I'm checking in with you today to see how you are.
I know that many of us have been feeling anxious about the state of the world recently. Indeed, we are facing some some unique challenges at the moment. Wherever we are in the world, things have been anxiety inducing lately. It is so easy to give in to fear and overwhelm. The idea of peace feels so far away from our day to day challenges or world events.
The challenge is that when we are in a state of fear, or stress, or anxiety, two big things happen: #1 - Our brains do not function in the same way and so we struggle to make good decisions. #2 - Our immune systems are suppressed and this is, of course, not a time we want that to happen.
So, here's the thing: I wanted to remind you that you're not alone in this oh-so-common struggle against anxiety. And to let you know that there is hope and real solutions available.
Here are my top recommendations for staying peaceful and healthy:
Keep Breathing. Breathing is my go-to whenever I need some peace. Any time you feel stressed, bring your attention back to your breath. You watch your breath come in and go out and instantly you’re in the present – rather than letting your mind run away with you. Besides simply bringing your attention to your breath throughout the day, you can also practice making your exhale very long, and as you breathe out, imagine you’re releasing tension and fear. Another reason to practice breathing is to keep your lungs strong and resilient. All day long we fall into the habit of shallow breathing. Our lungs have a capacity of about 6 liters of air, but we usually take breaths of only half a liter in size!
Question your thoughts. Ask yourself – “Is it 100% true? If it’s not 100% true, then why am I believing this thought? Remember you don’t have to believe everything you think?
Move. Our body has a recipe it goes into to feel any emotion. If you interrupt that recipe you will change how you feel. Get up walk around, stretch, straighten your posture, exercise. Movement will help change anxiety.
Smile. When you smile you move 43 muscles in your face. When that happens, it releases good chemicals in the brain to make you feel better. Moreover, smiling it someone will make them change how they feel and smile back.
You’re not alone. Stressful times can bring you gratitude – by reminding you that you’re not alone, that there is something deeper you can put your trust in, and that we can manage challenging things. Don’t isolate- reach out to others in need. Even if it is a phone call or a letter. And ask for help from others. Even if it is a need to talk or cry. It means a lot to all.
Clay and Sonja
What suggestions do you have for this unprecedented time?? We would love to hear.