usually, people with lighter bodies will find themselves more anxious. Light spirit remains in the light body and will always have a tendency to fly somewhere. There is not much physical mass to stay enough grounded. You can continue eating salads to keep yourself healthy but actually you are doing yourself more harm. Replace light and cold food with warm, oily (healthy oils!) and nourishing meals. It is important to nourish your body with the right foods as the food is not just the building material for the body but also a medicine that can heal any disease, physical and mental.
Unfortunately, coffee and other stimulants like black tea, white sugar and alcohol are definitely to be left out when experiencing anxiety. Your body is already restless so why add another layer? The coffee has been very difficult for me as I love it but I learnt to be without it when the anxiety was really strong. I can have it now from time to time but definitely not making it a daily routine anymore. If you are one of those coffee lovers then love yourself more to break this routine.
When you are entering the circle of anxious thoughts again, simply get out and do something unexpected. When we think too much, our mind uses a lot of energy and we feel exhausted and tired. Do some physical activity instead to bring the energy from your mind to the body. Choose preferably some gentle activity as being anxious is already being in a constant movement and we don’t want to aggravate it with some hard workout. The idea is to break the pattern of your mind by bringing your energy elsewhere.
Yoga is definitely a great choice to calm down the anxiety as it works on both, the body and mind. However, not all yoga styles will suit. Choose a gentle hatha practice over a dynamic ashtanga. Yin yoga would be the best choice as it is primarily a grounding practice working with the feminine energy which is calming and nourishing. Yoga Nidra is also a great way to deeply calm down your nervous system. You can also get a nice ayurvedic massage to relax. Any activity that targets your parasympathetic system responsible for rest and relaxation is definitely to be included into your healing process.
Don’t forget to breathe! When we have control over our breath, we control the body and the mind. A slow abdominal breathing through the nose will instantly bring you some relief. I really recommend to start with a daily pranayama practice such as nadi shodhana, an alternate nostril breathing exercise. This is an amazing tool to bring a balance to your body and mind. You can follow some good videos on YouTube or ideally get guidance from an experienced yoga teacher.
Finally, it can be a challenging experience to go through it on your own. But trust me, you are not alone. There are many among us going through a similar experience but not allowing themselves to share and heal. Be free to talk about your feelings and what you are experiencing with your family and friends. There are also many great psychologists, healers, spiritual guides and others who can give you support and proper guidance on how to navigate this journey. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
From an initial ‘heart attack’, I’ve come to the point of sharing my experience with you. By healing our anxiety, we are entering a ground of inner transformation which is going to change our life. Every experience is very valuable and if we decide to live it fully, it can bring the light not only to us but also to those around us.
If you feel a calling to drop me a line, I’d be very honored to guide you on your healing journey…
Namaste beautiful soul!