Anxiety is a feeling that has become almost too common in many women's daily lives, and it can be overwhelming. It can lead to panic attacks, sleeplessness, and simply feeling unwell mentally.
Our bodies have this beautiful nervous system response called the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) response that is designed to help us when we are in danger. The problem is, our bodies don't know the difference between a physical danger and a psychological one. Sooo.... when you're sitting in rush hour traffic, your body responds as if you're being chased by a giant tiger. Read more about balancing your nervous system in my blog post, Quick and Easy Ways to Regulate Your Nervous System During Chaotic Times for more info on this.
Managing anxiety and depression really takes a holistic approach because you have to notice your anxious/negative thoughts and create more empowering stories/beliefs, but you also have to target the body and the nervous system, As someone who has (and continues to) struggle with anxious thoughts, here's a few holistic ways I manage and release anxious thoughts so that my mind doesn't run haywire.
1. Meditation & Breathwork for Reducing Anxiety
Meditation is a technique of focusing the mind on one thing like a sound, word, or object. It's a great way to help manage anxious thoughts by slowing the mind down. Meditating for just ten minutes a day can help bring peace and calmness to our brains. You can find guided meditations on my YouTube Channel.
Breathwork is a term for various breathing practices in which the conscious manipulation of your breathing can influence your physical, mental and spiritual health. Deep belly breathing has been shown to activate the vagus nerve, which can help manage depression, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and stimulate a parasympathetic (rest + digest) nervous system response, helping reduce anxiety.
2. "Best Case Scenario" Journaling
This is a new tool in my toolbox for managing anxiety and it's working wonders for me! As mentioned above, your mind will run haywire if you don't consciously control the story you are telling yourself. Our brains are primed to look for the negative as a way to keep us safe. But this can potentially keep you in a chronic state of stress/anxiety if you don't keep it in check. When I find myself ruminating on a situation I can't control, I do a "best case scenario" journal exercise- I simply write out the story as if it all worked out well and write about how that would feel for me. For some situations, I have to do this several days in a row, but for most things I can feel a huge shift after just one journal session.
Yoga helps the body and mind reduce anxiety and relax. Many types of yoga are designed to reduce stress levels and calm the mind. Although it may seem intimidating and difficult at first, it's worth giving it a try. Yoga helps us find stillness and balance; it can also be a great way to meet others and share in a sense of community.
4. Routine Exercise to Reduce Anxiety and Boost Mood
Regular exercise has many benefits, including reducing stress, releasing endorphins, and improving sleep. Exercise is crucial to maintain good health, as being physically active can help decrease anxiety. Set a routine of at least 30 minutes of movement per day. Whether you're hitting the gym, taking a class, or just going for a long walk- moving your body daily will lower anxiety significantly.
5. Talk Therapy: Addressing Depression and Anxiety Head-On
Talk therapy is a holistic way of managing anxiety, and it has been proven to be very effective. It's beneficial for people who need to talk through their emotions and feelings regularly. Therapy is a safe and trustworthy way to find a new path during difficult times. Try finding a therapist experienced in CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is designed to change negative thought patterns.
Self-care is taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is crucial to set aside time every day for yourself and to make sure you maintain a healthy routine. Self-care looks different for everyone; it could be taking a warm bath, reading a book, or spending time with loved ones. Adding these activities into your routine can help you manage and reduce anxiety holistically. Also, it's important to leave time in your schedule for rest (not just sleep). We NEED leisurely time to just rest/relax. As someone who likes to pack my schedule full to the brim, I notice my anxiety is lower when I'm not totally booked up and have time to just chill.
**If you struggle with anxious thoughts, come join me at my upcoming Sound Bath in Houston on Sunday, October 1st. This is truly a holistic approach to stress + anxiety. We will start with a thought work exercise I use with my private clients to help them re-write negative thought patterns. Then, I'll guide you through a candlelit meditation + end with a sound bath. I expect this event to sell out, so grab your ticket now!
When it comes to anxiety, taking care of yourself in a holistic way can have some great benefits. By making a routine of exercise, meditation, therapy if needed, self-care, and yoga, you will be well on your way to managing your anxious thoughts and releasing your anxiety in a healthy and holistic way. Don't let anxiety take over your life; take your power back and find ways that can bring peace and clarity. Remember, it's important to find what works for you and what makes you happy in the process.