Taming the anxiety beast without drugs

Is it just me, or has 2016 been an epic year for energy shift?  SO many things going on in the world, and many of them are not so great.

More and more I am seeing people present in clinic with health conditions that I can directly tie to increasing anxiety- and the sad part is that many doctors are simply not joining the dots, and are still treating the physical manifestation of that stress- pain, addiction, autoimmunity, hormone imbalances…  I often say to people, if you could draw a line across your neck, you would get the 'great divide' of society- The head who thinks it can cope with the exponential number of tasks we give ourselves; and the body who simply falls apart when its asked to keep this pace for too long.

In a world that is becoming increasingly chaotic, there is less and less time to stop and smell the proverbial roses- but what if I told you that the very foundation of Naturopathy evolved, not only on sound nutrition, but on good rest as well?  Sleep, and Wellbeing.

I personally hate the new age take on it- 'Mindfulness'- what on earth does that word mean? DO we really want out minds to be FULL? or have we simply created a new word in order to push forward with a new marketing angle?.. After all, the word 'relaxation' is like a swear word these days.

Regardless, whatever you want to call it- you need to do it, regularly!

Not a day goes by when I don’t have somebody contacting me, full of emotions, asking which herbs might help to calm them down. Of course there are many, but let me tell you something- if you don’t change what's happening to cause that emotion, then it's not going to help you in the long run.. and the longer you are running high on Cortisol (your stress hormone) the harder it is to pull you back from the brink.

Albert Einstein once said: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over, and expecting different results".  .. I think Albert was a pretty smart man. ;-)

Studies have shown time and time again, that it’s the 'little things' which you do on a daily basis, which will make up the whole of your happiness.  For example, deep breathing is proven to be THE SINGLE MOST EFFECTIVE way to reduce your serum Cortisol levels. Not an anti-depressant.  Not boxing the stuffing out of a bag…Just breath!

On that note, I always recommend, for those who don’t, to STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES… inhale!  DEEPLY!  yoga breathing… and smelling roses is a great example, because the 'pleasantness' of their scent can actually shift your focus for a moment.

There are a few other things I suggest to my patients when suffering from the symptoms of stress.  Most of them are things you can begin to structure when you are feeling good - meaning that you can leave the deep breathing and roses for when you are panicking, but try formulating in some of these other ideas, In order to prevent it hitting the fan in the first place:

  1. Set your boundaries: You need to decide for yourself, what it is you are willing to do versus what you can leave. This is more easily done if you can write a list of your priorities and then cross off all of the things which aren't absolutely necessary.  It's important you do the list FOR YOURSELF, not in the order that you think somebody else would like you to do them. Most importantly, learn to say no if you feel you are being spread to thinly!
  2. Be forgiving: Of yourself!  Most of us have such a rigid idea of what life or things are meant to be, that when things sway in a direction we didn’t see coming, it hits us like a freight train… A bit of fluidity can go a long way.

Be forgiving of those around you:  There is a huge difference between forgive and forget, and you forgive someone for YOU, not for them. Life is too short to get caught up in stuff, and for this reason I usually suggest to those who are in this way, go and see a great hypnotherapist or counsellor, or find a new focus in life so you don’t get caught up in the old- and on that note….

  1. Find your tribe: It's so important that we have like-minded people around us, to nurture our spirit and feed our soul.  There are just as many paths in life as there are people, so finding those who are in synch with your vibe will only lead to magnificent and positive things!  You simply won't have time for the negative!
  2. Get creative: Creative outlet is incredibly underrated in our society.  Not just art, but movement, music, writing, acting.. The manifestation and the nurturing of something is one of the most healing and grounding things a person can do.  If there is one thing you can start from right now, its scheduling that bracket of time in your week, to find your creative flow.
  3. Movement and Sunshine: No, not running a marathon. . Not necessarily even walking the pavement. How about turning up your favourite tunes and smashing out some dance moves in the living room?? Movement creates endorphins, and endorphins empower us to feel as though we have a grip on our lives.
  4. Have a media/ Social media detox: I challenge you to take a day or a week away from the News, newspapers, media and social media, and then see how much more relaxed you feel. Limit any screen time, and remember what it was like only a couple of decades ago when we had no access to social media.

The point I am wanting to drive home is this: YOU have the power to control your own anxiety.  Of course, there are some times when a biochemical, or other emotional factors are at play. Seek the appropriate practitioner to help you correct these.  For most part though,  it’s the lifestyle choices we can make that will really get us over that happiness line the fastest.


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