Thrive by being happy and healthy

How to Thrive: Be Happy & Healthy with Natural Anxiety Relief

 Thrive with Natural Anxiety relief

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he secret of how to thrive is to be happy and healthy. Sounds easy enough, right? But there’s the rub: we aren’t given an instruction manual for natural anxiety relief!

We all want to live a successful and prosperous life, but it’s getting tougher. With 24-hour news cycles, an average of 9 hours a day “onscreen” and more, we are more stressed out than ever before. Google searches for anxiety have more than doubled in just the past 8 years!  Where can we find natural anxiety relief?

The New Normal

In 2015, the annual “Stress in America” survey reported 25% of American adults experienced “high levels” of stress and 50% experienced “moderate levels” of stress! And it’s not just adults who are stressed out and strung out. Teen stress levels are at an all-time high too. In October 2016, Time Magazine’s cover story was “Teen Depression and Anxiety: Why the Kids are Not Alright”. Author Susanna Schrobsdorff @SusannaSchrobs tweeted “The hardest story I’ve ever had to write”. And it was hard to read!

Teens are stressed out

Part of this is because our brains are still wired just like they were back when we were living in caves. The “fight or flight” response was useful back then if a giant animal was chasing us so we could run to safety. It’s still great today, if we go to step off the curb and see a bus or car careening towards us, we can jump back to safety.

The problem is we are bombarded with “threatening situations” over and over, all day, every day and our brains and bodies never get a chance to “re-set”. Every time we experience or even perceive a situation or event as harmful, our bodies begin a cascade of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol: our hearts pound, our muscles tense, our breath quickens…

This chronic state of fight or flight can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, insomnia, headaches, digestive problems and more. It’s imperative that we learn how to interrupt this stress response.  For me, natural anxiety remedies are a must!   Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) agrees and has left her position as founder of Huffington Post to head up her new venture Thrive Global (@thrive) , whose mission is “to end the stress and burnout epidemic”.

I used to be incredibly stressed out. When we were first married, my husband would say “Oh just calm down!”. Anyone who has ever been really stressed out knows that didn’t help! In 1995, my anxiety took me off the rails and I went on medication.  It was not the answer for me, so I’ve spent the last 20+ years learning natural  anxiety relief solutions.  I’ve gathered this information in my book “Goodbye Anxiety, Hello Freedom.”  What I’m about to share with you works! I’m living proof!

how to thrive, not just live

5 natural anxiety relief techniques that you can start using now:

E.F.T./Tapping

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Tapping is the very first technique I learned back in the mid-90s, when Stanford engineer Gary Craig was first rolling out this amazing technique that is like acupuncture without needles. AND it is self-applied! You can access my EFT “Cheat Sheet” here. 

Breath Techniques

Breathe for natural anxiety relief

I personally practice and teach my private clients MANY different breath techniques. Our breath is always with us and our breath can quickly bring us back to the present moment.  Breath is one of the best natural anxiety remedies. I had an astonishing result with a client years ago with a simple 3 part breath. CLICK HERE to learn it.

Meditation

For years, I struggled to get a regular meditation practice going. My very first introduction to meditation, the teacher said, “you need to meditate 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night”. I was OUT OF THERE! I have learned that that is way too lofty a goal for many of us, so I started out with 5 minutes and then worked my way up, little by little.

You can start with something as simple as closing your eyes, and repeating “I AM” on the inhale, and something positive on the exhale (like “Calm” or “Peaceful). I find it helpful to set the timer on my phone. If you’d like a free guided meditation, CLICK HERE.

Essential Oils

Years ago, I relied on pills to help me with my stress, anxiety and insomnia, but they really were like a band-aid – they didn’t address the problem, just masked the symptoms. In my 20+ year search for natural anxiety remedies,  I discovered essential oils and was overjoyed at how a few drops of oils could totally change my mood! You may know that lavender oil has wonderful relaxing properties, so does bergamot and clary sage.

Essential oils can be used like perfume on the body or you can diffuse it in the air and if you are using therapeutic grade oils you can take them internally. PLEASE don’t take essential oils internally unless you KNOW they are therapeutic grade. Not all essential oils are the same – and I have come to understand that it is true that you get what you pay for.

Yoga

While the previous things have all been about emotions, yoga is for body, mind and spirit. This is to me the ultimate way to get happy and healthy – to really thrive!

I started practicing yoga over 6 years ago and have fallen in love with it (it’s one of my favorite natural anxiety remedies!) So much so, that I became a Certified Yoga Teacher. Yoga is not just for super bendy skinny minnies – that is certainly not me! As a plus sized yoga teacher, I like to think that I send the message that yoga is for EVERY BODY!

If you feel intimidated to go to your local yoga studio or you just want to “try it out”, here are a few quick poses you can try on your own:

  • CAT/COW – Get down on all fours; shoulders over wrists, hips over knees. On an inhale, move your chest forward and up, through the gateway of your arms (this is cow pose), on an exhale, round your back and hollow out your belly, like a Halloween cat (this is cat pose). Repeat this for several rounds of breath, always following your breath to cow pose on the inhale, cat pose on the exhale.
  • DOWNWARD FACING DOG AT THE WALL OR “WALL DOG” – Stand right up to the wall, bring your hands to the wall, about hip height. Begin to walk your feet back until they are right under your hips and your body is at a 90* angle. Hold for a few breaths in and out. Then, on an inhale, bend your knees, look toward the wall and walk back up to the wall. (You can also do this with your hand on the kitchen counter or sink)
  • UPWARD SALUTE – Stand in MOUNTAIN POSE: feet parallel (hip width or together), standing evenly on all 4 corners of both feet, spreading the collarbones, with arms by the sides. On an inhale, reach your arms out to the sides and up and overhead, lifting the sternum up toward the sky. Spin your biceps toward your ears; palms face each other. On an exhale, sweep your arms back down by your sides. Repeat a few times, always following your breath – inhale arms up, exhale arms down.

I’d love to hear which of these you try and how they work for you. Please comment in the box below and find me on Facebook and Instagram.

And please, I know when I learn something new and exciting, I want to share it with everyone! I’d love it if you would share this article with your stressed out family and friends!

To YOUR happy and healthy life!

Blessings,

Stephanie

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