Do you find you start to feel more scattered and anxious in the Fall? If you do you're not alone.
Ayurveda - the ancient medicine of India and sister science to yoga - tells us that Fall is the season of Vata and Vata is the root of anxiety. Last year I hosted a wonderful interview with my dear friend Leigh Shand about Ayurveda and Vata in particular. If you want to learn more you can listen HERE.
Below are five simple things you can do right now to help calm anxiety this fall or any other time of the year.
Grounding is one of those terms we throw around a lot in the yoga world. But what the heck is it and how do you get grounded? I often think that being ungrounded is similar to anxiety. It’s that feeling that we all know, scattered, hard to focus, jumping from one thing to the next. It’s inherently unsettling, emotionally and physically. Many of the tips I’ve listed below will help keep you grounded. Here are a few other ideas:
Eat hearty food rather than raw (stews and soups vs salads)
Spend time in nature
Take time to stop and be still (even 5 minutes)
Make a list each morning of what you want to get done and prioritize the most important
Stand in mountain pose and feel your feet on the ground
Mindfulness is not meditation. Often asking someone who has anxiety to sit and be still to meditate is like caging a wild animal. Mindfulness can be a meditative practice but in this case it’s something you practice throughout the day. For example, take one minute everyday to look for, and appreciate something beautiful. I highly recommend trying my 7 days of mindfulness program. It’s free and will teach you simple but effective mindfulness tools that re easy to integrate into everyday. You can read more about it and sign-up on my Free Resources page.
GET SOME EXERCISE
There are several research studies that indicate regular exercise reduces anxiety and the effects of trauma. It’s unclear what type of exercise and for how long. My observation is that regular gentle exercise outdoors is the best. Opt for a walk or slow run, a slow bike ride or a swim. Often people with anxiety feel the need to pound the pavement or a punching bag. Rather than feeling like you need to pummel the anxiety out of you, think about coaxing it out with gentle but determined effort.
GO TO A YOGA CLASS
The best classes for anxiety include movement that is appropriate for your fitness level and includes both mindfulness and rest at the end. If you aren’t given at least 10 minutes to unwind at the end of your class try taking a few extra minutes to be quiet after class ends. Savasana is an essential part of a yoga practice but any slow movement or pose that keeps your body still near the end of class will count!
PRACTICE GRATITUDE AND SELF-COMPASSION
I know this is a tough one when your feeling anxious and scattered. We spend all together too much time telling ourselves we need to be different. Take a few minutes every day to find things to be grateful for and say something kind to yourself. If you find yourself in a negative loop look for ways to validate the opposite belief. For example if you have a habit of saying “I’m so stupid” what are some examples that prove you’re intelligent. Maybe it’s a suggestion you made at work that your boss loved, or you aced an exam, or you had a brilliant idea for how to make your life more efficient. Our brain believes what it hear the most so creating a habit of acknowledging your accomplishments with help to turn the volume down on your negative self-talk. You can listen to my guided meditation for Self-compassion HERE and my meditation for gratitude HERE.
If you are suffering from sever anxiety, GAD, PTSD, Trauma or any other severe form of anxiety then please speak to a Psychotherapist, Medical Doctor or contact me to discuss one-on-one Yoga Therapy options.
Katlin Robinson, C-IAYT, ERYT200, RYT500