Help for Anxiety | DARE
What a year this week has been! (author unknown)
Let's cut to the chase, these are circumstances that would cause anyone anxiety. It is a very natural human response to events like these. If you've already been struggling with anxiety our current season could very well trigger and escalate it. But there is HOPE! You can learn to overcome and diffuse anxiety.
I want to share a resource that has proved to be an absolute game changer. It is simple and practical. It's not easy but it does work.
The DARE Response
You can read it for free on Kindle Unlimited (free one month trial). Or get it on Audible or buy the hard copy.
You can also get the app in the app store that is full of audio recordings. These audio's share information from the book, guide you through meditations or breathing exercises and just overall provide a ton of help. Fortunately I won a year long subscription to the app and so I have access to all of the content. It's really good and worth getting but you can definitely start with the free version.
The author also just released this video pertaining to our current pandemic. (Disclaimer I haven't watched it yet.)
Another great way to bring down your stress response and calm your nervous system is through breathing exercises. I know people can be skeptical about this - I was at one point but I've also done a ton of research on the effects of breathing exercises on our body and nervous system and the results are clear - it works.
My favourite is one that my counsellor taught me (and not to name drop but one that Ghandi's aid taught her).
For this keep your counting at the same pace the whole way through.
Do this 6x in a row ( you can take other breaths in between) and do it 4x a day.
* I found it hard to hold for 16 initially. Work up to it. *
Lastly - I can't emphasize enough how dramatically being out in nature can affect your mental health. (It affects everything - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health).
I've heard it said that spending 2 hours a week in nature is demonstrated to be the equivalent of taking an antidepressant or anti anxiety medication + talking to a therapist an hour a week.
That is huge in itself.
It would take volumes of books to list all of the ways that nature benefits you, but here are a couple interesting tidbits.
Looking at fractals in nature (repeating patterns) is proven to reduce stress by up to 60%.
"In a 2007 study, men taking two hour walks in the woods over a two day period exhibited a 50% increase in levels of natural killer cells—the body's disease fighting agents." www.natureandforesttherapy.org
You can check out books like The Nature Principle - Richard Louv and Forest Bathing - Qing Li for a ton more information.
The outdoors are still open. Even getting outside for 20 min a day will help.
I know so many things feel different right now - because they are. And we're all adjusting to new schedules and lifestyles. I hope you're taking the time to address your mental health. Be so gentle with yourself right now.
Be kind, be kind, be kind.
Be kind to others but just as important, be kind to yourself.