Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry are caused by too much future,
and not enough presence. – Eckhart Tolle.
I’ve previously shared some simple steps to stop worrying. As with so many other things, my cats have been my greatest teachers when it comes to living in the moment, and when you do that, it’s pretty much impossible to worry. I try to listen to them whenever I find myself sliding back into my old worry habits, but when I find that I can’t break the worry cycle, then I know that there’s something else going on. And usually, that means that worry has escalated into anxiety.
Anxiety is worry’s ugly cousin. While worry happens in the thinking part of your brain, anxiety comes from the limbic system, which is responsible for our emotions. While worry and anxiety are closely related, it’s usually a little easier to short-circuit worry. Worry is centered around something specific, whereas anxiety is a more generalized feeling of unease.
Both worry and anxiety can have damaging effects on your mental, emotional and physical health. Anxiety in the extreme leads to panic attacks, which, I’m told, feel very much like a heart attack to those experiencing them.
The following tips can help you reduce your anxiety levels before they get out of control:
Breathe. A deep breath can gently shift your energy. On each inhale, remind yourself that you’re inhaling peace. On each exhale, consciously let go of anxiety.
Move your body. Get up and stretch, go for a short walk, or turn on some music and dance around the room. If you’re feeling extremely anxious, do something that gets your heart rate up – it helps to channel all that adrenaline circulating in your system into something positive.
Redirect your mind. Don’t dwell on the problems that made you anxious to begin with. Focus on something else instead. Watch a comedy on television. Read a good book. Play with your cats.
Learn how to relax. Take a long bath. Meditate. Take a nap. Spend time with your cats, your family, and friends.
Gather information. Identify what makes you so anxious, and get the facts. Chances are, you’ve blown the issue out of proportion. Worry and anxiety are not known for being grounded in rational thought.
Look into herbal remedies or supplements. Herbs such as Kava Kava or Valerian can help reduce anxiety.
Pet your cats. Studies have shown that just petting a cat can lower your blood pressure. It’s impossible to stay anxious while watching a sleeping cat.
By learning how to control your anxiety, you’ll not only benefit your own health, you’ll also benefit your cats. Cats and their humans often mirror each others’ physical and emotional states. Cats are sensitive creatures as well as natural healers, and in my Reiki practice, I’ve sometimes seen them take on their human’s problems, often in an attempt to heal them. Because of the bond shared between cat and human in a close relationship, energetic imbalances may be shared as well. So if you’re not managing your anxiety levels for your own health, do it for your cats!
Do you often feel anxious? What helps you cope?
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