Resources for When You’re Struggling with Fear, Anxiety, & Doubt

Well, it has certainly been a tough few weeks for the world. At the time of writing this, we are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and to say it’s been scary AF is an understatement, as far as I’m concerned.

People have died due to contracting the virus. Others have fell gravely ill. Millions of people have lost their jobs and/or businesses. The stock market has tumbled into concerning territory. People are hoarding supplies and store shelves grow more bare by the moment.

Again with the scary AF.

Even as a lightworker and someone who is super spiritual and tends to err on the side of optimism and faith, I’ve been struggling too. We’re in unprecedented territory, and our very way of being for so long has been turned on its head.

It’s hard not to spiral into fear and uncertainty.

Luckily, there ARE things that we can do to ground ourselves, work through our fear, and tap into inner wisdom and the love and light of the universe so that we can hopefully feel a little less terrorized and panicked.

Which is why I wanted to share some resources with you that I’ve found so helpful at this time. These practices have really helped me work through my anxiety and overwhelm so that I’m not in a constant state of terror and helplessness. Check these out:

Facing Fear with Compassion w/Elizabeth Gilbert: I have loved Elizabeth Gilbert since the Eat, Pray, Love days. Her writing is beautiful, relatable, and inspirational. I’ve also seen her speak live, and she really is a weaver of words, not just in writing, but in speaking too. Needless to say, I was super excited when I saw her post on Instagram about this talk she did for Insight Timer. In it, Elizabeth not only shares lots of love and inspiration, but one of her own personal practices to help work through fear. You can check this out on the Insight Timer app for free!

Guided Meditation to Reduce Panic, Anxiety, & Worry by The Honest Guys: I’ve been meditating for over a decade, and although I tend to bounce around from my own meditation practices, to guided meditations, to in person meditations, I always come back to The Honest Guys for guided tracks. Their YouTube channel is one of the best I’ve seen for free meditations. They are all high quality, and there are soooo many different types to choose from. But for today, and the current state of the world, and trying to work through panic and fear, this one is a good one to turn to!

Practicing Gratitude: I know it may sound cheesy, or maybe even impossible given what is going on right now, but I promise, tapping into gratitude really can shift your state. My own practice is to journal my gratitudes each night, but sometimes I’ll also stop for a quick hit when I need it. And I’ve needed it a lot lately. Seriously, when you find yourself spinning out from fear and overwhelm, take a moment to stop, breathe, ground yourself in the moment, and write down (or speak aloud or think to yourself) three things you’re truly grateful for.

Journaling: When in doubt (or panic or fear or anxiety or anything really lol), write it out. Seriously. Sometimes we just need a release. And there’s nothing as powerful as putting your own words, thoughts, and feelings to paper. Let them go. Acknowledge them. All of those feelings have an energy, and one way to release that energy is to write it out.

LOL: Yep, good ole laughter as medicine. I’ll also admit that humor has been a defense mechanism for me my entire life, and there’s a reason for it – it works! Instead of focusing on what you can’t control, find something to laugh about. A quick search across the internet can help you find funny memes, but some of my favorite outlets lately have been daydreamnchill, shitheadsteve, thefunnyintrovert on Instagram.

I hope you find one, some, or all of these resources helpful, now, and in future times of need. Please know that I’m sending you love and light, and I truly mean that. It’s part of my evening routine – sending out waves of love, light, and healing to the world each night, from my soul to yours 🙂

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Presence & Breath

It’s no secret that soul searching, spirituality, meditation, and all those good things are a big part of my life. Personal growth is a bit of an obsession of mine, and I love to learn new things and try new practices as part of my personal development and spiritual journey. Meditation is something that I practice daily, and today I want to write about two practices that are closely related to meditation: presence and breath.

A few years ago, I participated in this awesome group coaching program focused on eating disorders and body image issues. The foundation for this work was very soul-centered, which is one of the reasons why I was drawn to it in the first place. In fact, I was so drawn to this organization, that I now work for it, helping others with personal growth, transformation, healing, and the like.

Two of the pillars of this work are presence and breath, which I’ve learned from personal experience can have a profound effect on our day to day life, especially when it comes to daily stress and anxiety.

Being present on the daily is a challenging endeavor. It can take dedicated and constant observation of your thoughts and feelings to shift into presence. The cool thing about this practice though, is that you quickly discover that in those fleeting moments of full presence, it really is a rewarding and perspective-shifting experience. I find this especially true as someone who is trying to:

  • Connect with my body on a deeper level,
  • Be more aware of my life and how I show up day in and day out,
  • Access higher states of consciousness and divine wisdom daily, and
  • Be more positive and optimistic in general.

Breath is a huge part of practicing presence. I don’t think you can have one without the other. Really think about it – breathing is this involuntary act that we do constantly to stay alive. But when you really hone in on it and focus on it with intent and curiosity, it can become a great tool that helps alleviate stress and promote wellness. Breathing can literally cause a state change in your body. I’ve found breathing to be really useful when it comes to:

  • Meditation: Focusing on my breath can help me drop into a meditative state quicker, and go deeper into my meditation.
  • Stress/Anxiety: When I feel myself getting overwhelmed, I’ll stop and take a few deep breaths until I feel more centered and less anxious.
  • Disordered Eating: It’s impossible to binge if you’re present (and focusing on your breath). Most of the time, if I want junk or am heading toward binge autopilot, it’s because of stress or some other #donotwant emotion that I’m trying to suppress with a quick state change – hence the magic of breath.
  • Body Connection: I’ve started to experiment with breathwork, and I’ve found that it helps me connect into my body and really FEEL it in a way that I never have before. It’s insanely mind-blowing, I can literally feel the energy moving throughout me, where I have stuck emotion/energetics, and I just feel so much more alive.

So how do you start practicing presence and breath?

I started out by setting daily alarms on my phone, usually for 9AM, 1PM, and 7PM. When the alarm would go off, I’d take a moment to breathe and center myself and then check in with myself to see if I needed a shift or to do anything (drink water, walk away from work for a bit, cord cut, etc.). At first it was challenging, especially for the first two alarms that went off during work hours. I’d often be too busy to stop, so I’d just shut off the alarm and keep working. BUT when I actually started to commit to these practices and respected the alarms and daily check ins, I noticed such a difference in my mental and physical states that I now do presence/breathing check ins frequently throughout the day without using any alarms.

As for the literal practice I use, it goes something like this:

  1. I close my eyes and take three deep breaths. I favor 6-3 breathing (inhale for a count of 6, hold for a count of 3, exhale for a count of 6, hold for a count of 3, repeat).
  2. Take inventory. Mental inventory is when you check in with your mindset and emotions. Are you feeling sad? Anxious? Angry? Physical inventory focuses more on your body and visceral state: are you hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Sometimes I take inventory of my surroundings, just noticing what’s going on around me: the conversations, the colors, the furniture, the light, etc.

There are so many benefits when it comes to presence and breath. The biggest benefit of presence is also the meaning of it – to just be in the here and now, where everything is okay, the past is long gone, and the future hasn’t happened yet. The benefit of breath is that you can really hone it to become a tool for your health and wellness. It can up your meditation game and help you learn to alleviate stress and anxiety – those are some game changers right there.

I think there’s something magical in that such simple practices can have a truly profound impact on your overall health and happiness.

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