We're all deluged these days with harsh news: viruses, vaccines, political subterfuge, wildfires and crazy weather. Such events cause worry and stress, what I call "restrictive energies" that interfere with the natural flow of health in the mind and body. The good news is that anyone can learn to feel better. I know, because I've been there.
When I was a child, I had a very anxious mother whose mood was the central focus of our family. It was during this time that I decided to find a better way to live, as it was clear to me that that my beautiful mother was harming herself and her family by her constant worry. Thus I found a way to transform worry, anxiety and fear to peace and happiness.
Such a transformation isn't an easy fix. These methods may seem simple, yet they do require mental discipline to transform anxiety into peace but you can do it and here's how:
1) Give up control. Many people believe that if things don’t go exactly as they think they should, it is a disaster. But by learning to give up control, you will get instant relief. Charles Darwin noted: "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change." This means that change is our friend.
In order to change, we must let go and get strong. Start by letting go of things that do not enrich you. Are there situations, relationships and objects that no longer serve? Let them go. New, inspired thoughts and inventive ways cannot enter until the old and worn out are discharged. Letting go of clutter (mental and physical) creates space for inventiveness and growth.
Action: Evaluate your relationships. Are you hanging with the same people since forever? Are these relationships enriching? Is it time to seek some new fresh faces? Also, pick a closet or draw and declutter. It will feel great!
2. Release emotional baggage. Were you hurt, offended or criticized? Did your mother not love you enough and dad wasn’t there? If so, forgive them and move on. If you don’t forgive these past offenders, you are dragging around a bag of concrete (memories and judgments) that keep you mired and disconnected from your awesome self. We all have stories about what we should have done at any given time. It is all make believe. “Why was I so stupid, blah, blah, blah?” might be our cry. But these stories and judgments are a waste of time. At any given moment you did the best you knew how to do. How do I know this? Because if you had known better you would have done better.
Fretting about what other people think also gets tossed in the cement bag. What others think of you is their own self projection. It has nothing to do with you. The truth is that people are way more interested in themselves than they are in you.
Action: Pick a target and start moving toward it. Take a step, any step. When the voice of self-doubt chimes in, fire it. “You’re fired!” you declare. Now, keep moving. Take another step toward your goal. Don’t look back.
3. Tap your creativity. We can often get stuck in repetitive patterns, like the guy in the movie, "Ground Hog Day." We may rationalize this as being efficient, but the truth is that it is mind numbing. This step involves taking ownership of your creative side. Everyone has one.
We discover it when we do things that give us energy, like gardening, writing poetry or coaching a soccer team. It doesn’t matter the activity – the important thing is that you feel alive when engaged. More importantly, you are in your creative mindset and feel good about yourself.
When you discover something you love, jump in with both feet. Other people have done it: the businesswoman dying of boredom in her corporate job quits and becomes a trapeze artist. Another woman leaves her high-level IT job to deliver pizzas so she can write her novel.
The point is, the world needs your unique gift. So, give it. Action: To get out of your comfortable little box and try something new, try taking a class you find mildly interesting. Learn to speak another language, discover how to build a shelf or figure out how to prune a tree. Do whatever speaks to you.
Also, each morning when you wake up, spend 10 minutes writing your thoughts. By doing this, you will discover your intuitive voice and cultivate your creativity.
4. Align yourself with nature. As children, we may come to believe that worry is natural – even loving. But it is the opposite. It is a mental construct that obstructs rhythm and flow. In the way that a river follows a natural course, and one season passes gracefully to the next, we have a rhythm that harmonizes activity, creativity and rest. When we align with this rhythm, we grow and evolve in much the same way as a baby. Assuming this flow encourages health and authenticity.
Action: Take note of how much time you spend with technology, how much time you spend sitting and how much time you spend moving and exercising. The mind, body, and psyche all deserve time and attention. Turn off your devices and move into nature. Attune your body and mind to the delicious energy of the forest, garden or lake. There is no anxiety there. You might even feel like you’ve come home.
5. Meditate. Continuous focus on the outer world with all its alarming news and constant demand for attention is a recipe that will overwhelm anyone. When you learn to manage your mind, however, you will find the path to tranquility. Within you there is a vast reservoir of peace and a heart of kindness. Connect with this inner you to move yourself from stress to a natural rhythm, health and balance. It is a sure remedy. Meditation is a practice of managing the mind.
Action: Here is a simple technique for meditation: Set aside 10 minutes daily to sit quietly. Start by observing the breath. As you breathe in, count to four and exhale to the same cadence. Do this for four cycles. Then, move your attention to the heart and feel a light growing there. This light is love. As you gaze at it, the light expands and takes over.
As you stay focused on this light, your energy stabilizes and concerns melt away. With consistent practice, it will be easier to remain calm, even when everyone else is not.
It has been proven that anxiety is behind many major illnesses and that 6.8 million adults are affected yearly or 3.1% of the population of the United States. There is a better way. Practicing these five steps will calm your mind, reduce stress, increase energy, stabilize health and offer a brighter outlook. The mind is the creator. Managing where and how you focus your mind is the solution.
Jean Walters is an award winning St. Louis psychic, personal growth and spiritual coach, teacher of empowerment techniques, and best selling author. She can help you get clear, feel empowered, develop confidence, and define your next step. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org