Have you ever considered getting help for anxiety? Or that someone in your life needs some help with anxiety? If so, you are on the cutting edge of a not so happy health trend.
Back in the eighties our attention was drawn to ‘stress’ and stress management became a hot topic. Now we have accelerated and consider stress to just be part of life. And the result is that ‘anxiety’ has now moved from a mental health disorder to a way of life.
We are seeing a huge increase in awareness of how anxiety has become an issue for many. And that includes children. Yes, children as young as toddlers are being diagnosed with anxiety disorders. And while we are all aware of the childhood obesity issue, the childhood anxiety issue hasn’t reached a level of concern…yet.
Some of this may be the pressure that we put on children to be constantly stimulated. But I believe a lot of it has to do with our modeling behaviors. Whether you have children in the house or not, the way we live as a culture influences the little ones.
So, let’s start to help the children by getting our own anxiety under control.
Although we generally have a much higher standard of living than our grandparents and even our parents, it is coming to us at a cost to our health and over-all well-being. We put pressure on ourselves to be ‘doing’ something all the time.
We put pressure on ourselves to be perfect.
This has led to the act of relaxation becoming something difficult. In fact, it’s even a foreign concept to many.
One way to manage anxiety is to re-learn how to simply ‘be’. We need to remember how to do nothing. This need to relax and do nothing has become a big business, with therapists, teachers, self-help books and Oprah leading the charge.
But, you know the easiest way to calm down and simply ‘be’.
The easiest way to calm down and relax is to focus on breathing.
Try it now. Take a moment to close your eyes and take three long, slow, deep breaths.
Conscious breathing and meditation are ways of reducing stress by reclaiming mind and body connection. Notice that I snuck in meditation there too!
Concentration on breathing, sometimes with the use of mantras or special words, is key to many different meditation practices. Meditation is quite simply stilling the mind; taking the mind from its busy, chattering state and focusing on just one thing. Or allowing ourselves time to ‘contemplate’. And for some, it’s when we sit and pray.
Using the naturally calming flow of our breath leads us to a state of easy relaxation. When the mind relaxes the body relaxes too and we move from the fight or flight response to a state of balance. When we are in that balanced state our bodies actually begin to heal. This state is known as ‘rest and repair’.
Complementary and alternative therapies all induce deep relaxation, and therefore the rest and repair response. But what about those times when you can’t get to the therapist? Conscious breathing and meditation can be used at any time to achieve a sense of balance and along with it reduce blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate and put you in rest and repair mode.
Here’s a simple anxiety management exercise for you to try:
Find a comfortable, relaxed place to sit. Keep your back straight and if you are in a chair, uncross your legs and place your feet flat on the floor. Pay attention to your breath.
You don’t have to do anything, just become aware of breathing in and out. You are not trying to do anything with your breath; you have quite simply just switched to observing it.
There is no right or wrong way to breathe, so relax and breathe.
And, as you watch your breath, you will begin to notice that it naturally slows down and you start to feel calmer, more peaceful. As you relax and your breath deepens you will notice that your body starts to relax too. You may notice your shoulders dropping away from your ears and your tummy becomes softer as the breath goes deeper into your lungs.
Close your eyes now and simply breathe for a while. If that was difficult or you’d like to try for a little longer just click on the word ‘breathe’ for some free gifts from me to help you.
If you need proof: both conscious breathing and meditation have been cited in numerous studies around the world. Conclusions are that improvements have been proven in:
- Panic symptoms
- Social anxiety disorders
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Substance abuse
And I have seen the benefits over the years I’ve been teaching conscious breathing and meditation to clients and students to include the above and:
- Digestive disorders
- During labor and childbirth
- Low self-worth
- Weight reduction
- And more…
We need some stress in life, some challenges to help us grow and feel good about ourselves. But too much stress can lead to disease. Different studies have indicated anything from between 70 to 90% of all disease and disorder states come from too much stress in our lives.
Currently we are seeing a staggering increase in the number of people suffering from anxiety. Anxiety is stress on steroids!
Let’s start by taking some time each day to do the above exercise, to just sit and breathe. And I’d love to hear from you about how it helps. Because it will…I promise.
And if you would like to explore more, click here to check out my CDs. Each CD takes you on a journey of relaxation that you can use at home, in the office, on a plane. In fact, you can use them anywhere, but not while driving!
Any questions? Drop me a line and I’ll be happy to help.