For as long as I can remember, I viewed this world has hostile and lived in constant anxiety. I was super shy as a child and couldn’t stand being in social situations. I cried in my bedroom as fear and over-thinking took me over in my early teens. As a young adult, I turned to alcohol to sooth my constant sense of unease.
I was never very good at navigating the stressors of life and was easily overwhelmed. Perfectionism, over-thinking, worry, all these dysfunctional mental processes made for a non-joyous experience of life.
We don’t have to suffer with anxiety and overwhelm! There are ways to re-train the subconscious to start believing that everything is ok and will work out. There are ways to be present, in the flow, and enjoy the moment even when things seem to be going crazy.
I’m so amazed at where I came from to where I am now! Peace is my go-to feeling now, and I never thought that was possible for me. Consistency is key to changing ingrained mental patterns. If you can make time for even one of these processes a couple days per week, you will be amazed by the rising levels of calm, harmony and clarity in your life.
Tool #1: Meditation
By faaaar the best tool for reducing anxiety. This one needs to be practiced daily for a few days to start seeing results, but you WILL see them. Even just starting with 3 minutes per day, then slowly increasing. I don’t usually meditate for more than 15 minutes and that is enough for me.
You can meditate in silence, just focusing on your breathing. You can say “Breathing in, breathing out” with every breath. You can count the breaths. You can watch a burning candle. You can focus on a constant sound.
I listen to flute music on Pandora and focus on the sound of my fan. Sometimes I do guided meditations, especially at the beginning of my meditation journey. Binaural beats are also a useful way to get into a meditative state.
The idea is to turn off the conscious mind. We can’t always stop the mental chatter, but meditation teaches us how to dissociate from the thoughts. We are not our thoughts, we are observing them. When they come up in meditation we acknowledge them and let them float on by. We don’t attach to them. We don’t say they are good or bad. And we return our focus to our breath/ sound/ the flame/ etc.
Meditation connects us to our true selves. Our inner spirit is more than our brain, more than our body, more than what we can experience with our senses. Meditation gets us in flow with the eternal part of ourselves that is not bound by anything.
Meditation takes practice, but it will change your life!
Tool# 2: Flow
Flow is like meditation in action. When you are in the flow, you are completely present in what you are doing and enjoying every moment. You are in alignment and as Abraham would call it, “tuned in tapped in turned on“.
When you are in flow, you are so focused on the moment that you stop over-thinking or worrying, and panic disappears. You may have to practice bringing yourself back to the present and gently redirect your thoughts if they wander back to what you were thinking about. Just like in meditation, you acknowledge that the thoughts are passing in your mind, and you let them go and return to your focus.
A good way to get started with flow is to carve out time every week doing something you enjoy. It could be something you always wanted to do, like take a dance class or learn a new language. Maybe you want to get back into playing an instrument that you used to play, or do some art such as drawing or painting. Find something that gets you excited but also takes some practice to get good at.
Stay dedicated to your flow exercise. Train yourself to be present in the moment. Find a buddy to do it with if that will keep you on track. You will feel yourself start to loosen up as you stay consistent for a few weeks. Stick to it and you will start finding flow in everything you do.
Once you master the art of being in flow, there is nothing you can’t do and nothing you won’t enjoy. Your stress levels will drop and your fun levels will rise. Flow is where true fulfillment in life lies!
Tool #3: Schedule your day
I used to think that I never had enough time. I would quickly get overwhelmed when faced with multiple tasks and my thoughts would become scattered. I’d get so distracted by how I was going to get it all done that I wouldn’t actually get anything done and then I would feel panicked. This inevitably led to avoidance and shame.
First of all, I had to change my self-talk. I started telling myself that I had more than enough time to do anything I wanted to do. I also stopped thinking of my tasks as things I had to get done and replaced them with “I get to cook an amazing meal” and “I get to work and have experiences that propel me to the growth I want” and “I get to learn how to optimize my time and become a master at doing many things I love with peace and ease”.
Then I manifested a ton of time by scheduling my day out hour by hour. I was wary of doing this one at first. I didn’t want to lose my spontaneity or overwhelm myself even more by having to stick to a schedule. But that fear was unfounded.
I found I had far more time than I realized! I had been spending a great amount of time being sidetracked and on parts of projects that didn’t really matter. Having time limits allowed me to focus like a laser on the task and get so much more done! Spontaneity is no problem because I always end up with more time than I originally thought and I’m not so strict that I can’t move things around.
What a game-changer! Having everything scheduled out for the day frees my mind and energy to be in the moment for each task. So much more enjoyable and so much more time!
Tool #4: The Place Mat Process
This one I learned from Abraham/ Esther Hicks in the book Ask and It Is Given. The Place Mat Process came to be because at one point in Esther’s journey she found that she had a HUGE to-do list and it was starting to weigh her down emotionally. She was beginning to feel a lack of freedom.
She was sitting in a restaurant one day waiting for her food to come, sifting through the pages of her to-do list. Abraham spoke in her mind and told her to draw a line down the center of her place mat and write on the top of the left side “Things I Will Do Today” and on the right side “Things I Would Like the Universe to Do”.
After she finished writing, Abraham told her to look over her long list and chose only the items that she absolutely intended to do today and write them on the left side of the place mat. Then, Abraham told her to write everything else on the right side.
Esther was getting in the way of the Universe bringing her desires to her by getting overwhelmed and acting as though she was doing everything by herself. All she needed to do was identify her desire, ask for it, and then get out of the way so it could happen.
The lesson here is having faith that what you have asked for has been given and releasing it to the Universe. The Universe is all-powerful! We are not in this thing alone! Everything works out for us if we believe. The answer will come. But in the meantime, feel peace knowing that it’s taken care of.
Tool #5: Self-care
This one, for many of us, takes a minute to learn. I used to feel guilty if I took a nap, said I couldn’t cover for someone at work, splurged on make-up or even just a coffee. There are many messages in our society that tell us that we need to work hard and not be selfish.
Self-care is not selfish! You can’t truly help anyone else unless you are fully cared for. Also, unless you passionately love yourself, you can never genuinely love another. Showing yourself love is the root of all healing and all things peaceful.
If you are overwhelmed, stressed, feeling pressure, and feeling like you don’t have enough time for yourself, then it’s time to MAKE time. Don’t expect someone else to “save” you and don’t wallow in self-pity. I don’t mean to seem harsh, but what I’m really saying is the power is yours. It’s your decision to stay in overwhelm and negative emotions, or to love yourself and find relief.
Make time tonight to take a bath. Soak in hot water with rose-scented Epsom salt (or whatever flavor), light candles, play some soft music. Maybe get a sugar scrub to rub over your body. Really pamper yourself and feel the love. You deserve it! Life isn’t supposed to be so hard. It’s supposed to be enjoyable. Don’t feel guilty for deciding to indulge yourself.
Things will still get done. The world will not end if you decide to take a nap. Slowly start re-training your subconscious with thoughts that its ok to care for yourself. Tell yourself “I love you” daily. Maybe hang a note saying so on your bathroom mirror.
You are not in this life alone. You have the Universe and you have your inner self. Love yourself. Be kind to yourself. Soothe yourself. You will find that the journey is far less stressful and far more pleasurable.