Since we can't change the world to suit us, we need to find ways to cope. Happiness is found when we are able to find a happy medium in our lives, so our thinking remains balanced. Knowing what that balance looks and feels like is key to knowing how to get and stay there. There are many ways to find balance in your life. Whatever method or methods you choose should be something you are comfortable with. Below are some suggestions to get you started.
1: LONG AND SLOW BASIC BREATHING METHOD
Breathe in by filling the lower stomach first, then the middle stomach, and finally the chest. Hold the breath in and bring the chin down slightly without creating tension in the neck or shoulders. Exhale by releasing the air in the chest first, then the middle stomach, and finally the lower stomach. Hold the breath out, lift the chest, pull the chin in and relax. Breathe this way for as long as it's comfortable. Stop immediately if you start to feel dizzy. Variations: try targeting your breath to different sections of your body, and see if that feels different.
2: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
When we take care of our physical bodies, we signal to our brains that we value ourselves. It's important to do something active on a regular basis, even if it's as gentle as a daily stretching routine before you get out of bed in the morning.
There are 4 main types of meditation: zen or silent, chanting, guided imagery, and active (think cleaning and walking). When you meditate, see what happens...what kinds of things does your mind catch? Do you find your thoughts drifting? Do you come to any realizations?
Our thoughts become our reality, so choose thoughts that nurture and support you. It doesn't even matter if you believe yourself when you start – the act of repetition will rewire your brain, and after a while, you will! Our brains take time to change, so give yourself a good 3-6 months of positive messages before thinking about giving up. Most people try affirmations for a few days, don't see immediate results, say it doesn't work and stop. Don't do that! There are many, many affirmations out there. I like simple, quick ones, that are easy to remember. One key concept to remember is that you are selling yourself on this change, so you need to make it appealing.
5: SILENT ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND ACCEPTANCE
This one is simple and powerful:
- Take a deep breath
- Accept that you are anxious
- Realize your brain is playing tricks on you
- Be an observer, without judgment
- Focus on right now
6: TALK IT OUT
Reach out to someone you trust and talk to them about your feelings.
7: 20 QUESTIONS
When you feel anxious, have a checklist on hand of questions to ask yourself about that anxiety experience. The longer the checklist, the more you'll find that your thoughts become more realistic. Questions that you can use include:
- Is there a reason to believe something is wrong?
- What evidence is there that something is wrong?
- Is there a chance I'm blowing this out of proportion?
- What do I expect to happen and why?
- Can I ask the people around me to see if what I am thinking is true?
I hope this has helped you identify a few ways you could reduce the stress and anxiety levels in your body, and create a calmer, more peaceful, balanced world for yourself.