Shrink Your World: My Remedy For Anxiety
Our family spends a lot of time answering questions. Friends, neighbors, co-workers, emails, and website messages inquire about our thoughts on a wide variety of health issues and ailments. We are not doctors and we are always careful to encourage people to seek advice from their family practitioner. We do listen, and we do help when we can. Over the years our conversations have covered many things, but one tops them all in sheer numbers. Stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, and feeling blue? It seems most of us are.
Of course, Woodland Herbal offers tea blends, tinctures, inhalers, and salves that are created to help these issues by easing some of the symptoms. Using herbal remedies can help a person feel calmer, sleep better, and maybe enjoy a relaxed afternoon after a stressful morning. However, like all natural remedies, they work much better with lifestyle improvements. Please don’t stop reading, I promise I won’t mention weird diets and gym memberships. I do think eating clean and simple food does make me feel better, as does fresh air and sunshine. I do sleep better at night if I move my body during the day by gardening, doing housework, and walking my Jack Russells. Terrier owners know that goblin wrangling is more exhausting than anything a gym offers.
When a body rebels and symptoms pop up, it’s up to us to discover the root cause of the warning signals. We don’t feel stress without reason. Something is causing our stress and anxiety, and typically we know exactly what it is. Personally, the evening news rips at my heart. Reports of violence, a country that feels torn in half, important habitats destroyed worldwide, plants and animals disappearing, impending doom, unnatural disasters, illnesses, hatred, and anger everywhere. While I don’t wish to bury my head in the sand and remain uninformed, sometimes it all feels too big. Too much. I feel as if I am drowning in it.
I know I’ve had too much when I become grumpy with the people I love most about small things that usually don’t bother me. My sleep becomes broken, I lose my appetite, and I generally don’t feel very good. When this happens, I know I need to act, and make my own world small for a bit. I take a break from the internet and the evening news. My actions may not be more than a drop in the bucket in the efforts to heal our mother earth, but I spend some time with that little drop of mine. I pick up the sister spider in the kitchen and gently place her in a pretty spot outside. I buy extra fruit at the local farmers market to share with a raccoon friend that visits each evening. I plant something new that belongs here. I wander with bare feet and messy hair until I find a flower I've never met before, then spend the day learning its name. I crack open a novel and create a nest of big sweaters, quilts, and dogs. I catch snowflakes on my tongue, laugh with my kids, focus on a craft project. I think about my husband and I find something creative to surprise him with, something I know will make him feel loved. I bake a double batch of cookies and share with my neighbors. Most importantly, I mentally list all the things I am grateful for. I know it is cliché, but it always makes a positive difference in my world. I stop and give thanks for everything like my incredible parents, my wonderful kids, my dear husband. My full belly, comfortable home, plant friends, and loyal fuzzy companions. Warm sun on my back, or a gentle breeze on my cheek, another sunrise witnessed. I am such a lucky woman, and it is good to remind myself that even on days I feel overwhelmed with immense sadness, I have much good to cling to.“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” ― Willie Nelson
For me, making my world smaller works like hitting a big reset button. It reminds me to shift my focus to being part of a solution, to work hard to spread kindness and to be a helper. My stress and anxiety seem to melt away when I help others. I feel better focusing on something small, good, and real. When I feel more grounded, I step back into the world carrying my calm, making it easier for me to handle the onslaught of disasters waiting on the news.
Every person is different, and this might not be an exercise that suits everyone. I write this in the hope that my own story will spark some ideas to ease your own anxieties. It can be hard to know how to start, so I suggest something that is always effective for everyone without fail. Kick off your shoes, turn on THE song, and dance. The song that never fails to make you tap your foot, nod with the beat, and grin. In this I ask for your help, lets start the world shrinking together. In the comments, please confess your song so we may all dance together and shed a little stress.
I'll start, "Lets Dance" by David Bowie.