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Feeling anxious? Eat some cookies or take THIS vitamin…

Feeling a sense of urgency…shallow breathing…tension…muscle contraction…knotty stomach.

Anxiety

Anxiety can be described as feeling wired, “spazzed out,” contracted, or tightly wound. However you personally describe it, feeling anxiety is typically associated with unpleasantness.

As with all unpleasant sensations, we try and avoid them.

There are 2 strategies many of us use to manage anxiety:

Over-thinking

When we are feeling anxious it can be very difficult to THINK ourselves into feeling better. Yet this can be the strategy we rely on. We try to “figure out” our feeling states and try to determine where they came from and whether or not they are valid. We may not understand why we are feeling the way we’re feeling.

Judgment can make things feel even more complicated (as in, “I shouldn’t be feeling this way. What’s wrong with me?”)

Distracting

When we want the unsettling feeling of anxiety to go away we may reach for all sorts of things in an effort to numb or distract ourselves (drinking wine, eating sugar, overeating, binge eating, numbing ourselves with television or time on the computer, cramming our schedules with things to do).

Like the wise Maya Angelou says, “We do the best with what we know, and when we know better, we do better.” Amen Maya. Sometimes we just need to learn that there are actually BETTER strategies out there for us.

And I’ve got ONE for you today.

Instead of getting caught in an anxiety spiral and plopping down in front of the computer to eat cookies while you scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, consider taking one of my favorite vitamins….

Vitamin M: Movement

Movement can help move stuck energy in the body. Many times anxiety is caused by resistance to an emotional energy that needs to move through you.

Movement can be active or passive. In other words, we can move or we can allow movement to happen.

Active Movement

  • Stepping outside for a comfortably paced walk and fresh air

  • Sprinting, Boxing, or High Intensity movement

  • Dancing to music

  • Hatha Yoga

Using active movement to take the edge off anxiety has it’s benefits: releases feel-good endorphins, boosts immunity, relieves tension, improves digestion, releases excess cortisol, and increases confidence through empowered navigation of your emotional world. Think of active movement as as a strategy to clear out that “spazzy” anxious energy to create space for other helpful emotions and insights.

Importante: For a culture that tends to champion pushing ourselves more and more (often to the point of exhaustion,) we also need other ways to move emotional energy through the body that don’t necessary require high-intensity movement. These can be more gentle and compassionate (the real work for so many of us).

Passive Movement

  • Yin Yoga

  • Rocking in a rocking chair

  • Laying on the floor with your knees bent and hands on belly, witnessing the movement of breathe in your body

  • Listening to music (allows us to “feel moved”)