We live in a society that tends to dismiss mental health and self-care, but with a large percentage of the population now suffering from moderate to high stress levels...
Taking GOOD care of yourself should be your first priority!
I know we've talked a lot recently about balance in your life. We've also covered the long term damage that stress can cause. Making yourself a priority is more important than ever!
The tips I'm providing today may sound very familiar - because they ARE! Mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health are related. Which means that taking action to improve any one area – improves them all! Win. Win.
In the interest of keeping this short – I'm not going to explain why each of these tips is important or why they are effective. I'm just going to list them and if you'd like more detailed information please feel free to shoot me an email.
I'm also providing a spiffy little infograph image at the bottom of this post so you can print these tips and put them somewhere you will see them every day. Remind yourself that you deserve the best life ever!
(right click on the image above and choose 'save image as')
Supporting you on your journey,
Anyone who knows me - knows I'm all about the balance. So when I saw this blog post by my friend Leo Babauta I knew I had to share it with all of you!
Work-life balance is a bit of a myth.
Sure, we work too much, don’t have time for all the other things we want to do, are always tired, eat convenience food or comfort food rather than nutritious or nourishing food, never have time for solitude … but that’s the life we want, right?
OK, maybe it needs a bit of readjusting. Work and life and learning and relationships and health are all really the same thing, and so “balance” is perhaps the wrong word, but adjusting our lives to our aspired priorities is not a bad thing.
A friend recently asked me how I balance my personal life and all my projects, and it made me pause and think. And that pause, and the thinking, is really the key to it all!
Here's what I've discovered:
1. Pause regularly. In our lives, we are so busy and caught up in what we’re doing that we have no space for thinking. I build regular pauses into my life, so that I have some space for thought. What kind of pauses? I use morning meditation, drinking coffee in the morning with my notebook, my morning shower, a walk alone, tea or a run or other meeting with my wife or a friend, as space for thinking about my life. Pause regularly to create space.
2. Zoom out. When you take a pause, zoom out from the close-up view, so you can look at the big picture. What are you doing with your life? What kind of person do you want to be? Are you making decisions in the aggregate? What are your priorities? And are you living those priorities? You don’t need to think about all of these things during each pause, but use the pauses for this kind of thinking.
3. Readjust. When you notice that you’ve been spending too much time on the computer, and too little with your kids or other loved ones, make a note of it. When you notice that some important projects are being neglected, or you don’t have time for exercise, or your diet has gone to hell and settled in there, make a note. Think about what adjustments you can make.
4. Now actually block off time. Making a note and mental adjustment is great, but it’s meaningless without action. What kind of action can you take to adjust how you actually spend your time? Make a commitment, on your calendar. Not one that you’ll skip when the time comes and you’re browsing your favorite sites. A commitment you’ll keep.
For example, if you want to work out more, make a regular date with a friend to go for a run or do a bodyweight workout in the park or go to yoga class or go to the gym you signed up for 11 months ago and never use. Make a regular date. If you want to work on a project, make an appointment to go to a tea house or library for 3-4 hours just to work on that project. Or commit to a whole week of working on your novel. Tell somebody about it, and better yet commit to getting them the work by the end of the week (or whatever period you choose). Make the time, solidly.
That’s the method. Four steps, done regularly.
Life is a constant readjustment. It’s whether you readjust consciously that makes all the difference.
My thanks to Leo! You can find more great words of wisdom from Leo by visiting his blog - Zen Habits.
Supporting you on your journey,
So what the heck? There's a secret to manifesting?
Why didn't anyone tell me?!
You want it.... really bad. A new car, a new house, to lose weight, go on vacation, MONEY! You manifest for it, you take the action steps, you visualize, you affirm and you match the frequency in a dizzying dance of euphoric woo woo!
Sometimes it works - in a lesser form, perhaps - but themagic happens. Other times....(crickets chirping)
Time passes and yep - it's still you and the crickets! For me - this usually results in a full on tantrum. My four year old child takes over and hollers dramatically at the Universe. Whhherrree's Myyyyy Stufffff! Complete with tears and flailing limbs. Exhausted - I finally give up (and let a whole lotta self-judgment settle right into my cells!)
So you move on, get on with your life, stop all that mumbo jumbo stuff and lo and behold - it suddenly shows up one day or something even better comes along and happiness ensues!
Wait...what? Was my frequency suddenly aligned? Had I somehow arrived at the exact place I needed to be to receive it?
Does the explanation really even matter? AHA MOMENT HERE: Nope
When we relax, have fun, be happy and STOP trying so hard - THEN things start to happen!
I know - I know, somebody told you or you read it somewhere - you have to think about it all the time. You have to BE in thevibration of it all the time. Here's the deal. Do you think about breathing all day long? Do you think about the sun coming up - about gravity holding you to the earth - about that new shirt you ordered online? No. No worries, right?
You don't have to jump through manifesting hoops. You don't have to TRY so HARD because when you do - you're standing right in the way of receiving. (this is so me!) I'm not saying you shouldn't 'be in the energy' of what you want. Absolutely - you should. Just don't revolve your entire life around an expected outcome. Manifest, KNOW, move on.
I know this isn't always easy - staying out of your own way and detaching yourself from the outcome. Especially when you're in a difficult life situation. Fact is though - that living in the NOW and being happyis what life really is all about. It's a Win Win situation. You take pressure off yourself. You put your order in and stop checking to see if it shipped or what day it will arrive. You move on - You Know.
You are powerful - you have the Divine in every cell of your DNA! Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is sit back, relax and enjoy the crickets! You've Got This!
Supporting You On Your Journey,
This week a friend asked me about how clarity can be found in chaos.
My answer was Surrender, but not in the way you might think...
In the not so distant past I made a move from Florida to N. Carolina with my boyfriend. He had been offered a Producer's job with a local news station there. It meant taking a chance (I was in my 40's) but I would be closer to my oldest daughter and so I went. Long story short - he lost his job a year into the move and I was not working at that time. Three of my four grown daughters had come to live with me and it felt like life was going to hell in a handbasket. I was beating myself up for somehow manifesting the situation and I even railed at the Universe. I actually screamed! "Show me what I'm doing wrong!"
Here's where things get interesting... within 24 hours of that frantic cry for help - a calm, peaceful 'knowing' settled over me. I felt really good. I knew that everything was going to work out. I surrendered it all to the Divine. Surrendering was not in my nature (still something I struggle with...lol) so this was BIG.
Outside circumstances declined. Money ran out. My boyfriend could not handle the fact that I was happy and not worried about the future. He packed his things and took the only car we had (and all of the remaining money) and he left to return to FL. Rent was past due. I STILL couldn't bring myself to worry. (What the heck?!)
The day after he left - a miracle came...a Best Selling author that I had emailed with a glowing review of her latest book - emailed me. We talked on the phone and it turned out she needed some remote admin help. She wanted me to be her personal assistant. She immediately sent me a retainer that was not only enough to settle my debts, but also enough to rent a truck, load our things and return to FL. How crazy is that?!
I went on to work for her for two years and during that time I gained some essential tools and knowledge that I use now in my own business. I also began to embrace my life purpose - to help others Heal.
I've often reflected on that time in my life. I know that I learned something invaluable through the experience. I realized some time later that there were so many factors involved. One of my four daughters who came to live with me while I was there (she had left a difficult relationship) met a young man 6 months before I moved back to FL. When I left - she opted to remain there and I now have another amazing grandson (Connor) that I celebrate every day.
The Divine works in such magical and inspired ways!
Yep, great chaos, lots of drama, change, AND a gift (or two) from the Divine. I learned that when you surrender it doesn't mean conceding defeat or that you are being complacent about your current circumstances. It means no longer fighting, hiding and resisting. You can be happy - NOW - knowing that the future will take care of itself.
That said.... I experience these moments less frequently than I'd like. lol I'd love to experience this kind of knowing every day. I still worry. I still fear. I still question myself, judge myself and even occasionally holler at the Universe.
Oh My! But I do it less. I remember this amazing experience and others like it. I smile!
I hope my sharing this experience will help you to remember that surrendering is an essential part of life and Healing. Embracing where we are and choosing Joy. Now. It all opens the door to amazing possibilities!
Supporting you on your journey,
It's only a week into the new year so I'm sure that you're all sticking to your resolutions, right? Easy Peasy. We've got this. Or do we?
With almost 50% of Americans making New Year’s resolutions, close to 90% of those resolutions fail. Why? Get out your pocket protectors, it's time for some science!
For a resolution to be successful it takes willpower.Willpower is located in the area of our brain (prefrontal cortex) that handles abstract tasks, short-term memory and staying focused among other things. Resolutions (especially when we make so many) overwhelm the prefrontal cortex, which like a muscle, needs to be exercised and trained to handle this cognitive load. Kinda like participating in a triathlon before learning how to swim.
To make things more clear; It’s almost impossible for your brain to focus on abstract goals that are not already connected to a specific behavior. The key is to make our goal intuitive, second nature, habitual.
So how do we make our resolutions stick? Read on…it’s easier than you think.
Reflection – Yes, this is the time we look back at the past year and… beat ourselves up for what we didn’t do. Wince at our perceived failures. Say hello to regret, remorse and self-judgment. Sound like you? This can be a familiar refrain for many of us, but with good reason.
Did you know we are programmed to remember and concentrate on the negative MORE than the positive? We think about negative emotions longer, more vividly and in more detail than positive ones.
Roy F. Baumeister, a professor of social psychology at Florida State University explains,”As with many other quirks of the human psyche, there may be an evolutionary basis for this. Those who are “more attuned to bad things would have been more likely to survive threats and, consequently, would have increased the probability of passing along their genes,” - “Survival requires urgent attention to possible bad outcomes but less urgent with regard to good ones.”
Okay Gia, so now that we know why - what can we do to clear the air and start with a clean slate?
Sometimes you get the best light from a fire: This may seem a bit metaphysical and woo-woo but keep in mind that this concept has existed since ancient times.
Writing down all of the issues, events and emotions that no longer serve you and throwing the paper into a flame has been seen as a cleansing force that allows us to release the old events of our lives and clear the path for new beginnings. Of course exercising safety and caution is a given.
The Gratitude Jar: Since we’re programmed to concentrate on the negative more than the positive, this is the perfect way to counteract that survival mentality.
Find a jar, a box, an old butter container with a slit in the top, whatever speaks to you (decorate it if the mood strikes) and set it somewhere convenient along with paper and pens (you can add artistic flare here as well with colored pens/torn paper etc.).
When something good, great, momentous, funny or amazing happens – write it down and stuff it in your gratitude container. The physical act of writing things down brings more focus to it. It may be hard to be grateful in difficult or painful times, but even the smallest thing matters. Next Year on New Year’s day take out the papers and read them. Believe me, it will far outshine the negative ruminations and set the tone for a new, exciting year!
Setting Intentions: We’ve talked about willpower and making abstract goals successful by connecting them to behaviors. To make any goal a habit we need to start with only one. Yes, that’s right, one goal at a time! (Your prefrontal lobe will thank you). Once we’ve set the goal we need to take small, easily attainable steps toward success. As we complete each step we can adjust the increment of the next step accordingly. (Keep a journal of your “wins”, it will serve as a constant reminder of your success.)
Leo Widrich has an excellent example of this in his article: The Science of New Year’s Resolutions: Why 88% fail and how to make them work.
“Here is a list of examples of how this translates to some of the 4 most common New Year’s resolutions:
Hack Your Brain and Bring on the Rewards: Shake things up and make some new neural pathways. Our brains strive to be as efficient as possible and that means our neural pathways are quite happy playing with the same old habits. The good news is that our ‘fear of change’ can be bribed into silence by our ‘pleasure at rewards’! When we reward ourselves we feel good and a University of Chicago study shows positive feedback increases the likelihood of successful new habits.
Ben Thomas tells us in his Huffington Post article - How to Stick to Your Resolutions by Hacking Your Brain: “ …psychologists suggest giving yourself little rewards, like a dinner out or a drive in the countryside, every time you meet a milestone or step outside your comfort zone. The more you reshape your expectations of yourself and reward yourself when you defy those old limits, the more you'll find yourself sticking to your goals.”
Now that you're armed with more information it's the perfect time to re-think your resolutions. Choose ONE thing you'd really like to change or incorporate into your life, break it down into manageable steps and remember to reward yourself along the way. Yep - We've got this!
Supporting You On Your Journey,
The Holidays. Family. Shopping. Finances. Social Demands.
Loneliness. Travel. STRESS!
Yep, it's the time of year when stress levels can shoot through the roof! Stress that comes from situations we consider difficult or 'negative' AND also from FUN and exciting situations as well. It's Exhausting!
No matter how organized we might be we all tend to put too much on our plates (figuratively and literally...lol) during the holiday season.
I know you're saying, "Okay Gia - increased stress - blah, blah, blah - I don't have time for all this nonsense. Get to it!"
We've talked many times about the seriousness of prolonged stress and the damage it can create - so I'm gonna skip right to the Good Stuff!
Ways to Stay Happy, Healthy, and Energized during the Holidays:
Simplify where you can. Give yourself a break. Have fun. You CAN experience more peace and joy during the holidays. That's my hearfelt wish for you - more love - less stress!
Supporting you on your journey,
So just what is our soul and why is it so important to feel connected with it?
By definition the soul is: the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life. It's the spiritual principle embodied in human beings or the universe.
It's the 'pilot light'; the spark that is our essence. It's our Higher Self. It's our Source Energy.
Today's world is moving so fast! Our days start to blend together in one long 'To Do' list. Things can be so frenetic that we spend very little time getting in touch with who we are. We seem to spend less and less time on the things we are passionate about and that give us purpose, if we even know what they are?
Connecting to our soul empowers us! It fills us with divine unconditional love and a sense of purpose. Embracing this essence helps us live a more joyful, conscious, mindful and meaningful life. I love that aligning with this amazing energy also activates healing and that this support is ALWAYS available to us. Does it get any better than that?!
Connecting with our soul isn't difficult, and the rewards are immeasurable.
The Zen Lane
(excerpted from 365 Ways to Connect with Your Soul)
"Meditation isn’t always about being in a totally quiet, controlled environment or sitting in the lotus position. Sometimes it’s about listening to your inner voice, expressing your love and gratitude, and connecting to the divine within you. One of the places I can slip into alpha and really connect to my soul is…in the car! Yep, you read that right: in the car.
A number of years ago, I faced a very long daily commute in heavy traffic. Rush-hour-encompassed horn blowing, hand flailing, and hollered complaints at my fellow drivers. Prying my fingers off the steering wheel had become a daily habit!
Once I realized how much time (and energy) was being frittered away while on the road, however, I made a conscious decision to move into the “Zen Lane.” I began using my commuting time to center myself and do my “I AM” affirmations. I talked to the Divine and shared my thankfulness. I smiled. If someone cut in front of me, I wished them a safe journey. Delays? No problem – more time to get my thankfulness on!
It’s been years since I made these changes, and they still have an amazing impact not only on my own life but also on the lives of my passengers. Last week, my daughter and I pulled up to a drive-thru line behind an open Jeep with several very young children in the front and back seats. In the past, my first reaction would have been to start a rant about bad parenting and children being protected and safe. Instead, I got very quiet, and after a moment my daughter turned to me and said, “I’m sending positive energy to that Jeep to protect them on their journey”…exactly what I had been doing!
These days, instead of grumbling about traffic or a rush-hour commute, I always cherish my time in the Zen Lane. How amazing is it that something that I once dreaded has become one of the best parts of my day!"
Betcha this wasn't one of the first things that popped into your head when I mentioned connecting with your soul! This is just one of the many heartfelt contributions in this book. I can't wait for you to read them all!
Whether you’re already BFF's with your soul and are looking for fun ways to deepen the connection, or you're feeling adrift and are looking for ways to re-connect, this book makes it super easy to align with your soul and the universe.
To learn more about the book or order your copy today - click on the image below (check out the Free Gifts being offered for a limited time!)
This special book is filled with such positive, loving energy, and I know that it’s going to be so healing for so many. The contributing authors all came together to share how we connect with our own souls with the hopes that it will help you connect with yours as well.
We're celebrating the launch of 365 Ways to Connect to Your Soul with a Blog Tour!
Each day starting on November 17th and going through the end of the year, our book will be featured on at least one site where you’ll be able to read interviews from the authors, see excerpts from the book, listen to podcasts, win prizes, and more!
I'd love for you to check out these amazing contributors who are blogging tomorrow (November 20th)!
Mary Jane Allen – http://manifestyourlifedream.com
Keyra Conlinn – http://www.keyraconlinn.com
Mimi Quick – http://www.mimiquick.com
Annalene Hart – http://www.mydivineenchantedlife.wordpress.com
Mariet Hammann – http://www.llifc.com
Supporting You on Your Journey,
“Whenever we are appreciative, we are filled with a sense of well-being and swept up by the feeling of joy.” ~M.J. Ryan
What is Gratitude?
Simple question right? Gratitude: "the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness."
What's missing (and so important) from this definition is what gratitude can do! Not only for ourselves but for others as well. When we consciously express out gratefulness, when we appreciate the world around and within us, we reach a higher vibrational frequency. It is in this frequency that healing and balancing our lives is not only possible it's assured!
Gratitude is an immensely powerful force! Scientific studies have found that people who practice gratitude experience greater physical health and emotional wellbeing. One such study conducted by renowned psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, found that participants who cultivated an 'attitude of gratitude' experienced:
Gratitude is a crucial quality to embrace if you want to experience more happiness, joy, energy and increased health. Gratitude is a fullness in our hearts. It can move us from fear, lack and limitation to expansion and deeper, more fulfilling love. It can shove our ego aside so we can connect with our soul. (this is the perfect place to shamelessly plug our new book; 365 Ways to Connect to Your Soul - Available November 17th! Watch for more on this!)
In that place of connection, in the now, our lives flow in grace and harmony. Who wouldn't want more of that?!
Okay Gia, how do we get the 'attitude of gratitude'? How do we create a practice that spills over into every area of our lives? Great Questions!
Practicing Gratitude doesn't have to be a long, drawn out process that weighs you down. - Expressing more gratitudewhenever you can (even if you're not practicing daily) will create amazing differences in your outlook on life and in how you feel.
Here are some practices to try:
I know you're saying, Gia, "how can I be thankful when I have so many challenges and I feel so down?" It takes some practice but I promise you - one small step at a time - it becomes so much easier and you'll be thankful that you took the time - even a few minutes a day to train yourself to think in a new way. You'll see - that with a little time your whole perspective on life will shift!
Increasing gratitude CAN enhance many different aspects of your life, most notably your health! Could there be an easier, or more inexpensive way to enhance both your happinessand health?
NOW is the perfect time to start embracing more gratitude. Here's your loving nudge - to begin focusing more on the positives. I promise you'll feel better in so many different ways! So take a look at what you have - and be thankful - reach out to others. Watch as your life blossoms with even more abundance!
I'm sending HUGE GRATITUDE to each and every one of you for being part of my journey and sharing your lives with me!!
Life can be a challenge. Some days so much of a challenge that we just can't face the day without protection. Protection from the judgment, the anticipated rejection, disappointment or pain. So we 'armor up' and place a mask between ourselves and the world.
Ultimately - we all wear a mask for the same reason - because without it we must deal with that screeching inner voice that tells us "we are not good enough as we are." That if we show the world our true - authentic 'face' - judgment will chew us up and spit us out leaving us a quivering heap of wounded humanity.
We've been programmed to care so much about what the world thinks of us that we lose touch with who we really are! Not to mention the fact that if you're anything like me - you're your own worst critic. Is it any wonder we run to our 'emotional closet' first thing in the morning and choose which mask we'll need today?!
Will it be the People Pleaser mask? You know, the one we use to make everyone else happy because having a different opinion or thought will cause conflict. Until you have suppressed your own thoughts for so long you're no longer sure what they are?!
Or maybe the Functional Mask is your favorite. This is one we all need at times. The one that helps you through that business meeting when your son just called to tell you he backed into a fire hydrant in your brand new SUV. The one that lets you 'function' and perform your usual routine no matter what emotions are swirling around inside you.
Maybe you wear a mask of Anger because anger allows us to keep people at a distance so they can never know you are really feeling vulnerable, lonely or maybe even worthless? Another way to protect yourself might be the Happy Mask - smiling and joking even when your feelings are hurt or you're feeling overwhelmed.
I once had an associate who used the Avoidance Mask so fiercely that she came off as cold, uncaring, and arrogant to everyone she encountered. If a situation or person made her feel uncomfortable, she just wouldn't respond. She'd say, "I need to sit with this" and she would sit and sit and eventually never respond at all. What she didn't realize was that in protecting herself she was alienating potential friends, co-workers, love interests, and even her family.
There are many masks we use for protection. We have to ensure our authentic selves remain hidden. At what cost though? In the short run masks can shield us from the stinging arrows of life. Or we might use a persona to manifest the life of our dreams (fake it till ya make it). This one's a personal favorite of mine!
In the long term though - wearing a mask is not only exhausting but it desensitizes us to our own true feelings. We also immediately lose the opportunity to be truly connected to others and to be truly connected to ourselves. This can lead to anxiety, depression and dis-ease! We pay such a high price when we let others define us!
So how do we stop this habitual ritual of reaching for the masks?
Embracing the Authentic You:
Set the Intention: Yep - just like everything else in life - we begin with intention. We commit to taking action. To taking care of ourselves first and foremost (for a change!). Even though it might not be easy at first and could leave us feeling vulnerable and maybe even judged - we can do it! So voice your desires - speak up about which movie you'd like to watch or where you'd like to eat. One step at a time. (this doesn’t me we should suddenly embrace our inner child and become a demanding toddler - yep - I sometimes give in to that little girl who's laying on the floor kicking and screaming, "I want what I want, now!") We can express ourselves with kindness as grace.
Head High: No matter what mask you've sent back to the closet - being vulnerable can be scary. This is the time to breathe deep and stand straight. Expressing your true self - your true opinions and desires doesn't have to be difficult. Spend time getting to know what it feels like to put yourself first. Accept all the Feels!
New Coping Skills: This is so important! As we allow ourselves - to be ourselves - we'll need new coping skills. Skills to help us deal with emotional pain, judgment and vulnerability. You can find lots of great coping skills right here by reading through my blog!
Acceptance: It may take some time to stop automatically reaching for a mask. (Some masks when used short term are both a necessity and a healthy coping mechanism.) Facing our fears, especially those of being criticized or rejected isn't pleasant. We've become attached to who we are behind those masks. We like that insulated vacuum that protects us not realizing that it is also preventing us from healthy growth - and from being loved and accepted for who we really are. Our authentic self.
Here's an exercise that can help:
Grab a pen and make two rows on a blank sheet of paper. On one side quickly write down five words you feel define who you are. Don't overthink this - just write it down! (i.e. strong, loving, kind, respectful)
Now, whether these qualities are true or not - use the other side to write down the opposite of each. (i.e. weak, unloving, unkind, disrespectful)
Now try this, using the words I am - randomly add a word from the first row and then from the second row. Like this. I am strong and I am unkind. I am loving and I am weak. Would it surprise you to not only realize you are all of these things and that your mask is not really necessary for you to live with these contradictory parts of yourself? The yin and the yang. We are ALL balancing our contradictions and that's what life is all about. Embracing ALL that we are!!
Take a look at those masks - and what they're hiding from the world. Be gentle with yourself. Explore who you are. Who you are with the mask firmly in place and who you are beneath that mask. You're a Divine Masterpiece. Perfectly Imperfect. Entitled. Entitled to be loved and accepted for who you really are!
Grab those new coping skills and the hands of someone you love and trust - and step out and feel the sunshine on your face! You've got this!
Supporting You on Your Journey,
I suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for many years before I created a personal health plan that reduced stress, embraced a healthier lifestyle and emphasized a firm dedication to self-care (well most days..lol). I share this with you straight off, so you will know that not only have I been there, in the throes of overwhelming panic (Somebody Help me!) but I also have an arsenal of tools to help.
Anxiety – you know - that sudden constriction in your chest as your body moves into fight or flight response. Once the difference between returning to your cave or being eaten by a saber tooth tiger – today, this response can still be a healthy tool to alert us to a dangerous situation or motivate us to excel ( such as studying harder for an exam). When anxiety turns into an episode of intense panic or fear though– it is no longer a healthy tool but a signal from our bodies that something needs to change. Anxiety (and stress) is by far the number one symptom my clients all have in common.
Anxiety attacks, sometimes referred to as panic attacks, usually occur suddenly and without warning. Sometimes we can determine the trigger (being stuck in an elevator) but more often than not – they happen with no obvious cause. Symptoms can include chest pain and heart palpitations, panic, trouble breathing, hyperventilating, trembling, sweating, chills, feeling like you’re going to lose consciousness, nausea, feelings of detachment or loss of control. Yep, it’s scary even reading them! So let’s get to the tips.
1) Stay – When you realize that anxiety has seized control of you – don’t run away from it. Panic attacks typically peak within 10 minutes and they will subside more quickly when you can signal your brain that there is no danger. If you flee the scene your panic response will associate that location with the panic which creates a whole new issue. When you stay in the situation, your panic response receives the message that this is a false alarm and it will return your body functions to normal. Whew! But how do you get through the fear… great question! Read on….
2) Breathe – When we move into anxiety our breathing becomes fast and shallow. When we deepen and lengthen our breaths we reinforce the message that this is not an emergency and our bodies can return to normal. Slow your breathing by first holding your breath and then slowly breathing in and out…breathing from your diagram (lower tummy). If you’d like more on this – please feel free to email me and I’d be happy to send you more information.
3) Keep Thinking – During times of panic – the thinking part of our brains becomes less active – most of our resources are dedicated to becoming more physical. Doing something methodical sends the message to your brain that “this is not a real emergency” so it can stand down and stop posturing!
b) Name 4 things you can hear (people talking, television)
c) Name 3 things you can smell right now (something cooking, fresh air)
d) Name 2 things you can feel right now (feet on the floor, cushion at your back)
e) Name 1 thing you love
4) Tapping - this technique can be a very effective tool during anxiety attacks (this is one of my personal favorites) and has proved very beneficial to many of my clients who not only suffer from anxiety attacks but chronic pain, fibromyalgia, fear and many other symptoms. Here is a great Tapping through Anxiety video by Brad Yates that can help get you started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6kq9N9Yp6E (If you’re saying to yourself, “Gia – what the heck is tapping – shoot me an email and I’d be happy to explain – just know – it’s good stuff!)
5) Using peripheral vision - Let your field of vision broaden until you can see from the outside corners of your eyes. Relax your jaw muscles and breathe deeply. This exercise activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which tells your body to cut out the drama and calm down.
Although you may be experiencing anxiety and stress from a demanding schedule, pressure at work, relationship issues, lack of sleep, health problems or even too much caffeine – the bottom line is that your body is telling you it needs balance and that you need to make some changes.
Here are a few things to remember:
1) Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. (you know why this is so important – it’s when our bodies do the most healing and balancing!)
2) Eat foods that help balance your mood and energy: nuts, soy, milk and yogurt, dark green leafy and orange vegetables, broth soups, legumes, citrus, wheat germ, tart cherries, and berries. Avoid too much processed flour, sweets and caffeine.
3) Schedule relaxation time and STICK TO IT! – Make time to relax and unwind. Meditation doesn’t have to mean an hour in the lotus position, chanting “Om”. As little as fifteen minutes of meditation a day can have a huge impact. Try a short Chi Gong session. Take a walk and enjoy nature.
4) Learn to say NO! - Be discerning and eliminate some of those activities that you have crammed into your schedule and that are welcoming OVERWHELM to step right up and take you for a ride!
5) Get emotional support – I know it can sometimes be hard to talk about your anxiety attacks and that it can also be hard for some people to understand the panic and fear. Find someone you can trust to support you. I got through many panic attacks by picking up the phone and having a dear friend talk me through it!
6) Remember that this is a signal from your body – the panic is not going to last and you are okay. With some modifications to your lifestyle you can wave goodbye to these attacks for good! Tell yourself, “Anxiety – bring it on cuz I’ve got this!”
There are many more tools to help with anxiety, stress and panic attacks but these are some of the ones I have found the most helpful. I hope that you do too!
**These techniques are recommended for anxiety – if you are not sure your symptoms are those of an anxiety or panic attack please see a health care professional to determine the cause.
Supporting You on Your Journey,