Now, there’s a claim. Fear and anxiety are a natural reaction to being alive? Blimey, that doesn’t sound very positive does it?!
But if we delve a little deeper into this idea it makes a lot of sense – and empowers us to take control of how we react to life’s challenges.
It’s about the human being’s survival instinct. Ancient (wo)man had to be on a constant state of alert to the very real dangers around them – being hunted by animals, attacked by other tribes, being on the lookout for poisonous berries, and venomous insects in their environment.
As our bodies are vulnerable (we don’t have sharp teeth or claws to attack, our skin doesn’t have protective covering of scales or fur) human beings have always had to use their mind to develop ways to protect us or defend ourselves.
Over thousands of years our brains have evolved into a highly sophisticated tool which is on a constant state of alertness. But over these thousands and thousands of years the threats to our existence have very much changed. Read more…
I can’t relax. I can’t switch off. My mind is constantly racing. I can’t concentrate on anything. I can’t sleep.
These are some of the common phrases I hear from my (new) yoga clients, as well as friends and family.
A feeling of being out of control. Feeling edgy. A feeling of foreboding. Mind skittery. Body tense and achey.
I know how it feels. I’ve been there. I remember many a night when I lay awake with that feeling of not being about to shut up my mind. Of it being in control of me. Of not knowing how to even start to make it quiet.
Take back control through your breath
But I want you to know that it IS possible to take back control of your mind. To find peace with your mind. To be able to release the thoughts and find ease.
Finally. You have 30 minutes with nothing scheduled. Some precious me-time alone. Time where you can just do what YOU like. Ah lovely…
But then, you remember the bins need putting out. Ah, you forgot to answer that email. Hmm, you haven’t spoken to such-and-such for a while may you should give them a ring.
And you start to feel guilty for not getting on with stuff which “needs” doing.
Feeling guilty. It usually comes with an unhelpful dose of “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”. That nagging feeling you should be doing something else instead. The knot in the stomach. The tension in the head and shoulders. The chattering thoughts.
The guilt comes with an extra whack when we’re doing something just for ourselves. Some aspect of self care that we know we desperately need but we somehow find difficult to allow ourselves to have. Quite time away from the kids and family. Time to go for a walk and get some fresh air at lunchtime to get out of the office and away from the ever-refilling email inbox. Saying a gentle but firm “no” to looking after the grandkids at short notice when you had some me-time planned.
And we either cave into the guilt and prioritise others’ needs or the guilt consumes us and we don’t enjoy what we’re doing.
You’re tense. Overwhelmed. You can’t think straight. You don’t know where to begin. You’re feeling irritable, frustrated – angry with yourself and the world! Tense jaw, shoulders and you’re barely breathing. You can’t focus.
Your life is out of balance. You need this to change.
I know how you feel, I’ve suffered from stress in the past myself and a tendency to anxiety is ongoing for me. Read more…
I’m doing some research into OVERWHELM – can you help me?
Is this you?
You can find it difficult to relax and unwind.
Sometimes you feel tired and wiped out sometimes anxious and wired.
Your mind is busy, busy.
You’re sensitive to what’s happening around you such as loud noises, bright lights, strong smells, busy places; you notice the subtleties in your environment; and you pick up on other people’s moods and emotions.
You also enjoy a rich and complex inner life.
You identify with sometimes or often feeling overwhelmed.
If this is you, then I’d love you to take part in my survey.
(It’s open until Friday 8 April 2016).
It’ll be so helpful for me in my work as a yoga teacher and will help me to develop my services to serve wonderful people like you in the best way possible.
Anxiety. Those worried thoughts; the general feeling of unease; the feeling that your nerves are on edge. Apprehension. Agitation.
Do you feel it? I know I am prone to it.
Now, I have a hunch that those of us who tend to experience anxiety are highly sensitive.
Anxiety is our nervous system’s response to the excess of external stimuli in our environment: our fight / flight / freeze response keeps getting revved by the information overload of our busy lives and pushy culture and we wind up feeling anxious.
So the good news is, there’s nothing wrong with you. I am PASSIONATE about this. If you experience anxiety you don’t need to be medicated. You don’t have to beat yourself up. You don’t have to tell yourself – or listen to others telling you – there’s something wrong with you.
Explore the fact that you might simply be sensitive. Read more…
“Joy to the world!” So exclaims the Christmas carol. Are you feeling joyful at the moment?
So many people I speak to at the moment are feeling tired, full of cold, wishing the days away until their Christmas break – as well as slightly (or openly!) dreading the amount of work Christmas entails.
…The shopping, the wrapping, the presents, the keeping-everyone-happy-but-forgetting-about-yourself push, push, push of the festive season.
I’ve found myself grumbling about Christmas too – I don’t feel Christmassy, I wish the weather was more seasonal, I’m fed up of Christmas already because it’s been around in the shops since the start of November… Bah humbug! Read more…
Ah, Christmas, lovely Christmas. Full of joy, full of sparkle, full of giving.
Full of panicked shoppers, full of to-do lists a mile long, full of demands on your time, full of making polite conversation at parties and socials with colleagues and semi-acquaintances and relatives you haven’t seen all year… Read more…
Fight, flight or freeze? Which one is your go-to reaction to stress and anxiety?
In our pressurised lives and busy, over-stimulating culture each and every day our body and mind is constantly bombarded with physical, emotional and mental stimuli – information, time demands, unexpected events…
Whether it’s constant deadlines, an over-flowing email inbox, an over-bearing boss, the daily commute, hearing your child is ill at nursery, looking after ageing parents, hearing/reading about injustice and violence in the news.
And add to this the more nebulous psycho-social pressures and fears which gnaw away about the state of the economy, your finances, your job, losing your home, fear of missing out, comparing your life with others’ …
… all of these provoke a stress response from your body.
And if you’re particularly sensitive to your surroundings and what’s going on around you and find it difficult to relax and unwind then your body’s stress response will more quickly tip you into feeling overwhelmed … and keep you there. Read more…