Creating Harmony & Balance in Body & Soul
I never shared much about my anxiety journey in the past and I realised that what I have learned may be of value to others.
Mental health is a big issue these days.
People are starting to come out of the closet and talk about it, which is great because then we can really start learning and helping each other through it.
I also know that the next generation of kids are dealing with lots of anxiety issues too. In part due to the fast pace of life, more screen time, social media and a pressure to always be ‘perfect’. Which in itself is ridiculous, as we are all an individual reflection of the divine. We are perfectly perfect – being ourselves.
My struggle with anxiety and stress over the past 20 years has led me to this point, it has forged me into the woman I am today.
Anxiety is not my enemy, it is my body communicating with me.
I have to listen to my body’s messages, or else I’m in trouble. My trouble is a kind of physical, mental, emotional anguish.
It affects my moods, my energy levels and my ability to socialise.
It didn’t start out like this, it was much more of a physical thing. My anxiety manifested as nausea, pain in my chest, stomach and diaphragm. Which of course led to panic attacks. Which took me to the GP very quickly, I thought I was having a heart attack, which is what most people with anxiety think at first.
It went away after a few months, but little did I know that anxiety and depression would always be with me.
I had to learn to ride it like a wave, ups and downs like the ocean. I had to learn to go with the flow, discover my healthy limits physically, mentally and emotionally.
Diet, exercise, meditation, relaxation, feeling connected, having meaningful relationships, finding my true path.
Why I Listen Now
Listening to my what my body and soul needs, is where I find my peace and calm. If I don’t listen I would be in a constant state of pain, mood swings and self-torture.
I had to learn my triggers.
- If I’m running late, my heart starts racing.
- If I drink a sugary treat like a coke, I feel it the next day as a cloud in my head and a bad temper.
- If I have a social event coming up, I’ll worry about it all week.
- If I haven’t exercised for a week I start to feel heavy, sad and melancholy.
- If I haven’t meditated for a week I start to feel my temper brewing and I have trouble controlling my thoughts and emotions.
- If I have a really busy week with no down time, my head becomes scattered and I lose focus.
- If I don’t spend quality time with family and friends I lose my sense of joy.
- If I don’t spend time doing the things that are important to me, I feel a sense of foreboding, like nothing really matters.
Just as Dr Seuss puts is so well – ‘Life is a great balancing act’!
Our Nervous System
When we are stressed, anxious or worried, our sympathetic nervous system kicks in. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates the body’s fight-flight-or-freeze response.
For example, it stimulates the heart rate, the adrenal glands, sweating and blood pressure. It is, however, constantly active at a basic level to maintain homeostasis.
When we are in a relaxed, state our parasympathetic nervous system , sometimes called the rest and digest system, conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, stabilizes temperature, increases intestinal and gland activity.
In short, if we are anxious or stressed our minds and bodies are not functioning at 100%.
We will suffer mentally and physically. Our personal and professional lives will not be getting our full attention, efficiency, creativity and productivity.
This is where my 4 tips for less stress comes in. At my recent workshop on managing & releasing anxiety (STRESS), the 4 main topics I covered were:
- The Mind is a Tool
- Body Scan Relaxation technique for ‘Tuning in’
I wanted to share more about these areas with you today as a way of creating less stress, and more harmony in your life from today.
#1 – Breathe
Breathwork is the foundation of wellness. Breathing is key to calming the mind and body.
So many of us today are caught in the trap of shallow breathing, gasping for air, we don’t even realise we are doing it.
Remember to breathe, people say, when you’re upset. Take 3 deep breaths, they say, when you’re angry. Breathe into a paper bag, when you’re freaking out. Keep breathing when you’re in pain, in labour.
When we breathe deeply into our bodies, our energy sinks into our centre.
It allows our mind and body to relax and replenish our blood flow, our oxygen levels and return to a normal state of functioning. Our breath brings our energy, our life force, our power back into ourselves.
Just breathe. Simple.
#2 – Meditation
Meditation is a tool. It takes our chaotic human mind that is made for thinking, analysing and planning, and calms it down.
We learn to observe our thoughts and emotions, rather than being our thoughts and emotions. We learn to understand our mind, use our mind as a tool. Instead of letting our thoughts/emotions run our lives, we get into the driver’s seat of our mind/body and take back control.
The first meditation I learnt, was to focus on the breath. Deep, slow breath in, deep slow breath out.
Breath work is the basis of relaxation, meditation, healing and living our best life. It is the first action we take when we are born into the world, and the last action we take when we leave this body.
#3 – The Mind is a Tool
When we are stressed or anxious, our energy gets stuck in our bodies. Some feel it as headaches, stomach ache, or like myself in the diaphragm area, like indigestion or heartburn.
When I acknowledge my physical pain as a mental block I can choose to calm my mind and heal my body.
#4 – Body Scan Technique
This simple technique can help you ‘tune in’ to your body and clear out blocks and tension.
- Step 1. Breathe
- Step 2. Tune in to your body, where is your tension stuck, breathe into it
- Step 3. Tune into your mind, notice your thoughts and beliefs
- Step 4. Cut & cancel the old thoughts and beliefs when you notice them.
- Step 5. Replace them with positive affirmations, new thoughts, new beliefs, new habits
- Step 6. Set your intentions, focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.
I believe that change must begin at home. We do this by learning to listen to our own minds and bodies.
When we can tune into our mind and body like tuning a TV set, we are on our way to healing ourselves, learning to create harmony and balance in body and soul. Living our best life at 100% efficiency.
May we be catalysts for our own change in this beautiful crazy world. Let’s do this New Year and make it count towards a better future for all.
Let’s start by breathing, one breath at a time.
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Facebook: Toni’s Healing Room
TONI’S HEALING ROOM
Toni Stevens is a qualified Massage Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Meditation Leader and Reiki Master. She started her journey into alternative healing and bodywork 20 years ago studying Reiki and Shiatsu. Toni then took a dive back into her photographic passion and started Panache Photography with her husband Kim which they are still running today. After tying the knot and adding two children Coco and Bodhi to the family, Toni decided it was time to follow her passion for massage and healing, taking up study again in 2014 and completed her Certificate 4 in Massage Therapy.
Toni has been practising Reiki for 20 years and has acquired insightful intuitive abilities. It is her goal to help you connect with yourself deep within, so you learn to listen to your own body. When we allow ourselves to open up and discover what is blocking us from reaching our true power source within may we begin our journey forward and discover new ways of being. Only when mind and body are in a calm state can we start to truly let go and heal ourselves of past injuries, trauma and emotions. It is Toni’s vision to hold a space where you can reach states of deep relaxation and calm, creating harmony and balance in body and soul.