In my work as a life coach, psychotherapist and energy healer, I have plenty of opportunity to talk to people about the stresses of everyday life and the resulting anxiety, fear and depression that they are feeling. Whether personal, such as job loss, aging parents, poor health, family issues, etc., or global, such as weather related losses, world politics or environmental concerns, we are all affected in some way. I help people to calm their anxiety, face their fears and begin to create lives of greater joy, purpose and well-being. So, in the face of these challenges, how is this possible?
While there are many things that we cannot control, there are a few really important things that we can. When we focus our attention on these things, even for a little while, we can bring more peace, calmness and joy into our lives.
1. Perhaps the most important thing we can do to quiet our minds and calm our bodies is to breathe. Yes, I know that we’re breathing all the time but I’m talking about a different kind of breathing, which I call Conscious Breathing. This involves becoming aware of your breath, noticing if you’ve stopped breathing (which we often do when we are pushing certain unwanted emotions away), whether your breathing is shallow or whether you are breathing too rapidly. Conscious breathing has been scientifically proven to take you more deeply into your body and move you into a state of relaxation after only three breaths. The next time you find yourself stressed out and perhaps feeling anxious, fearful or over-reacting to a situation, come back to your breath. Start with a long exhalation, releasing all the tension and stress you may be feeling. Then take a series of three deep, relaxing breaths. Imaging that you are breathing in peace and calm with each inhalation and letting go of stress and tension with each exhalation. This simple practice will help ground you and leave you feeling more energized and relaxed.
2. Another very powerful tool for creating greater wellbeing is to get into the habit of expressing gratitude for all that you do have and for the things that are going well in your life. Some days you may need to get really creative with this but it is well worth the effort! Scientific research has shown us that everything is comprised of energy of different vibrations and that energies of similar vibration are attracted to each other. Known as the Law of Attraction, this means that we will get more of whatever we’re putting most of our attention on. This is not just New Age, woo-woo wishful thinking; it is universal scientific law. Emotions such as gratitude, appreciation, love and joy have high vibrations. Emotions such as fear, anxiety, despair and anger have low vibrations. The more we can move ourselves into higher vibrational energy, the higher the frequency of the people, situations and circumstances we will begin to attract back to ourselves. Every time we shift our thoughts, we shift our energy and we raise our personal vibration. So, commit to starting or ending your day with a few moments of gratitude. Whether you write them down in a Gratitude Journal, say them out loud to a friend or just repeat them in your own mind, just do it. You’ll be doing yourself a favor and, I’ll venture a guess that you’ll be doing the people around you a favor as well! Truth be told, we’d all rather be around someone who’s positive and appreciative than someone who’s negative and complaining.
3. Last but definitely not least I invite you to try the powerful process of visualization to create more peace and calmness in your life. More than simple affirmations, visualization supports your entire mind/body in relaxing. The mind literally doesn’t know the difference between what’s “real” and what you create in your imagination. When you create a mental movie of what you want, your subconscious mind believes that this is your curren reality. Imagine for a moment biting into a large slice of lemon. Did you find yourself puckering up? Now visualize yourself in a peaceful, relaxed setting, perhaps on a beach, out in nature or inside of a beautiful cathedral. It doesn’t matter where it is, as long as you feel peaceful and calm when you’re there. Take a few deep breaths, bring your attention to your heart and allow an image to come to mind, using all of your senses. Gently hold that image in your mind’s eye for a few moments and notice how you feel. It only takes 17 seconds for the mind to register this new reality and begin to respond to it.
We can’t always influence what goes on around us, how other people behave or the state of the world. We can, however, decide how we want to be in the world. I invite you to take a little bit of time each day, put down your phone, set Facebook aside, take advantage of the baby sleeping and give yourself the gifts of breath, gratitude and imagination. Commit to do this for a day, a week, a month and see how you feel. You’ve got nothing to lose but your stress, tension and worry.