You don’t experience anxiety unless you are attached to a thought that isn’t true for you.
Anxiety and stress is the number one killer and most serious source of physical pain and mental suffering on the planet. This is probably because the body is the most difficult thing to manage because of its complexity. To a shaman, anxiety is energy that is stuck in the body. How it gets there is through the mind which is programmed to worry which sends a message to our body which over time is addicted to reacting. Our reaction is usually based on the past since the mind will compare everything to what occured before which will create anxiety about how the future is going to turn out. When this continually occurs, you have created a loop that analyzes your current and future life based on an emotional stressor from the past. The only way out is to go back to the present moment. This is the place where you can shut off the off the stress loop. It is the only place where the body is free, it is the place of calm.
We unfortunately live in a culture that does not support emotional awareness so we push aside our feelings. This is an error as it keeps us from getting to a clear connection of mind, body and spirit. Our feelings are our essence and as we focus on them we can then trust in our ability to process what comes up. If we are sad, we can notice the presence, honor it, note where it resides in our body and then allow it to be a part of us and then release it through tears or a quiet inward review.
So here are the five conversations I have with people who are in high anxiety.
1.) Reality check– People fail and problems arise, it is life. We were not put on earth to chill, we are here to learn. It is the qualities of survival that make us successful. Most successful people in the world have failed miserably or had something really bad happen to them, this builds awareness and enlightenment. See struggle for what it is, the ability to transform and grown. Read stories about people who have failed and learn from these stories how they turned things around.
2.) Does it really matter? In a session with a client I will often hear things like “my mother is not kind, my family doesn’t understand me, my sister is rude, my ex husband is irresponsible, my son is an addict” and on and on. This means that your anxiety does not belong to you and that the source exists in your external world. This one is real easy to fix and that is the moment when I ask “why does that matter to you?, what if it didn’t matter?, why do things matter?, why do you allow so much to matter? The things that can hurt us matter, what cannot hurt us never matters. It is a matter of mattering.
3.) Is it true? Most anxiety is overacting and dwelling on things, giving things the wrong intensity of energy, causing overload. Think about a time that you had anxiety, were you getting ready for a test? getting ready to attend an important event? what assumptions and judgement were you making at that time? Maybe you were thinking that you were not good enough, not capable? Now ask yourself if that is true? Now sit with that for a moment, contemplate it. Where do the emotions reside for that feeling? Neck, shoulders? What moments in the past come up for you that leads to that emotion? Some people can become completely immersed in the trauma of the past and think that it defines them in terms of their wounds. When this happens it is very difficult to heal and escape misery. “I am an incest victim, I am a cancer victim, my father was an alcoholic”. Their minds seem to be filled with ruminations about their stressful history, their resulting current symptoms, and what doctors tell them. What happened in the past is not what you are in the present so these thoughts must go. They are no longer your truth.
4.) Out of Control? A lot of times anxiety occurs because of feeling out of control. At the moment of anxiety ask yourself, what can I control in this situation? Usually the answer is nothing. Anxiety is mostly brought on by what we cannot control so bringing ourselves into the awareness that we have no control can free the mind from the loop of trying to figure it out, over and over again. This is the moment of surrender, especially if you have been running from a saber tooth tiger all of your life and living in high anxiety. For a shaman, this is the moment of the great spiritual divide. D0 you stay in an unaware state and suffer? or do you embrace faith? This is often the widest path to cross in your spiritual journey, the moment of simply walking away and trusting a higher power and a greater intelligence to guide your way.
5.) Resilience Stress and anxiety is the cause of most disease. Our goal cannot be focused on achieving balance because life is messy and there are going to be ups and downs. The key to human health is how well do you bounce back? This is the key to thriving. To get to success, you need to see the body like a wild animal that needs to be trained since when you are stressed out it is ready to jump and run and hide from everything and react. When you break the body of its anxiety reaction to all that occurs you can then reach a place where you can adapt to conditions. Everyone has the possibility to react in a particular way when their boss has a fit. Some can withstand these situations, others can be crushed.
When we are on a fast sprint through life, the stress response kicks in and blood goes to the heart and organs and we stop digesting, the blood move into the muscles, blood sugar goes up, energy gets pulled out of the cells. When you are never in calm the stress response never shuts down and the adrenals never get a chance to rest. By the time you are in your 30’s and 40’s your adrenal glands are on tilt. Just by thinking, the body believes that it is actually having the experience and reacts like it is real. Living in emergency mode can be fueled by your thoughts which will eventually cause disease. But just like you can create your thoughts you can create good ones versus negative ones. Taming the wild horse which is your body is the way out of stress. The Pineal gland is the source of our faith and our pituitary is related to imagination and will power and they are the two most important glands for decongesting emotions so don’t forget your morning meditation.
Fifty percent of the people who take antidepressants have no success. The alternative is herbal supplements and thought management. When we realize that our health is tied to our thinking then we can excavate one of the greatest causes of illness. Emotions can manifest in the lymph system, cause skin conditions, hair loss, kidney trouble, paralysis and metabolic disorders.Herbs can be very helpful to support your organs and get you on a journey to calm and out of the programming. Here is a powerful list of adaptogens that can help your body to modulate stress.
Ashwagandha is a big nurturer of the adrenal glands and calms the nervous system. It is a very old herb from India and the Sanskrit name mean strength of a horse (it smells like a horse). It is all about stamina and strength. It will also support creativity and being grounded. It is associated with endurance and helps to preserve your energy and supports calmness and balance. My favorite source is Kauai Farmacy. It is excellent for both men and women. It takes thirty to sixty days to “soak” into the body and become effective so stick with it. Tests have shown cortisol levels go down and you can become more resilient.
Tulsi or Holy Basil is a natural antidepressant. Bees love it and create happy honey. It is also a protector of your home. It can freshen your breath and is known for purification and pulling out your inner beauty.
Reishi mushrooms will help to change your mind and thinking. They neutralize the acids that create a sense of too many responsibilities and overwhelm. Depending on your level of stress though you may need to take quite a few tablets.
Club Moss is perfect for when you are having confused thoughts.
Valerian is like turning the volume down on everything.
Skull Cap quiets the monkey mind and all the involuntary thought processes. It takes the wound up energy away from the mind and body. helping tremors, sleeping and restless leg syndrome.
Kava although it is illegal in some countries there is little research that it is bad. Properly used it addresses anxiety. It is a super herb and medicine of the Hawaiians. It is a root and you can drink it as a tea or drink. It can be helpful as a painkiller. It is very difficult to grow.
Blue Vervain for people who are demanding and achievers, type A and perfectionists. It helps overwhelm by feeling less pressure. It is cooling and helps you to replenish.
Borage Tea is great for grief and loss.
Citrus Essential Oils are great for raising the vibration around you and giving you a spurt of happiness.
Lastly, I always recommend a liver detox, I have seen amazing results especially for people who are angry to achieve calm. It is like cleaning your oil filter, afterwards, everything runs smoother.
All of these tips help to transform you to be connected to your spiritual center and getting back to the natural order of life.
Remember that in addition to herbs we also need meditation, exercise, mindfulness and other calming practices.