It seems like everyone I talk to lately is struggling with anxiety, not least of all myself! It's not surprising that anxiety tends to pick up in the spring. Winter is typically a time of relaxation and integration, but when the weather starts getting warmer we start making summer plans. The days are longer, so we fill them with more projects and activities. It can feel overwhelming as we get used to having more on our plates again. Some of the new projects (like starting this blog/business!!) take us outside our comfort zone and that can bring up fears and old stories that turn into gut-churning, palm-sweating, hide-under-the-covers anxiety.
From a Chinese medicine perspective, spring is the time when qi rises and corresponds to the wood element which is all about new growth and planning, the time when seeds sprout and new leaves appear to get solar energy to make the fruits of summer. Anxiety is described in Chinese medicine as qi rising or collecting above, instead of staying rooted in the body where we feel balanced and stable. All the world's energy is rising in the spring, including our body's energy, leading to anxiety for some people.
So what can we do about this energy? While anxiety, like anything, is different for each person and will have different solutions for each person, I want to share some of my favorite natural ways to address anxiety both in the moment and with daily practices. All of these can and should be combined and practiced frequently. I especially like to diffuse or apply essential oils before doing the grounding or qigong exercises to amplify the effects of each.
I want to make a quick note first that if you are experiencing generalized anxiety frequently or having severe panic attacks, you should consult a mental health professional. All of these techniques and remedies can be used in concert with prescription medications and psychotherapy.
For a wellness plan tailored to your needs, a relaxing reiki treatment, or to buy essential oils, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes the need to get up and move around, if ignored long enough, will manifest as anxiety. Make sure to take movement breaks if you tend to sit all day. For mild general anxiety, try literally “shaking it off” by shaking your limbs and your whole body around for a few minutes. If you can't get up and move around, put both feet on the floor and take some slow deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Grounding is a technique from my spiritual practice that involves imagining roots or a cord dropping from your feet or pelvis into the earth to connect with the limitless energy of the planet. You can find youtube videos to guide you, or use this short recording:
This simple qigong exercise helps bring qi back down into the body where we can feel more grounded and stable. It is similar to the grounding exercise above, except that instead of tapping into the earth’s energy, we move our own energy within our aura/field.
These are just three of the many acupoints that can help with anxiety. Book a session with me or consult your acupunctirist for others that might work best for you. You can find these points by feeling around in the area described until you find a slight sore spot. Activate them with light pressure, small circles, or with essential oils.
Inner Gate (PC6) two fingers below wrist crease between tendions. Good for upset stomach caused by anxiety. Lavender, bergamot, or grounding blend.
Bubbling Spring (KD1) on center bottom of foot 1/3 of the way from toe crease to heel. This point descends the qi, dispersing heat and agitation. Vetiver is a great oil to use here to amplify its grounding qualities.
Central Dwelling (Yintang) on center of forehad between eyebrows. This point creates a sense of calm and focus. Lavender would be good to use here for anxiety or stress.
I had a hard time picking just four oils since there are so many that can help with anxiety! You can use these oils topically on the points mentioned above, bottoms of the feet, back of the neck, wrists, or inhaled from your hands or a diffuser.
Grounding blend (doTerra Balance)
This is my number one top essential oil for anxiety. If I am going into a stressfull situation I practically bathe in it! It is a blend of spruce, ho wood, frankincense, blue tansy, and blue chamomile.
This oil has a very strong decending action and can be used on the bottoms of the feet (or KD1) to help draw down qi that is rising and help you feel more grounded. I also use it in a diffuser at night to quiet the mind for sleep.
Also a very grounding and calming oil with a descending action.
Peppermint or Respiratory blend (doTerra Breathe)
This is a major multi-purpose oil and is great for calming, stress relief, and sleep when inhaled or used topically. It can also be used internally as a daily supplement for mild to moderate general anxiety and was found in one study to be as effective as prescription medications without the potential for abuse or toxic interaction with alcohol. It is important to note that you would need to take 1-2 drops per day (dissolved in a lipid such as coconut oil or sweetener such as honey) for 8-10 weeks before effects will be seen since it needs to build up in your body. Talk to your psychiatrist or naturopath if you think this could be a good option for you, and please make sure you have a very high quality oil from a reputable source before ingesting!!
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