I consider myself being pretty good about taking good care of myself and managing my stress levels in a way that leaves me feeling energized and happy at the end of the day. However, I am no genius either and sometimes I do get sucked into these vicious cycles of rushing-hustling-worrying-stressing-shallow breathing-tensing up messiness that feels good to absolutely nobody.
What ultimately happens when I am in this kind of cycle is that I feel like I never work hard enough or long enough and like my to-do list is totally dominating my life. Yikes, no fun at all.
I used to pretty much run my life that way, so thankfully this only happens rarely these days and I can detect it quickly and respond to it in a way that re-establishes my inner equilibrium.
In this week’s blog post I want to share with you a simple technique that can make a huge difference if you feel pigeon-holed in anxiety, stress, and overwhelm due to all the things that are on your plate.
One of my favorite things about being my own boss is that I am location independent. So last week -after spending Monday and Tuesday feeling exhausted and overwhelmed- I got on an airplane to San Francisco to work from there while visiting my brother and his fiancé for a few days (the two love-birds just got engaged in January- check out the pic to the right… so cute, right?;)) and going wine-tasting in Sonoma for one of my best friends bachelorette parties.
Over the course of the next few days, I totally relaxed even though I was working my normal routine while I was there.
So what happened? Why did my stress levels dissolve so easily? The answer is that I was able to ZOOM OUT and see the larger picture of life. Instead of working away in my normal environment and getting caught up in minuscule details I was taken out of it and was reminded of the things that really matter in the grand scheme of things:
friendship & friends who will wear neon fanny packs with you --->
(good food and wine ... of course;))
Here is the deal:
when you can live your life with these actually important things at the forefront of your mind, the tiny annoyances that create anxiety will shrink in size and loose importance and power. You are literally dissolving anxiety and are able to surrender to what is without constantly fighting to stay on top, control, and force everything. When has controlling everything ever worked anyway?! The only thing it seems to do is make you feel responsible for everything with the illusion (or delusion!) that you might be able to control the outcome.
On my flight back from SF to NYC, I was thinking about how this -ZOOMING OUT- can become a regular practice for me and for all of you who tend to get caught in states of anxiety and worry (because clearly most of us cannot afford to travel to fun and beautiful places all the time). Shortly afterwards I stumbled upon a visualization suggested by Dr. Claudia Welch in her book Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life. Dr. Welch suggests the following visualization which she learned from one of her teachers Dr. Vasant Lad.
Visualize this for 5-10 minutes once or twice a day:
See yourself sitting quietly in a corner of your home. Watch what is happening in the room, but do not participate in it in any way. See how things go on without your participation. When you are comfortable with how that feels, see yourself floating above your home, looking in on it, without participating, and become comfortable with your lack of involvement. When you feel peace here, rise up, and see the comings, goings, and activities of first your city, your state, your country, the world, and then the universe, each time becoming at peace with your last of involvement. See how everything can and will go on without your participation.
Dr. Welch writes “the physiological value of this sort of meditation is that it allows us to relieve our spirits of our real or perceived obligations long enough to allow the nervous system to calm down, and to feel the experience, even fleetingly, of freedom.”
I hope that this visualization will be helpful to you. I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments below. Have you ever tried visualization? Have they been helpful? What helps you release stress and anxiety?
With love & ease,
(P.S.: If you want, you can follow me on instagram for more fun pics + delicious meal ideas)