One of the biggest stressors or root causes of illness today is anxiety caused by the many challenges we face in life which can cause us to feel stressed. This will only increase as our pace of life increases and the pressures to provide for ourselves and our families becomes more pronounced.
Our emotions and mental state are intricately linked to our physical state of being. So if we are having any issues with balancing our emotions and / or mental focus, this will ultimately impact on our physical bodies in a negative way – resulting in an illness. It is also possible we will have an accident and injure ourselves during anxious and stressful times because we are not focused on what we should be and are not paying attention to what is around us.
Therefore it is a good practice to have some quick and simple methods to prevent ourselves from feeling overwhelmed and unable to deal with even simple problems as they arise. Once we have mechanisms in place to deal with anxiety and stress firmly entrenched in our minds and lives, it becomes routine and eventually second nature.
Obviously it starts with what is in our thoughts and where we are mentally focused at any given time. As human beings, we tend to focus more strongly on negative things than we do on the positive. It’s true that many of us seem to have the belief that living in this world means that we must constantly struggle and experience hardship. Some of that is due to our experiences and upbringing which has caused us to have pre-programmed ideas and concepts about the way our lives unfold. Sometimes this is also due to our lack of belief in ourselves and our capability to not only survive, but prosper in life.
So the first step is to really look closely at ourselves and what kinds of beliefs and attitudes we have about our lives and the way we live. Do we have self-defeating thoughts when something difficult comes up? Do we instantly think; “here I go again … doomed to fail like I’ve always done…” or “This is too much. I’m not strong enough”. These are the kinds of self-doubts and negative thoughts that we need to quickly change if we are going to learn to navigate challenges in a more constructive way.
So the idea is to deliberately change any negative thoughts into their opposite as soon as they come up. This is a way of consciously changing your mental focus in an instant. So you might for instance change the above-mentioned thoughts to: “This is a problem, but it’s not going to be like before. This time I’ll get through it” and “I am strong and I have what it takes to get through this”.
It takes a bit more work to get the emotions to follow suit because we are essentially reactive creatures by nature, but you will find that the emotions will start to fall in line with what you are thinking as you get better at refocusing your thoughts and you keep working at it.
A good structure to use to help re-program your thinking and self-beliefs is to use affirmations. Affirmations are not like prayers in the sense that you are asking some power outside of you for help, or to change aspects of your life – rather they are almost like powerful instructions or blueprints that you are giving to yourself and the universe to set up a new paradigm or reality – one where you succeed.
Affirmations therefore take the form of statements which you say, think or write repetitively. It’s not enough just to think or say them however. They have more power if you repeat them more than once, and if you truly feel and believe what you are saying. This is thought backed by emotion, which is a very powerful thing, because this is how you make things happen and how you create your own reality.
The first thing for you to realize is that you are a winner. You have what it takes to get through anything and to make things happen the way you want them to.
On a physical level, if you’re going through a lot of stress and anxiety, make sure you are taking care of your body as much as possible. When we are stressed, it puts a lot of pressure on our major organs – the heart and blood pressure especially. We use up a lot of energy worrying and fretting, and thus we deplete our body’s resources in the form of B vitamins especially.
Often when we are feeling anxious, we don’t eat properly and don’t get enough sleep. So it’s really important to make sure you eat little and often, and foods that are high in energy. Munching on nuts, seeds and fruits (dried or fresh) helps, as does having nutritious drinks such as fruit smoothies with Spirulina.
Meditation is an excellent way to help relax your body and mind, and will help you sleep better if you practice it before bed at night.
Another excellent tool for dealing with challenges and the anxiety and stress that can result is to Lighten Up. Although you won’t feel like it, goofing around and being silly, sharing a joke with friends, or watching a funny show on TV can all help to lighten your mood by changing your focus and taking away from what is troubling you. Laughter really is the best medicine, and this changes your energy considerably - as well as your thoughts. Sometimes our problems are really not as big as they may seem, and if we can mentally make them seem smaller, they will loose some of their impact on us (if not all of it). It’s good to learn to laugh at yourself, and to see the people or events that are troubling you as something ridiculous and silly (like for instance imagining someone as a funny cartoon character!).
And finally, Visualize things the way you want them to be. Keep seeing yourself happy and fulfilled and living the way you want to live. Our imaginations are there for a reason. It is a powerful tool that we use as part of our creative energy. The more you can visualize something, the more real it will become as it acts like the affirmations – an instruction for the universe to manifest in accordance with what we are seeing.