Anxiety Depression Mental Wellness Mindset Wellness

Don’t Worry Be Calm

For as long as I can remember, I’ve contended with anxiety. As a little girl, I had certain OCD tendencies like counting my bus fare and checking my alarm clock repeatedly until I was certain I had enough money, or my alarm was accurately set. I never was. Certain that is. There was never enough checking that would over-compensate.

As a child, I didn’t know how to effectively deal with what I knew to be an overwhelming sense of unease. I didn’t have a name for what I was experiencing, nor did I connect the dots to an origin. I wasn’t mature enough to draw conclusions or make assessments about what was going on.

I believe I was in my mid-twenties before I had some semblance of awareness about my inner state and how it was impacting my quality of life. It took another ten years or so for me to start implementing healthful tactics like yoga and meditation. I took classes and then decided to become certified to teach yoga. Being able to share tools for relaxation made me feel as if I was doing a huge service to the world around me as well as myself.

Over the years I have adapted more and more healthy tools to cope with stress and anxiety. I manage every day well but when external factors appear to be getting out of control, I struggle a bit more than usual. And anyone who has ever been in the grips of severe anxiety, you know it doesn’t feel too great.

I’ve been exerting considerable effort into facilitating positive change in my life. Change requires us to step out of our comfort zone which is inherently anxiety provoking. I’ve been embarking on a demanding journey that has been sustained for almost fifteen months. As things intensified, I found myself without the inner resources to adequately cope. As a result of the tremendous duress, my body began to react negatively with pain and inflammation. Feeling myself helplessly succumb to pressure, I decided to amplify my relaxation efforts.

I’ve had a stress-reduction protocol in place for a considerable amount of time. I am up at 4:30 am every day and I begin with mindfulness and meditation. My meditation in the morning gives me a baseline for where I am at. I observe and assess without judgement. I then do a session of yoga, which might also encompass bodywork, breathwork, dance, and exercise with weights. Then I take a 33 mg dose of CBD oil and go back to meditation. The shift in my feeling state is profoundly visceral. I went from trembling to feeling serene in less than a hour.

My other tactic that I have been using pertains more to my reaction to my physical reality. I remind myself that there are places in the world where people don’t even have clean drinking water. That halts any self-pity. Then I proceed to rattle off a litany of amazing things in my life. I start with the basics… I have clean water, I have food, I have shelter, I have work, I have money, etc.

Grounding myself with gratitude does wonderful things for my psyche. It reminds me that despite not having everything I want fall into place, I am gifted with amazing abundance. When I try to imagine not having these things, realizing that I do puts me back into a state of gratitude. Gratitude is the seed of happiness and peace. With a gracious mind and heart, we know that we have everything we need.

This shift in mindset and physiology made me feel like a completely different person than how I woke up this morning. I also decided to incorporate my appreciation and reverence for nature, which is also another powerful grounding tool.

I take a walk down to the pond. The air is still. Trees stand like statues. The grass, with light frost, quietly crunches under my feet. The sun hovers and the birds sing of spring. It is a glorious day and I feel good.

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