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Thursday, April 6

Anxiety-Free April

April – Anxiety-Free
We all know that prolonged stress can cause :
·         Anxiety
·         Depression
·         Digestive problems
·         Heart disease
·         Sleep problems
·         Weight gain
·         Memory and concentration impairment

Right now we’re not going to focus on what stress does, but rather how to manage our daily stressors.  It won't be the flight-or-fight stress that will get you - it will be the chronic, everyday stuff!

When you're frustrated and fed up and feeling like you have zero control in a situation, try one of these :
  • listen to music
  • get out into nature
  • take time for yoga, meditation, or exercise
  • talk it out with someone - better yet, laugh!
  • go take a nap
  • work on managing your time
Beginning Yoga
Practice yoga and the art of deep breathing on a regular basis.  Incorporate it into your routine.  Gaiam has a great yoga starter kit, or there are numerous guided breathing exercises for use during your daily commute.

4 Steps to Deep Breathing

*you can do this anywhere!*
1.   Take a SLOW, deep breath in
2.   Let your stomach expand
3.   Exhale fully
4.   Breathe deeply five times in a row

Using Deep Breathing to Calm Down

1.   Count to four as you inhale slowly
2.   Hold your breath for seven seconds
3.   Exhale for eight seconds
4.   Repeat four times

Find a Reason to Be…..and Be Grounded
Are you living your purpose in life?  Do you even know what that means??  If you answer yes to several of these statements, you may want to step back and re-examine your direction.
·         You’re not waking up excited in the morning.
·         You have really “high highs” and really “low lows.”
·         Your life isn’t entirely fulfilling you anymore.
·         You’re surrounded by people who are bringing you down.
·         You’re ignoring your dreams because you’re scared to move on.
·         You’re working in a job that depletes you of energy.
·         You feel stuck in the “rat race” but don’t know the next step.

Some tips to help you on the journey…
Make your motivations intrinsic.
As privileged and lucky as we are, society sets us up for failure because it motivates us with extrinsic incentives like fame, wealth, and beauty. Chasing these things is flashy and fun for a short time but ultimately unfulfilling. They’re like drinking salt-water when you’re thirsty.
Live in integrity with your values.
If you want to find and live your purpose, you need to know what you stand for. I’ve found that the best way to know what you stand for is to get clarity on what it is that you value. What’s important to you?
Avoid the trap of validation.
We can’t ever completely conform to someone else’s vision, and this is how inner conflict originates. When people start to feel a discrepancy between the image they’re projecting and their authentic selves, MAJOR conflict arises within them.
Spirituality & Stress
Spirituality has tremendous health benefits.  It increases our hope, sense of belonging, and sense of purpose.  It can strengthen the immune system and reduce our stress level.  No matter where your spirituality is rooted, the basic premise is that (1) there is something larger than us all and (2) it's important to live by a moral code.

  • Find a soothing place to sit and relax
  • Open yourself to reflection - this might include deep breathing
  • Try to feel the energy of life all around you
  • Realize how small you are in relation to the universe - your problems are insignificant, let them go
  • Realize that you are also huge - you can make an enormous difference in this world
  • Be wary of people who claim to know the one, true spiritual path - it is different for everyone
  • Recognize that all people seek answers - this is what makes us human
  • Be conscious of the everyday decisions that you make - each small decision impacts larger ones
We had two great spiritual moments in the mountains and at the beach during our last long trip...
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