Worry and anxiety happen when we experience fear about the future due to painful experiences in the past. I’ve heard it said that “if it’s hysterical, it’s historical!” Everything we experience is imprinted in our psyche and embedded in the physical and subtle parts of our body. Our tissues hold memories of the past.
Hysteria can surface in an instant when we’re triggered. I call it “issues in the tissues” and it’s well known that holding stress in the body can cause a myriad of health problems.
However, if anxiety is manifested in the mind, then we have the power to shift and direct it. We can choose what to focus on and learn how to recognize and release anxiety-causing thoughts. One of the yamas from the 8-fold path of yoga is aparigraha - the practice of non-attachment. Buddha says that attachment is the source of all suffering. We can become attached to our lives being a certain way and people being a certain way. Then, when/if they are not, we feel disappointment and tension.
Worry and anxiety also arise when we think we have to figure everything out at once or we are worried about not having enough! It helps to recognize what you can’t control and what you can do in each moment. We have the choice to accept and let go or resist, grasp, and struggle for how we want things to be. One creates ease, the other dis-ease.
Physical practices like yoga and running can calm the mind by increasing the flow of energy throughout the body. Meditation and breathwork can slow the heart rate, lessen chaotic conversation in our heads, and soothe the nervous system. One of my favorite breathing exercises is the cooling breath. Try it by breathing in slowly through your rolled up tongue and exhaling out your nose with your mouth closed. Repeat for a minute or two and notice the shift!
Most importantly, relieving anxiety requires us to be present in our lives which is an opportunity to trust the new and not yet experienced moment, one day at a time. If we embrace reality and surrender to what our lives are and what they are not, we reclaim the power to move forward with inner strength and serenity.
By Julie Bertagna; All Rights Reserved @2020