Anxiety is a prevalent and complex mental health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It manifests in various forms and can have a profound impact on both mental and physical well-being. Understanding the early signs of anxiety, both in the mind and body, is crucial for timely intervention.
The Early Signs of Anxiety
Anxiety often creeps into your life subtly, with early signs that are easy to dismiss or misinterpret. Recognising these signs is the first step in addressing anxiety effectively.
Mental Signs: excessive worry about various aspects of life, racing thoughts making it difficult to concentrate, frequent self-criticism or feeling of inadequacy
Emotional Signs: heightened irritability, mood swings, a constant sense of unease or the inability to relax
Physical Signs: headaches, muscle tension, feeling constantly tired or exhausted, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
A Holistic Approach to Anxiety
Holistic practices are based on the principle that mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being are interconnected. These practices recognise that anxiety often affects the entire person and aim to address the root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
It’s important to note that holistic practices are not meant to replace traditional therapeutic approaches like counseling or medication. Instead, they can complement these treatments by addressing various aspects of well-being that may not be fully covered by traditional methods alone.
Now, we can dive into 5 holistic strategies to help you navigating the early signs of anxiety:
1. Physical exercise
Moving your body in any way you like (yoga, running, boxing, dancing) is the easiest way to get out of your head. Physical exercise releases endorphins, builds body awareness and it can help release accumulated muscular tension (i.e. yoga, stretching, myofascial-release).
Try this 25min morning self-care practice to get into your body and to start your day with energy & intention.
Cultivating presence through mindfulness & meditation practices can be a powerful antidote to the early signs of anxiety. When you’re present in the moment, you shift your focus away from the worries and uncertainties of the future, which often trigger anxiety.
If you find mindfulness & meditation hard, it’s understandable! Your mind produces something like 50.000 thoughts a day, so it’s normal to get distracted.
The main principles of mindfulness practices are to:
Go back to your point of focus every time you notice your mind has drifted
Cultivate a non-judgemental attitude, not labelling the thoughts, emotions or sensations as good or bad
As soon as you do your best to apply these principles, then you’re practising mindfulness!
Try this 3min Grounding Meditation to have an experience of being present in your body.
3. Controlled breathing
Breathing techniques (called Pranayama in yoga) offer a potent and accessible means of alleviating early signs of anxiety. With conscious control of the breath you can directly influence your physiological and emotional state. For instance, deep diaphragmatic breathing activates the body's relaxation response, reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol.
In yoga breathing techniques are further refined by introducing specific patterns and rhythms which enhance its therapeutic benefits. Regular breath work practice can enhance your overall emotional regulation and resilience, serving as a valuable tool for managing anxiety.
Try a beginner friendly breathing meditation HERE.
Sound and chanting have been found to be remarkably effective in helping with anxiety. These practices tap into the power of vibrations and rhythm to create a soothing and meditative experience.
When we engage in chanting or listen to calming sounds, such as singing bowls or nature's sounds, our bodies and minds respond by slowing down. The repetitive nature of chanting or the gentle resonance of sound can induce a sense of focus and relaxation, diverting our attention away from anxious thoughts and worries.
Furthermore, these practices often involve controlled, intentional breathing, which synchronises with the sound, enhancing the calming effect. Chanting, in particular, is known to have a profound impact on the nervous system, lowering stress levels and promoting a sense of wellbeing.
So what are you waiting for? Start your mantra chanting practice HERE.
Journaling can be a valuable tool for managing early signs of anxiety. When you put pen to paper and express our thoughts and feelings, you create a safe and private space to explore the root causes of our anxiety. It allows us to externalise your worries, making them more manageable and less overwhelming.
Journaling also encourages self-reflection, helping you identify patterns and triggers associated with your anxiety.
Journalling provides a structured outlet for releasing pent-up emotions and gaining clarity on your concerns, ultimately helping you regain a sense of control and calm during times of heightened anxiety.
The first step of this strategy is to choose a good time in your day to consistently sit for 10min and write down a list of all the things that worry you.
Then ask yourself: How does it make me feel to let it all out on paper?
Conclusion: A Holistic Path to Well-Being
Holistic practices, with their focus on the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit, provide valuable tools for managing anxiety and promoting overall well-being.
Whether used independently or alongside traditional therapies, these holistic approaches offer a perspective that recognises the complexity of anxiety and aims to address it from multiple angles.
Embracing these practices can empower YOU to embark on a journey towards lasting vitality and improved quality of life.
If you want to put all these strategies in action in an experience like no others, join me for my upcoming Cacao Ceremony in London on the 24th Sep, 3-5pm.
More info & tickets HERE.