This morning, Kimberly Beck, a registered yoga instructor came to my house to guide me through a lovely asana practice in my living room. It was fantastic, not only because Kimberly has an infectiously upbeat, light energy, but because unlike 99% of my days, THIS one began in a calm, very “centered” place.
Those who’ve known me, have certainly observed a level of frantic “busy-ness” and anxious energy (some get exposed to it more than others of course) that I operate with. Over the years, and numerous people telling me to “just relax”, I learned to manage my anxiety personality with a few insights, that have come largely from reading spiritual and some yoga-related texts.
First thing that I remind myself, when I’m getting that anxious/stressed feeling in my body, is that anxiety is a fear of what MIGHT happen. It’s the product of my very creative mind, conjuring up things that might NOT happen but that a trained mind that’s always “vigilant” for disaster or negative outcomes is very practiced at honing into! So, I ask myself- this thing you’re so worried about, is it truly something to worry about??? Is it possible I’m over-reacting? Yes? OK, how would I rather see things? Yes, from a place that’s more PEACEFUL! Good. Worried mind calms down.
Sometimes, keeping my mind at ease involves avoiding certain things I know spark my “worried mind”. Now, I’d like to think that most times we should confront, rather than avoid the things that scare us, but over the years, I’ve learned to manage my creative mind (in that it creates negative outcomes and disasters, so to speak) but not exposing myself to negative stuff, like the news or movies that can upset me. I’ve become a far more peaceful person by acknowledging that these things exist but choosing to focus on other things that I have influence over. Albert Einstein is said to have asked “is this a friendly universe?” If I can answer YES to that question, anxiety goes away! Seems that research supports this idea- belief in a friendly universe is good for our health. Gail Ironson from the University of Miami found that people with HIV who believed a universal power was loving remained healthier longer than people who believed in a universal power/God that was punishing.
Because I want to keep this short today, I will leave you with a thought and then some links to check out on your own time. Early in our yoga practice together this morning, Kimberly reminded me of a little piece of wisdom I needed to hear- we all want peace, and when we have it, live it, we affect others around us. It’s a gift and it’s contagious.
See if this happens in your life- your emotional state gets matched by those around you. If you’re agitated, how long before those around you are too? I practice this consciously at work, because people come to me in pain and carrying frustration or disappointment about their bodies not co-operating well. I need to offer a calm presence otherwise together we would feed that frustrated, disappointed state.
Check out these links, if you’re interested:
Harvard Medical Article on Benefits of Yoga for Anxiety and Depression
An e-course on how to meditate
Calming Mantra- what’s mantra?
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