STRESS AND ANXIETY
Stress and anxiety has increased over the past four months and people from all backgrounds are being impacted. The restrictions due to covid 19, has isolated us all and this maybe the reason for this build up of negative energy.
It is true that our lives have changed drastically, with working from home, homeschooling and the restrictions on socialising.
Just one of these changes is enough to evoke internal disturbance and there are even more pressures added into the mix. People are losing jobs, worried about finances, sick of their spouse's , feeling lonely and fearful about the virus itself.
So with the world experiencing the same virus, what can we do to help ourselves, ease the effects of anxiety in our daily lives
This may seem strange, especially if your life has been greatly impacted over the past few months, but hear me out. Harvard university performed a study and split them in to two groups. The first, wrote about the things they were thankful for, the second, about irritations and the third group, wrote about what had affected them but with no emphasis on positive or negative.
After ten weeks.. GROUP ONE ~ Not surprisingly at all, felt higher levels of positivity and started doing more exercise as a result.
Other studies have shown that gratitude practice can also improve relationships. Showing gratitude to their partners increased their level of positivity toward them and also sparked conversations about troubles in the relationship. This is really interesting because communication is extremely important and can make or break a relationship.
The great thing about this practice, is that you don't need to feel positive before you begin. This is something that you can develop over time. The first step is recognising that your mind is experiencing negativity and that we have the power within ourselves, to turn that around, if we are willing to make it a priority.
GRATITUDE PRACTICE ~ Think of this as a self care practise for yourself. If you are anything like me, I like a really beautiful journal, something enticing to the eye. Am actually waiting for mine to come through the post, so am really excited to get started in it. It feels so much nicer than writing in a great big pad with a black cover!!
Anyway, once you have got over the initial excitement of looking for and buying your journal, you can go ahead and write or even draw if that's your thing. Set your beautiful journal, next to your bed and first thing , upon waking, jot down three things that you are grateful for. some examples to inspire you ......
~ WAKING UP ~ YOUR CHILDREN ~ YOUR HOME ~ HEALTH ~ TREE OUTSIDE ~ FOOD ~ FRIEND ~ PARTNER ~ SUNSHINE ~ THE SKY ~ FREEDOM ~ RUNNING WATER ~ HEATING ~ ELECTRICITY ~ CLOTHING ~ FRESH AIR
Then at the end of the day, when you are settled in your bed, jot down three things that you are grateful for that day. After thirty days, reflect on how you are feeling. If you experience a shift towards positivity..... carry on.
How we wake up every day, has a HUGE IMPACT on the rest of the day. Have you ever woken up and just didn't want to get out of bed? Me too! I still feel this from time to time and sometimes, it's best to just go with it..... but only, once in a while.
I found that staying in bed ( on those, ugh.... can't be bothered days) was actually, my mind wanting to roominate. I was over thinking, which brought on a higher state of anxiety, guilt and negativity.
What I have actually found to be better for my mood and mindset is to get up and head outside in to my garden. To be up early, when the sun is just getting up and everywhere is quiet, is a beautiful experience. I take a look around at the nature all around me..... There is one tree in the garden a few doors down, which looks so calming when it blows in the wind. I then, can hear the birds chatting away and i watch them glide right above me. Ask yourself, which feels better..... staying in bed with your unwanted thoughts and feelings or seeing the beauty in nature all around us!
Don't get me wrong, i was never a morning person and to do this, will take some courage and commitment . It really comes down to how much your current situation is affecting your life! Also, it does not need to be a life altering battle either.... simply, once you wake-up, if you are in the habit of laying with your thoughts, this is a way to break that but it does not need to be a super early rise, but more a preventing procrastination, which can enable that anxiety to rise.
So starting the morning with writing down the three things that you are thankful for, then getting straight up , heading outside to look around at the nature you can see, can dramatically alter the trajectory of your outlook for the entire day! I do this almost every morning and I can't believe that I have missed so many mornings, when in the grips of anorexia and all that entails.
All too often we look outside of ourselves to find comfort from inner pain. Being only six months in to recovery from a 25 year, eating disorder, I too am drawn to the things that are external, to find that sense of security. This is a work in progress for myself but everything that I have and continue to learn, i know and feel, is just what i am meant to be experiencing, so that i can grow.
If i had not experienced those years with anorexia, i would not be able to help others now! The pain, challenges, anxiety....... maybe a way that the universe is telling us that we are on the wrong path!
Finding silence within, is a way of letting all of the noise from the external world and our inner world fade away. Once that happens, then you are in the presence of your "true self". The many voices inside our minds.... the one that says we are stupid, fat, judging others, critical, anxious ....... is all part of the ego. The ego, is not who we are, it is who we have been conditioned and influenced to become, by parents, the media and society.
Once we follow along with these ideas from external sources, we are not in flow with our inner calling or purpose for being here on this earth. I strongly believe that the pandemic , the entire world is facing right now, is due to the thoughts of millions of people. No, we did not think about creating a killer virus.... but what we have been thinking, for a long time is negativity. Negativity about politics, others and ourselves. We have also been abusing the planet and the creatures who inhabit it.
After so much darkness, there has to be an outcome, because we are all energy. What energy we put out in to the world, is what we will receive back and with interest! Being aware of this energy within ourselves, is the first step to change. Practising gratitude and healthy practices throughout our day, will have a positive effect on emotional state, which will then have an effect on the energy that we put out in to the universe!
To do this, takes only awareness and being present. The two examples above are great ways to boost our positivity. Meditation is another way of getting still within, a way of blocking out the external and internal noise. All it takes is ten minutes a day.... jump on youtube and search for a mindfulness body scan meditation..... that's all!!
TWO WEEK CHALLENGE
If you are sick and tired of feeling, sick and tired, give the three techniques a go. I'd be thrilled to hear how you get on.