Reducing Anxiety The Spiritual Way
In today’s world,
more people than ever find themselves riddled with anxiety. This
unfortunate fact is inevitable if we consider all of the various
stress factors unique to contemporary life; intense social media
pressure, political volatility and the widespread destruction of
mother nature – not to mention the surreal chaos caused by the
coronavirus pandemic. We regularly feel anxious regarding our
finances, the feeling that there aren’t enough hours in the day and
we are consumed by other people’s validation of ourselves. As a
result, it can often feel like we are barely able to keep our heads
above water and thus we are not living to our full potential.
Before taking steps to manage our anxiety, we first need to accept that it is a permanent state of human nature. Our biology is designed to physically react to perceived threats, often resulting in horrible feelings of nausea, shaking, heart palpitations and gastronomical distress, to name a few. Whilst threats in today’s world differ vastly from that of the immediate, physical peril experienced by our early ancestors, our primal biological responses are sadly unable to make this differentiation. For many people, prescribed medication works incredibly well at helping them to cope. For others, popping a pill may temporarily ease the unpleasant biochemistry associated with anxiety, but fails to make meaningful, long-term changes.
In order to combat these anxious feelings and restore tranquillity into our lives, it’s important to incorporate spiritual practices into our routine. Ultimately, we need to help ground and connect our mind, bodies and souls so the following list is great for outlining how we can do this through purely natural means.
Addressing anxiety of the mind, body and soul
As anxiety is a
mental state linked to difficulty in regulating emotions, research
suggests that engaging with a regular routine of meditation can help
to reprogram neural structures within the brain. By improving these
structures, it is thought that the ability to regulate emotions can
substantially improve. It is advised that when partaking in a session
of meditation, we are to conjure anxiety-provoking situations in our
mind and really involve ourselves in the array of emotions induced.
After retaining these negative thoughts and feelings for a short
period, the next step we need to take is to consciously expel them
our mind and body. By doing this, we are teaching our subconscious to
understand that our intrusive thoughts are not a reflection of
reality and cannot define us. Adopting this technique of grounding
oneself is a fantastic way to restore greater perspective into one’s
life – it trains us to find distinction between what are simply
unfounded worries and what is actually true.
Positive affirmations (Mind)
Another method for
alleviating anxiety of the mind is by incorporating positive
affirmations into daily life. Positive affirmations
are positive statements or assertions that are used to
combat negativity or obstructive ways of thinking about ones’ self.
They can therefore be used as direct replacements for anxious or
intrusive thoughts and give us back control over our own perceptions
of ourselves – anxiety is fuelled by a lack of control so
reclaiming the power of our own mind is the most freeing action we
can take when struggling through an anxious episode.
The great thing about positive affirmations are their ease of use. Unlike other anxiety-combatting methods that will be discussed in this article, these statements of self-worth require no preparation, material items or the need to designate a time in the day to perform them. They can also be used in variety of different scenarios ranging from amidst the intensity of a full-blown panic attack to times of relatively low stress whereby positive reinforcement and some self-love can do a world of good. Ultimately, anxious thoughts can be all-consuming and begin to manifest as fact in one’s mind, making positive affirmations a sure-fire technique to restore internal peace and reason.
Chakra yoga (Body)
We are regularly
told that exercise is vital for our physical and mental health. There
are countless studies that suggest exercise is proven to reduce
anxiety, however the idea of launching oneself into a workout routine
whilst in the throes of anxiety can often feel like an intimidating
notion. For this reason, yoga is the perfect balance between keeping
oneself active whilst avoiding feeling out of depth at the same time.
In addition, yoga is very accommodating for people of all levels of
athletic ability and all body types; the slow-paced and peaceful
routines can be much less stressful on the mind and the body in
comparison to high intensity workouts or lugging oneself down to the
gym three times a week. It can easily be conducted in the privacy of
one’s home, free of the perceived judgement that exercising in a
public environment can have.
Alongside the physical benefits, incorporating mindfulness of the body’s chakras can make for a more a well-rounded and complete yoga session. When a person’s natural flow of energy becomes interrupted, the body can begin to suffer both physiologically and psychologically, often in the form of anxiety. Particularly stressful environments, personal issues, losses, or distressing situations can lead to ‘blockages’ in this vital flow of energy which can translate into more overwhelming symptoms. Therefore, it is crucial that when in a state of turbulence, focus is placed on balancing one’s chakras to restore efficient energy flow and thus ease the anxious mind. To incorporate this into a session of yoga, one can perform stretches or poses that target a particular chakra and its positioning in the body. The solar plexus chakra for example, associated with feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem when imbalanced, is positioned in the naval region of the body. The ‘reversed plank’ yoga pose is great for opening up this region and allowing for a deeper flow of energy, consequentially alleviating some of the negativity that manifests as a result of this blockage.
Another method for reducing
anxiety in the body is the use of aromatherapy. Aromatherapy can be
incredibly influential in helping to ease stress-related emotions
because it directly targets our limbic system. This system is a
section of the brain that controls memory and emotion. It is
suggested that when we inhale a particular scent, our limbic system
triggers memories and emotions that our bodies recognise allowing us
to calm our overactive minds. Listed below are some examples of
different scented oils popular in the field of aromatherapy;
Ylang-ylang oil targets the nervous system, slowing down the heart rate and pace at which we breathe when anxious. This combination can lower blood pressure and help ground us when we feel overwhelmed. Inhaling the aroma in slow, deep breaths is recommended when we feel that tight, anxious feeling building in our chest.
Lavender is famous for its ability to soothe and is therefore best to use when facing difficulty sleeping at night. A few drops of the oil in a diffuser, a lavender-scented candle or even lavender-infused pillow cases are a fantastic method to add tranquillity to our surroundings when we need it most.
Rose oil has a strong floral scent that some can find slightly over-powering. For others, however, the scent has been proven to reduce levels of tension and anxiety within the body. It is unclear whether this is due to the properties within the oil or whether it is because it is a highly familiar scent that many will associate with. Many dated perfumes contain rose oil so it is likely that many of us are reminded of the comforting scent of an older relative.
Tarot/Angel cards (Soul)
To be able to find
meaningful solace, it is hugely beneficial to find connection within
the trinity that is the mind, body and the soul. Our souls can be
drained by the constant stress of social obligations and the
all-consuming presence that social media has in our lives. Therefore,
taking the time to sit down and draw cards from one’s preferred
deck grants us a much-needed time out through which we can connect
with our higher-selves. Carefully interpreting the cards’
illustrations and making a link with issues currently being faced is
a great method to force oneself into coming to terms with negative
emotions. Many individuals suffering with anxiety can find that they
get really ‘stuck in their heads’. For this reason, any method
that motivates thinking from an altered perspective has the potential
to be hugely helpful.
Drawing from this,
spells also have the potential to help individuals struggling with
anxiety, as long as the right intentions exist and the rituals being
performed are personally meaningful. Whilst spells are a pagan
tradition, they can be performed by anyone. The ability to correct
anxiety-related issues by tapping into our souls is not limited to
devout practising Wiccans or Pagans – the average person regardless
of their beliefs still has the ability to do this if they so wish.
For some, a spell to reduce anxiety may include standing on the
ground barefooted and visualising a connection forming between their
being and the earth beneath them. Perhaps they will vocalise their
anxieties and envisage them disappearing along with the breeze. The
key is that the spell needs to have a personal meaning for you in
order for it to reap any results.
At the end of the day, anxiety is a state of mind that many of us struggle with. Whilst it is always advised that you consult a doctor before taking matters in your own hands, the methods provided in this article are a fantastic way to connect the mind, body and soul and reduce anxious feelings through purely natural means.