How to cope with an all too common mental state.
The world today can often feel like a distressing place, with more and more of us suffering from bouts of anxiety. Mobile phones, social media, the “always on” digital world, not to mention the stresses of jobs and family, all ramp up this sense of unease and worry.
Anxiety can present itself as an acute moment of distress, but is often followed by a feeling of unease and worry, that lasts for much longer.
The consequences for those suffering from anxiety can be debilitating – restricting the things we do and the people we meet, making our lives ever more insular.
So what’s really going on when we feel anxious, and how can we overcome anxiety to start living fuller, happier lives?
Fortunately, there’s some simple and quick techniques you can learn to get a hold on anxiety. Let’s find out more.
Anxiety and social media
Life is a stressful business for most of us. With constantly competing demands and pressures, it’s no wonder that our bodies cry out for help, every now and then.
Social media has a lot to answer for when it comes to this prevalence of anxiety in our lives – creating a ‘selfie’ culture of endless scrutiny and impossible standards of perfection.
Mindlessly scrolling through our Insta feed puts us into constant overdrive – stressing our system and draining our energy. Not to mention how smartphones are changing our brain patterns, impeding sleep and upsetting our emotional balance. So what can we do?
In Chinese medicine anxiety is seen as a perfectly natural emotion. Happiness, after all, is not a permanent state. In fact, every emotion, good or bad, has its place. What is a problem is when one emotion gains prevalence and starts to impact on your wellbeing and health.
Chinese medicine reveals that each of our organs regulates a particular emotion. When an organ’s energy is out of balance, the corresponding emotion can dominate your mood patterns. The heart is the ruling organ connected with both joy and anxiety. It is supported by the liver, which energetically processes stress and emotional distress.
Healing your anxiety
This powerful interplay between the body and our emotions means the Chinese treatment of anxiety is to work from the inside out. So, rather than to mask the symptoms with anti-depressants, we work on healing anxiety from every angle – emotional, environmental, diet and lifestyle.
Engaging your breath
The breath, when used correctly, is a simple and powerful way to relieve anxiety.
A bit of science: The vagus nerve is the most important element of the parasympathetic nervous system (the one that calms you down when you’re stressed). It acts as the mind-body connection, and is the cabling between your heart’s emotions and your gut instincts.
You can’t control this part of the nervous system on demand, but you can indirectly stimulate your vagus nerve with the right breathing technique. This in turn calms the mind and heart rate, deeply oxygenates the blood and overrides any emotional negativity.
Exercising your body
Your emotions get stored in the body as deeply-held tension, that can lead to all sorts of physical and health problems.
Feeding your mind
A recent study in Psychiatry Research showed eating fermented foods can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
As we’ve already discussed, anxiety is associated with the heart and liver. When an organ’s energy is out of balance, the corresponding emotion can dominate our mood patterns.
While the heart is the primary organ regulating anxiety, the liver plays an important supporting role – energetically processing emotional distress. The taste of sour, found in most fermented foods, stimulates liver function. So help reduce the onset of anxiety with a healthy diet that includes fermented foods, like Kefir, Kimchi or Sauerkraut.
Katie’s one-minute Rituals
Chinese medicine has discovered, over thousands of years, many ways to tackle health and wellbeing issues like anxiety.
Our founder and resident Chinese medical practitioner, has distilled these ancient wisdoms into modern rituals that can easily fit into our daily lives.
The best part is they only take a minute.