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    Tend To Yourself Thursday {6/27}: A Holistic Approach to Stress & Anxiety

    Have you ever tried to think your way out of feelings like anxiety? Thinking yourself in circles, believing if you could just figure it out somehow, or make it make sense, you wouldn’t feel this way? 

    Many of us believe that changing our mindset, our thoughts, or finding some logical reason for it is the way to reduce and overcome a feeling state. While mindset work is important, a holistic approach encompasses more than just cognitive shifts.

    Reducing stress and anxiety involves not only changing our thoughts, but also attending to our experience in our bodies and nervous systems, our behaviors, and routines too. It’s about creating a supportive environment on multiple levels of experience – mind, body, and heart.

    A friend once told me while I was caught in the throws of emotion and trying to figure my way out – “you can’t think your way out of a feeling.” I laughed in relief, duh! I was spending so much time and energy seeking relief by over-analyzing. Feelings are meant to be felt. This isn’t always easy or desirable in a culture that has a low tolerance for discomfort and prioritizes quick fixes, myself included.

    This week, I invite you to practice tuning into your body when you notice stress, anxiety, or any challenging feeling. Rather than trying to think way your way out of it, try this process:

    Take a few deep breaths, turn inward, closing your eyes or softening your gaze.

    • Gently with openness, bring your attention to your body. Notice where your attention goes.
    • Notice any sensations without trying to change anything. This is your felt experience.
    • Accept and allow your felt experience, viewing it as valuable, intelligent information.
    • Notice how this sensation moves or wants to move. This can indicate how it needs to process through without your mind getting involved. Maybe it waves through your body, let it wave. Maybe it wants to shake, get up and shake! In other words, let it move, and if you don’t know how it wants to move, move in any way and see what happens.

    When thinking your way out isn’t working, support your feelings state by dropping into your body. If you need support on this journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out.