“You can’t always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.”– Wayne Dyer
Our fast paced and goal orientated society and way of living brought much anxiety to many of us. I'm sure all of us can say we've experienced anxiety at some point in our lives. Today we're being asked to stop but that can bring anxiety of its own. These are certainly challenging times but isn't it also the perfect opportunity to introduce some anxiety and stress relieving tools into our everyday lives? Let's look at how anxiety manifests itself.
We all recognise the signs. They come mentally, emotionally and physically:
- Our thoughts spiral and can become obsessive.
- We're restless, agitated, it's difficult to sit still.
- We constantly look for distraction away from what we're feeling.
- We turn to food, alcohol, Netflix to distract, numb or push down the anxious feelings.
- We can't sleep, we're grumpy and irritable.
- We hide, from ourselves and from others.
- Physically we may sweat, we may feel faint, we may shake.
- We may feel like we're not really in our body, our heart rate increases and we may find it difficult to breathe.
Basically our central nervous system goes into overdrive as our mind and body perceive the situation as being unsafe in some way and the body becomes wired to respond accordingly. So how can we support the mind/body system to relax when it's been triggered into this response?
"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity"-Heave
Step 1: Breathe
How often do we really stop and bring our awareness to our breathe? Most of us walk around in tension and our breathe becomes shallow and restricted to the top part of our lungs. To move our system into relaxation we simply bring awareness to our breathe, elongate it and deepen it. Try it now...inhale deep down into the belly so that your belly expands as you inhale. Can you feel how the bottom of the lungs fill will air and your breathing is not restricted to the upper part of your chest? Exhale slowly from the belly up so that the top of your lungs are the last to empty. Make the exhale longer than the inhale. That's the key. So even if you're having difficulty breathing then just make the exhale longer and your breathe will begin to calm down. Maybe you inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 6 counts.
Did you notice how the belly comes in when you exhale? How do you feel now?
Here are some other breathing exercises that you could incorporate too.
"Smile, breathe and go slowly"-Thich Nhat Hanh
Step 2: move the body
Movement is one of the best things for working with the energy of anxiety in the body. Doesn't it feel like it just wants to get out? Isn't all that energy in the body just screaming to move instead of being shut down? So let it move! Shaking is my absolute favourite way of moving energy and here's how I do it:
- Stand feet hip width apart and bend your knees slightly. Relax into it and let your body hang heavy.
- Feel the ground beneath your feet (bare foot is best) and allow a bounce to start moving up from the ground and your feet into your legs.
Sink into the bounce and feel how it moves into the rest of the body naturally without really needing to do anything to make it happen.
- Allow the bounce to exaggerate and see if you can get a good full body shake going on. It really doesn't matter if it doesn't happen, just play around with it!
- If emotions come, let them come. What has been held in check is now just all coming out. It's the natural movement of things and is totally ok. In fact it's great!
- Keep on going until the shaking-bounce naturally wants to slow down until you become still.
- How does your body feel now? Can you feel the aliveness? Can you also feel the stillness?
Here is a great little instructional video of shaking, why it works and how to do it.
I also love putting on some headphones and dancing like a mad one! Let it all out, move, shake, jump, shimmy...dance like nobody is watching! It doesn't matter what you look like, it's all about moving that anxious energy in the body...
Here are some teachers of 5Rhythms Dance/Movement Meditation in Ireland. Perhaps you could find a class near you?
Did you know that there are cannabinoid receptors in the skin too? If you're a little tired afterwards then our CBD Recovery Balm is just the thing. Loaded with herbs and 500mg of CBD it's a veritable treasure trove of botanical allies to help you recover from your movement session.
“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.”-Martha Graham
Step 3: Be in nature
Being in Nature has this incredible ability to soothe the system. It grounds us. It's a beautiful reminder to slow down and breathe. There is science behind this of course as we know that the Sun gives us vitamin D and this study speaks of Vit D deficiency in anxiety and depression. It goes without saying that getting some sun can help alleviate depression and anxiety. Placing our bare feet on the ground also helps. This is called Grounding and this is what Dr Stephen Sinatra has to say about it:
"This energy infusion is powerful stuff. It can restore and stabilize the bioelectrical circuitry that governs your physiology and organs, harmonize your basic biological rhythms, boost self-healing mechanisms, reduce inflammation and pain, and improve your sleep and feeling of calmness. When these things happen, you feel better in a big way.”
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." -Lao Tzu
Our Everyday CBD Balm is great to have in your pocket when your out in Nature. Use it on stings, scratches, dry patches, sun burn...anything that requires some TLC from Natures own supporters of calendula, st john's wort, plantain, comfrey and blackcurrant.
Step 4: be still & Receive
We find it so difficult to be still don't we?! At least we do when it comes to being still without any distractions like watching TV or listening to music. Being still with eyes closed with nothing but what is going on inside of us can actually make some of us feel even more anxious. But trust me, it takes effort initially but once you get past the wanting to run a mile away from being still with yourself, then everything starts to relax and the rewards are enormous. The very act of remaining in the face of uncomfortable feelings and agitation wears something down and the whole system begins to soften. We learn amazing skills in doing this. We learn patience with ourselves, we learn compassion for ourselves, we learn how not to move in the face of discomfort, we become strong, willing to meet anything that may arise. It's like a muscle that has never been used that begins to strengthen and grow until one day you realise you're so much stronger than you ever felt possible. A great way to learn how to remain is to come deeply into the body space. It brings us into the present moment and away from our spiralling thoughts. The video below is taken from Judith Blackstone's "The Realisation Process" which you can find in more depth here. It's been hugely helpful for many of us in the extended Full Circle Hemp Family.
Below the video is a simple step by step guide to being still and meeting what arises in the heart of your love.
Be comfortable and be still. It's best to be sitting upright to prevent sleep! Relax the body and become aware of the whole body at the same time. Follow the breath. The mind/body will want to move, just remain, just remain, just remain...
Allow everything to be as it is. If thoughts come, and they will rush in, come back to the breath and the body when you remember. Be gentle, it's not to strain. The intention is not to stop the mind (which requires effort) but to relax.
Be open to receive whatever comes. Find your heart and rest there. If there is something in the way of feeling your heart (an emotion for example) welcome that. Trust that whatever comes is looking to be brought back into your Love.
Step 5: Supporting the Endocannabinoid system may help
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a complex system that is still being explored by scientists. What is known is that it consists of receptors (CB1 & CB2 and possibly more as yet undiscovered receptors) that are endogenous to all mammals, their bodies and their brains. These receptors play a key role in regulating the physiological systems that govern mood (which we're looking at here), pain, appetite and memory amongst others things. When the Endocannabinoid System is deficient it moves out of homeostasis (balance) and can cause all sorts of dis-ease or irregularities, including changes in our moods.
The most effective and direct way to bring the endocannabinoid system back into homeostasis is by supplementing your diet with CBD (cannabidiol). Basically one of the most amazing things about CBD is that it increases the amount of endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced by the body) in your system and one of the ways it does so is by stopping the enzyme FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) from breaking down all of the Anandamide. Ananda means bliss by the way and Anandamide is one of those endocannabinoids we just mentioned. Simply put CBD = more Anandamide available for use by your cells which is exactly what we want to increase our feel good factor. Make sense?
There are many ways to introduce CBD into your diet and our Turmeric and Ginger Tea (with a hint of orange, yum!) is one of my favourites. Super tasty and a great and easy way to introduce CBD.
Supporting the endocannabinoid system
Meditation in a capsule. Easy to use, great results.
If you're a coffee drinker but the caffein makes you more anxious then this is the coffee for you. CBD smooths out the jitters for the best coffee out there.
Our best seller this paste has an incredible array of beneficial terpenes.
Step 6: All this adds up to self care
The ability to be with ourselves in all the messy times as well as the easier times is
A passionate hemp and botanical advocate