Looking back, I think I’ve always dealt with some level of anxiety, but it wasn’t something that I felt I couldn’t control. Yes, I had insomnia. Yes, I would often forget to eat and drink water. Yes, I would find myself obsessing over small things sometimes, but that’s something that happens to everybody, right? That is one of the many problems with anxiety; we’ve normalized it to the point where we think that it is ‘normal’ to feel that way all the time. One of my favorite phrases is, “We’re so used to feeling miserable that we don’t know how to feel good.”
So, let’s start from the beginning: what is anxiety? After years of living different phases of anxiety and working with people who are living with high anxiety and constant amounts of it, I’ve learned that anxiety is a fear of the future, of the unknown. It’s fear of the things that are out of our control. Fear of trusting God, the universe, or whatever it is that your highest force is.
I remember waking up the day after graduating from my Yoga Teacher Training. I felt like I was still living in a dream and then it hit me. A huge and overwhelming wave of anxiety that I’ve never felt before and that would stay with me for the following months. Even though it was hard, I was able to balance my mind using Yoga and Ayurvedic strategies and lifestyle changes. Here are the tips and strategies I used to deal with my anxiety.
Set a routine that is easy to follow
Ayurveda explains that the mind loves freedom, but the body needs structure. As we know, anxiety is a mental disorder so we first need to manage our minds by setting boundaries. Your routine needs to be simple because we don’t want to overwhelm ourselves even more. Having a routine is calming for the mind because it knows what to expect. It brings some control in our lives and that is a relief for the anxious mind. It’s one less thing that we need to think about. It helps us come back to our bodies.
Eat warm, easy to digest meals with root vegetables
Our bodies shut down bodily functions that are not needed when we feel anxious, including digestion. Also, think about the qualities or Gunas of anxiety. It feels light, cold, scattered, and mobile. Ayurveda says like increase like, and so, eating warm, cozy, nurturing, and easy to digest foods will tell our minds and bodies that we are safe. If our body feels safe, our body will function again.
Come back to your body
We take flight because we have nothing holding us down to our bodies. So, dance, practice Yoga, have a workout that makes you sweat, go out with friends and family, seek support from people you trust, practice grounding meditation, walk barefoot on the ground, enjoy. Remember that you have a body and it’s safe to come back to it.
Questions about using Yoga and Ayurveda for managing anxiety? Reach out to me at @iamvanessarivero
Ayurvedic Counselor + Yoga Instructor + Health Coach