Managing Anxiety with Mindfulness

Managing Anxiety with Mindfulness

Anxiety is fear of the future.
It’s the feeling that, at any minute the other shoe is gonna drop.
There is nothing rational about it.

I am in no way dismissing the very realness of chemical imbalance and the value of western medicine. I am sharing a quick snippit of my personal journey and my transition from pharmaceuticals to a holistic lifestyle that supports my mental and emotional health.
Our stories hold power...and maybe it’ll help someone, somewhere.

I used to suffer from crippling anxiety. I would use all sorts of unhealthy coping mechanisms to numb my senses. ALL. SORTS.
After losing my dad and leaving an abusive relationship of 3 years, I eventually went on antianxiety meds and antidepressants. It was necessary at the time and helped me tremendously.

I really, REALLY didn’t want to go on meds. I’m a hippy to the core and the thought of ingesting chemicals created by some dude making millions off my mental instability killed me. I promised myself I’d use them to get my head straight and then do everything I could to positively change my lifestyle so I could get the hell off them. I was able to do exactly that. I had to create a customized mental-management toolbox and have it handy at all times. If it weren’t for that, I quite possibly would not be here today.

For me, my path included self-study, books, the release of  unsupportive “friends” from my life, a regular Yoga and Meditation practice, A LOT of nature walks, journaling and simply getting real honest with myself.
I’ve been off meds for about 7 years.
My approach to managing my anxiety is entirely a holistic one.
I fall back into old patterns now and then, but I know how to pick myself up, dust myself off and carry on. I used to stop at falling down.  

I teach an incredible practice called Kundalini Yoga,  that has been my saving grace for reducing stress, soothing and strengthening my nervous system. I want to share 2 meditations that I find useful when anxiety arises for me. I hope it can assist you as well


Alternate Nostril Breathing

This particular technique is very simple, yet very effective. It is extremely helpful when we feel off-center and we still must function in the everyday world. For instance, we may be scheduled for an important interview, or business endeavor and find ourselves extremely nervous or irritable. This technique can help us calm ourselves and be effective in our communication.

Posture: Sit with a straight spine. You may be in Easy Pose or on a chair, wherever you can keep your spine straight and be comfortable.

Mudra and Breath: Using the thumb and index fingers of the right hand, make a "U" of the two fingers, using the thumb to close off the right nostril and the index finger to close off the left nostril.

Close the left nostril, inhale deeply through the right nostril. At the end of the inhale, close the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril.

Now inhale through the left nostril fully and deeply, then close the left nostril and exhale through the right one.

Again, inhale through the right nostril and continue alternate nostril breathing. The breath must be complete and full on both the inhalation and exhalation cycles.

Time: Continue for 3 – 5 minutes.

To End: Inhale deeply, hold the breath a few seconds, lower the hand, and exhale.



 Meditation to Conquer Self-Animosity

The greatest enemy is the self. Self-defeating activity and self-animosity occur when we do not accept ourselves. We instinctively reject self-confirmed continuity. We will oppose our own success andaccomplishment just to break with steadiness. That break is the assertion of ego: the attempt at marking and possessing something in Time and Space. This self-animosity distracts us from the real gift of human life: the capacity to confront and experience the self in relationship to the Unknown Infinity of our Self.
This meditation conquers the state of self-animosity and gives you the ability for constant consciousness in support of the core self.

Posture: Sit in an Easy Pose with a light jalandhar bandh. Maintain an alert attitude

Mudra (hand position): Relax the arms at the sides and raise the forearms up and in toward the chest at the heart level. Draw the hands into fists and point the thumbs straight up toward the sky. Press the fists together in such a manner that the thumbs and fists are touching. The palms are toward each other. This meditation requires the upper torso to be held straight without rocking back and forth.

Eye Position: Fix the eyes at the tip of the nose.

Breath: Inhale through the nose. Exhale completely through the mouth. Inhale deeply and smoothly through the mouth. Exhale through the nose.

Time: Continue for 3 minutes. Gradually build the time to 11 minutes. Practice daily, but do not exceed 22 minutes in any one session.

To End: lnhale and stretch the arms up over the head. Keep the stretched position as you take 3 more deep breaths. Relax.

Joanna BarberaComment