09 May The Peace in the Storm: 4 Tools I Use To Calm Anxiety
Four top tips to calm anxiety and nerves in any occasion.
I was born anxious. A child in the womb I picture myself bouncing around making as much noise as possible without physically yet being able to do so. While I dealt with a lot of anxiety growing up well into my 20’s, I didn’t know how to resonate with what it actually was, let alone be able to cope with it to find a calm.
What changed was being able to recognize the feeling of anxiety, what that meant to me, some things that caused it to flare up and learning (and still learning) new tools to help appease it and keep it at bay. The top helpful tools, sharing in today’s blog post.
“You should try yoga, you’ll love it and it will be so good for you right now,” said a nurse to me while I was being treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma back at 19. “No way, that’s boring and not my speed for a workout,” was my reply. A few years down the line, I was kicking the can (at myself) and taking a 200-hour intensive for yoga teacher training getting my certification.
When I found the class and teacher that I connected with, it was a game changer. I healed my mind and body disconnect, was able to be more flexible in my day to day, and became less reactive to people, places or situations that irked me. Nurse was right, do yoga.
As a kid, I would have to be dragged inside at the end of the sunset to get me to go indoors. Why? It felt good. To this day, it still does. Especially when I travel, I make it a point to get some outdoor air to ground, refresh and renew. Something about those ions that the elements provide and help calm the nervous system, water, flowers, earthing, sand and fresh air pull out the energies that make me want to go haywire.
Even if it’s for 20 minutes walking from the airport terminal to the uber station, perusing along a beach on a weekend day in my favorite yoga hoodie, or taking a run through nearby park in a city I’m visiting, nature grounds, heals and restores.
It’s a given we breathe, but are we actively taking note on how we’re breathing? I didn’t. Being honest, for so many years, I breathed by default and gasped for air when I ran in sports (childhood asthma, I was told). That was about it.
When I started training in yoga, I learned the power of the breath and actively using breath work to calm my heart rate, sooth my nerves and calm my reactivity. It’s like a superpower that I get to carry with me whenever and wherever that takes up no space, cost nothing and can change my mood and do a reset in moments. I can even do this walking in my favorite pair of sneakers doing so indoors and outdoors!
Inhale. Exhale. Breathe in four. Hold for four. Breathe out four. Hold for four. Or, simply follow the inhale up the spine and exhale down the spine. You can do both of these without anyone noticing and just feel the difference immediately throughout your body.
I’m a creator, inside and out. As an actor, I visualize surroundings, characters, emotions, sets, and entire worlds around me using my senses, histories and mind. When I want to feel something, I can close my eyes and visualize the image that best emotes that expression. Having visuals of places that bring me peace, joy, lightness, happiness and ease can impact my feelings instantly and change the perspective.
A bonus of visualization, it’s a cheap way to travel if your place of calm is a beach like mine. Plus, what you think in your thoughts can actually become your reality, so you’re calming anxiety and manifesting at the same time. Win, win.