January 2021. Honestly, who hasn’t suffered from a bout of anxiety at some point in the last 12 months?
I am yet to come across anyone in my many life circles that hasn’t experienced an increase is anxiety or (like me) maybe you’ve experienced it for the first time during this crazy, uncertain and often worrying time.
I’ve take upon myself over the past few years to really look into how movement (both dance and yoga and well, any mindful movement really) and breathing techniques can help release anxiety and other unwanted emotions from the body. It’s fascinating. I’m well read on it. Confident on giving out advice on how to aid it. But it still took me a little while last year to realise that the physical symptoms I had were due to anxiety. Of course, a single working mum in this pandemic, I feel the pressure like everyone else. But I was still taken aback by my frequent nausea and bloated stomach followed by shear exhaustion. Once I realised what was happening I was able to use to my resources and manage it. Which is great. And none of us are powerless to it. We can all manage it. Read on.
I have spoken to friends all over the world. Old and young, some are single, some are parents, some are wealthy, some are not, some are super fit and healthy, some work in high profile careers, some work on mental health, some work in risky covert jobs and are used to pressure…. but ALL have experienced heightened anxiety in the past 12 months. Some didn’t know it.
Common physical symptoms such as shoulder/neck and hip tension, nausea, dizziness, chest tightness, digestive issues, stomach cramping or discomfort, feeling hyperactive, broken sleep or insomnia, fatigue or exhaustion or slightly rapid breathing can all be signs of anxiety.
So, a quick look at anxiety.
When or mind/body feels threatened by something we naturally go into fight or flight mode and adrenaline is released into our bodies to enable us to deal with this. We are able to deal well with this as it’s usually a short process and the body brings itself back to a state of equilibrium with fair ease and speed. In my opinion, the biggest challenge at the moment is that we are surrounded by long-term fear. Therefore almost everyone is in a chronic state of anxiety (from mild to severe). We are not designed to cope with that. If our bodies are in this fight or flight mode for any long period of time, our bodies become flooded with the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. Some experience a racing heartbeat, dizziness or chest tightness, breathlessness and loss of appetite at this point. This then leads to exhaustion and fatigue and we start to experience the physical symptoms, which leads to worry… MORE anxiety. A downward spiral. BUT… it’s manageable.
We can stimulate our parasympathetic nervous systems (and the vagus nerve) which will calm the mind and body. We can do this through regular mindful movement and breathing techniques and by taking certain asanas (positions if you like) with the body that will have the desired effect. Forward bends help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and should be done with gentle chest openers as not to lead to low-mood. Hip and shoulder openers aid emotional blockages and tension. Pranayama (breathing) with retention and long exhalations can offer immediate and substantial relief from panic and anxiety. Being mindful, present, is both a cure and prevention for anxiety.
So… I have carefully and lovingly put together a 35 minute gentle and mindful practice to help ease anxiety and trauma from the body through intentional asanas and pranayama. It’s available to purchase for £8
It’s on my YouTube channel and I can send you the private link (to re-use and re-use) if you email me email@example.com and make the £8 payment for the session.
There are many other resources and activities that can help aid anxiety and those are personal and unique to all. Please share anything useful in the comments if you have any suggestions…
Here are a couple more of mine:
Cold water therapy is also a great tool. I swim in the sea in swimwear or take a 2 min cold shower each day. Have a read up on the Wim Hoff method if you’re interested.
Bergamot is recommended for anxiety but have a read up on how best to use essential oils safely. I blend a couple of drops of bergamot, lavender and frankincense (god for grounding) in almond oil and massage my feet and shoulders before bed with it.
Massage sends signals to your brain – then body that you are safe and ready to relax/rest. Or get someone else to massage your shoulders… even better.
Nature, Movement. ‘Nuff said.
Comment, email, give feedback. I hope this was helpful 🙂
You’ve got the power 🙂