It has taken me a lot of time to write this second part as writing gives me a bit of anxiety so I tend to procrastinate. There has been many twists and turns this last year for me and time slipped out of my fingers.
The goal though is to come back to what works when we realize we might have let some things go, no matter how long it has been. And of course, to be kind to ourselves.
Try any of these tips and see what works for you. Implement one tip at a time so you have a chance to develop the habit. When we try too many new things at once we can get overwhelmed and give up on a habit that would serve us well.
I also try to find ways to incorporate these habits into what I am already doing or in consideration of my nature in order to make it easier to adopt and reduce friction.
Managing your mental clutter
Our mind creates our experiences. Our mind creates our experience. So one must become diligent in contemplating what is in their mind that is creating their life experiences. If you want to change your life or aspects of yourself, you must discover what are the thoughts, beliefs, patterns, etc. that your mind is generating, absorbing, allowing…
You must make self-inquiry and self-reflection a way of approaching every situation that causes you discomfort.
It will not be easy because the mind seems to have a strong hold on its construct. It seems to create distractions or fear whenever we try to explore and transform its content. If you make it a regular practice though, you will progress towards your goals and a greater mastery of your thoughts and emotions.
Reduce the number of decisions you have to make per day
When you reduce the number of decisions you make in a day by making plans and increasing your level of organization, you reduce your stress. I know that when I adhere to a certain plan, I spend a lot less time trying to figure out what to do next or waste time on unimportant tasks and it results in a lesser sense of overwhelm.
1 – Develop a routine
Take a tally of everything that needs to get done and everything you want and need to add to your life and establish a schedule. Prioritize what is important. Here is a list of healthy habits, I have compiled from a few sources. This is definitely an area I need to improve a lot. I know that whenever I implemented these ideas my life and well-being were better :
- Wake up at the same time every day
- Make your bed
- Exercise (Could be a 30-minute walk or run, a yoga routine, etc…)
- Meditate (Even if it’s just for 10 min)
- Don’t just rush to work (try to care for yourself first)
- Drink a glass of water and have breakfast
- Now you can check your emails 🙂
- Tackle that big task first
- Stretch through the day and take small breaks
- Clean up your workspace
- Dedicate some time to honing a skill
- Unless absolutely necessary, don’t bring work home
- Make a to-do list
- Find a solution to a problem you have or find a way to streamline something you do regularly
- Do something you love
- Build healthy relationships (have a good talk, schedule that lunch with a friend, call your parents, spend quality time with your love ones, etc…)
- Tidy up your home
- Turn off your devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed
- Go to bed at the same time every day
The way to make these habits easier to uphold is to have things accessible :
- have your exercise equipment ready and accessible (could even be by the front door or in your car)
- have a list of workout sequences or saved workout playlist, same for your meditation if you prefer guided meditation
- Have a little space where you can meditate or journal with some incense to put you in the mood
- have cleaning products in every bathroom instead of having to move items from one space to another
- have note pads where you tend to remember (or have to remember) some things or where you get inspired
2 – Build yourself a capsule wardrobe
With a capsule wardrobe, there is less overwhelm with deciding what to wear in the morning. It also makes organizing your clothes easier, your shopping more focused, and it can save you a lot of money by staying more minimalist with your purchases.
Here is an article on the capsule wardrobe and how to implement one with what you already own : https://www.sustainably-chic.com/blog/what-is-a-capsule-wardrobe
3 – Plan your meal for the week…or the month
Make a binder with your favorite recipes and ingredient list and rotate those meals every couple of weeks or month. If you like to try new recipes, keep one day a week free for that. Eventually, you may want to create seasonal binders and have recipes mostly made from seasonal fruits and veggies. That way, it cut costs on groceries, allows you to shop more locally, and is overall better for the environment.
Some people also like using meal prep services so they do not have to think about what to cook or have to do grocery shopping. Although it might be slightly more costly, you may save by not having to buy more than you need or wasting produce that doesn’t get cooked.
4 – Unsubscribe!
If you keep receiving emails from a company you are not into anymore, go to the bottom of the email and click unsubscribe. I swear, our inbox clutter affects our mental clutter. And if you can, try to clear your inbox every day. Another tip is to only open an email if you know you have the time to deal with it (respond/act on – save/file if necessary – delete).
Addressing your negative thought patterns
Reflect on the thought patterns that drive your actions and emotions and find ways to address them. Some of our thought patterns are unconscious, which is why it is very important to spend time contemplating and reflecting on what we do and how we think/approach a subject. Notice any triggers as well if you can.
Then you may meditate on the underlying cause of this thought pattern or how to move away from it. This could be by remembering times when this pattern didn’t hold true in your life, or how this pattern doesn’t hold true for people around you, or by consciously deciding to think counter to that thought pattern.
This work can take time so be gentle with yourself. Becoming aware is a major step as it can be difficult to face ourselves. The more willing you are to know the truth and to drop the walls we have built, the more we are able to perceive and let go.
Examples of detrimental thought patterns :
You underestimate your coping abilities > There are many tangents to this one particular dynamic that I can’t tell you exactly how to approach it but will give a few insights that I hope might help you.
The first one is that sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit that we have the resources within us to face the challenges of our life. We can also tend to forget that we have pushed through difficult situations and that we have the capacity to do it again (even if the situation is different). Trials are there to help us grow and discover our true nature.
I have also been wondering if the hardest challenges actually come from avoiding what we need to face and work on. So the more we avoid and postpone doing the real inner work, the stronger and harder the recurring patterns become.
There is also the possibility that we are given something so great that we may finally surrender to something greater than ourselves. So that we are forced to drop the self we have built (or pretend to be) in order to discover the true purpose of our life. To connect to our true essence and to the Divine within.
You assume that your current feelings or state of being will stay the same > everything is in motion and that includes our emotions. The more mastery you have of your emotions, the quicker you can move out of difficult emotions. At the same time, one must really experience and feel the emotion in order to move through it. What is the emotion trying to tell you?
Try thinking of moments in your life when you felt good, at peace, or calm. Bring these moments back into your body.
The belief that worry and overthinking will lead to problem-solving insights > Einstein said that ‘We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them’. Real insights and solutions come from an elevated state of consciousness. This higher state of consciousness can be achieved when we drop worry and the belief that our mind will have the solution. Divine guidance comes when we surrender.
‘ We fear to relax from a question, believing it may escape us, but the very relaxation attracts the answer. – Vernon Howard
The belief that self-criticism is an effective way to motivate you > Do you like working for someone who negates your efforts, puts you down, and criticize what you accomplish? It is proven through various studies that the way people are managed and the leadership style have a direct influence on employee retention. We can apply the same principles to the relationship we have with ourselves. Developing a right relationship with ourselves is a stepping stone to personal and spiritual growth. However, it is not to be happy with who you are now and absolving you of your current dysfunctions. It has to do with fostering an exchange between your Soul, mind, ego, and body based on self-honesty, truth, compassion, forgiveness, and right action.
Dwelling on pain > Do you dwell on pain as a way of avoiding something or as a way of gaining support, love, care, etc. ? Do you feel that your wounds define you? Unless you are truly willing and open to face these aspects of yourself no healing will be possible. There is an incredible amount of resistance that is created when one gains something from his pain or when one overly identifies with certain labels, including past and current wounds.
‘Asking for help while demanding to remain as we are is like boarding a ship but tying it to the dock – Vernon Howard
‘It is rare to find someone who prefers to end his problems instead of enjoying their agitation’ – Vernon Howard
Catastrophizing (overestimating the chances of a disaster) > Do you entertain fear-mongering thoughts? Are you unnecessarily exposing yourself to an unhealthy level of violence and negative news? I used to watch the news on a daily basis until I realized it was a major source of anxiety. I haven’t watch the news or read the paper in at least 10 years and can testify the huge improvement it has made in my life. I assure you, you will not miss anything important. And many others who have taken the same decisions will testify to that account. Try it for a month. Only through experimentation and action will you find what works.
These resources might enlight you:
Book: Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis: https://amzn.to/3dRgme7
‘Should’ statements > These type of statements can setup unrealistic expectations of yourself and others and is a major source of energy drain. ‘Should’ removes the joy out of doing something. ‘Should’ can also create inner conflict and transgression of our personal integrity. Personal growth includes the development of our own moral code and ethics. And because our personal moral code (which evolves as we step out of the collective consensus) may not always align with our family, culture, religion, or the current mass consciousness, it can create anxiety and conflict about what we ‘should’ be doing.
The process of letting go of detrimental ways of thinking and being can be likened to an elastic band stretching and retracting as we experience new ways and get ‘tested’ on them. But the more we develop our inner confidence and congruency, the less we give our power away.
– If you must risk the anger of someone in order to do what is truly right for you, then risk it constantly. – Vernon Howard
The belief that you can multitask > Here is a great article on the many consequences of trying to multitask, which in the end, increases anxiety from lack of productivity, efficiency, cost of mistakes, as well as the negative physiological impacts : https://www.verywellmind.com/multitasking-2795003
Balancing work and play
It is important to balance work and rest time. When we work too much and don’t allow the body and mind to rest, we can restrict our productivity and creativity. And when we overindulge in rest and unproductive activity our Spirit suffers from a lack of purpose and motivation.
It is important to also have rest time and playtime. Give your body plenty of time for rejuvenation with quality sleep, meditation, and relaxation. Avoid making TV too much of your rest time as it is not actually rejuvenating.
Make sure to also have time for activities you are passionate about, that stimulate your creativity or that foster healthy relationships, laughter, and pleasure.
Practicing mindfulness (being fully present in the here and now without any judgment of what is happening) helps to control the mind. When we learn to control our mind, we can direct our mind to more life-enhancing and productive thoughts and emotions.
Also, through mindfulness, we allow space for Divine inspiration and guidance. Divine guidance is what helps us move away from situations and emotions that are detrimental. Our mind can only produce solutions from what it holds and where it’s at, which is very limited and often make us only replace a problem with another problem.
Divine inspiration, on the other hand, provides solutions or stepping stones to a more wholesome way of being.
How to practice mindfulness. Get into the practice of being fully present while engaged in a task (let’s say, doing the dishes or cleaning, brushing your teeth or showering). Practice bringing yourself back to the present moment every time your mind wanders (and it will a lot). Release any judgment you have about all this wandering, just gently bring your focus back on your task.
Another great exercise on mindfulness and focus is to count from 99 to 0. Whenever your mind wanders or you lose focus, you start again from 99. If starting from 99 is too difficult, start from 10 to 0. The goal is to really focus on one number at a time and not to think about the next number while you are visualizing or expressing the number you are at. The book Psychic Witch is an excellent book, filled with exercises to increase mindfulness, concentration, visualization, meditation, etc.
Pinpoint your distractions
We all easily get distracted, when needing to do something important and especially when wanting or needing to do inner work. We get stuck in a procrastination mode that only increases our anxiety.
Or as soon as a task gets difficult or uncomfortable something will distract you to get you out of that state of being. That is why it is important to pinpoint your usual or possible distractions and address them prior to your allotted time, as well as to grind through whatever may come up during your inner work or what needs to get done. There is a wide range of distractions, but things like: tiredness, hunger, thirst, phone, noise, room temperature, people’s interference, clutter, etc. might sneak up on you.
As uncomfortable as it is, we have to focus on the end goal which is to do what needs to be done to address the source of anxiety. Delaying will only make the anxiety worst.
Supporting your spirit
Learn and practice energetic hygiene
Smudging yourself and your space regularly can be a good practice to cleanse your energy field of acquired ‘goo’. Smudging is the practice of burning herbs and resins to remove stagnant energies from a space or a person. This practice has been used for centuries in most cultures and religions.
You can find smudging elements and accessories here : https://liberateyourtrueself.com/product-category/smudge-smudging/
Learning to identify and clear acquired or generated non-beneficial energies will eventually allow you to have more control over your actions and reactions and move you from the negative polarity of an emotion or state of being to its positive polarity. As you spend time refining the health of your energy field you will eventually raise your vibration to a position where the events or dynamics you were attracting on a recurrent basis dissolve or become less recurrent.
You can learn to identify stagnant energies through dowsing. I teach you how to identify unresolved emotions, dynamics, and limiting beliefs restricting the optimal function of your Chakras in this energy healing course: https://liberateyourtrueself.com/deep-chakra-clearing-program/
Identify energy leaks
- Where and how are you giving your power away? Do you say ‘yes’ to people and activities you know you should say ‘no’ to, but you do it out of some sort of obligation or pressure?
- Do you give more than is reasonable or healthy for you at this point in time? Do you do for others what they should be doing for themselves? Do you hold grudges?
- Where and how are you going against your personal integrity, values or moral code?
These are the main ways we give our power away. It can be overt and subtle. We usually do it as a way to feel accepted, part of a group, valuable, or to avoid conflicts.
Where we use the word ‘ should’ is often time an indication of an energy leak. ‘Should’ is crowded with limiting beliefs and it keeps us stuck. Whenever you say ‘I should’ or ‘they should’, really ask yourself why. Where is this expectation coming from and what is it bound to?
What are the choices you make that drain your energy?
Heart & Brain Coherence
Every organ and gland in our body emits an electromagnetic field, the biggest electromagnetic field is created by the heart and the second one by the brain.
These electromagnetic fields not only impacts our physical health but our energetic health as well. They protect us from acquiring detrimental energetic and emotional imprints from the collective consciousness. And assist us with manifesting our goals.
Heart Coherence is a state of cooperative alignment between the heart, mind, emotions, and our physical systems. The more coherent (functioning in harmony) these electromagnetic fields are, the higher our level of health and resilience is and the easier it is to attract our desires (or the support to achieve our goals).
Symptoms of low Heart-Brain coherence can be:
- Great difficulty shifting negative circumstances
- Not experiencing love, joy, gratitude regularly
- Lack of positive synchronicities
- Sleep disturbances
- Feeling of overwhelm
- Chronic worries about money or health
Sources of Heart-Brain coherence disruptions can be:
- Cell phones, Wi-Fi, and other wireless devices
- Chemical exposures
- Amino acid imbalances
- Information overload
- Decreased oxygen levels
- Loveless relationships
- Joyless jobs
- Unresolved emotional issues
- Noisy environments…and more
The HeartMath Institute offer lots of resources to help you create more heart coherence. And if you need a more science based approach in your life, their tools and practice is based on more than 30 years of scientific studies.
Holding a spiritual ideal
I love the work of Edgar Cayce and the practice of holding a spiritual ideal has come through the many readings he has done. I wrote a specific blog post on how to find your spiritual ideal, which you can read here : https://liberateyourtrueself.com/healing-spirituality/finding-your-spiritual-ideal/
A spiritual ideal is a quintessential quality or trait that is missing in your life or relationships. It is a living vision of where you are in each moment, inspiring movement along your greater potential ladder, and helping you increase your degree of self-awareness.
A spiritual ideal when living with a lot of anxiety could be along the lines of ‘surrender’ if you have a harder time letting go of control, or it could be ‘inner trust’ to increase your connection to your Divine self and to feel safeguarded.
Develop and strengthen your connection to nature
I have found that a lot of my spiritual insights and rejuvenation have come during or after having spent time in nature.
I do believe that we can find most, if not all, answers by observing nature and its different dynamics. And by establishing a stronger connection to natural elements we strengthen the connection to our own Spirit, and bring more harmony and cohesion to every aspect of our being.
You can spend more time outdoors; sit by a river, walk through a forest, or hike a mountain but also work with gemstones, plants, and planetary energy as well.
Dedicate time away from electronics and the busy city environment as much as possible as these are taxing to our energetic system as well as being a massive source of distractions.
This will also increase your heart and brain coherence and improve many areas of your life.
Print or save this cheat sheet of tips to reduce anxiety and manage stress
Practical Ways to Reduce Anxiety