Do you want to get rid of anxiety and enjoy your life more?
If you have anxiety, it is hard to enjoy anything, isn't it? When I was anxious, I barely left the house since it was too challenging for me to go places and be around people. This was the worse thing to do. At home, there was less to engage my mind and my wild imagination added to my torment.
I have a middle ground (pun intended) to help ease anxiety when you want to get out of your head but are not ready for social interaction.
Go outside in nature! Here are six ways to ease anxiety through nature:
When stressed, I lie right on the ground and let all of my troubles flow out of my body and into the earth. In that moment, nothing matters and I am just there connected to this huge planet under me. I allow myself to feel supported by something greater than me. I feel safe. I can let go.
Anxiety makes us feel separate, like we can't handle the world. It is an "us versus them" feeling of vulnerability and out of control. But you can find connection in nature to calm your mind, heart, and soul.
Engaging in nature helps you forge connection. Go outside, look at a leaf, smell a flower, watch some chipmunks play, and these things enter our world.
Everything changes. Flowers sprout, bloom and fade.
One of our biggest fears is loss. But even sadness and loss is temporary. When something goes, something else comes. It's just the way of the world. Nature reminds us that no matter where you are in life, it's not only loss. There's always more to come.
Loss isn't the end. Nothing stays empty. Nature will just fill it in.
Gain a Larger Perspective
Our problems are little when matched to this massive world. Things that we think matter so much pale in comparison to a huge ocean. There are more stars in the sky than worries in our heads.
Outside we can let go and be part of something bigger, and our fear and doubt pale in comparison.
Breathe in That Oxygen
We've known breathing is by far the best thing to do to ease our nervous system. Sometimes when we are anxious, we forget to exhale and then can't get breaths in since our lungs are full already.
Go sit by a tree or a plant. Make sure you are exhaling so your lungs are ready for some yummy fresh oxygen. Talk to the plant. Ask it anything you want. Plants have loads to teach us. You may want to touch or look at the texture of the plant (I do this to feel connected) and smell the amazing smells!
The other day I went on a hike with my son. We saw a raccoon, a chipmunk, three frogs, countless birds, a squirrel, tons of wild flowers, and two butterflies. We had a break from our problems, forgot about the whole world while we were in the woods.
It is amazing how 20 minutes of walking can ease anxiety and clear your mind.
Put the Brakes on Adrenaline
Nature brings you out of your head and into your body through your senses.
Shinrin-yoku is the Japanese therapeutic practice of walking outside where one engages in nature using all five senses. Research has suggested that the scent of trees, the sound of brooks, and the feel of sunshine have a physiological calming effect — and can decrease cortisol up to 16%!
Find some green space anywhere (even if it is a houseplant). Every day (and especially when you are anxious) sit, look, smell, feel, and do some deep breathing.
In the winter, put a bowl of rocks under your desk! According to emerging research, "Earthing" (standing barefoot on the ground) can be beneficial in:
- Reducing inflammation by defusing excess positive electrons
- Reducing chronic pain
- Improving sleep (I can vouch strongly for this!)
- Increasing energy (I noticed this also)
- Lowering stress and promoting calmness by reducing stress hormones
- Normalizing biological rhythms including circadian rhythm
- Improving blood pressure and blood flow
- Relieving muscle tension and headache (I noticed this)
- Lessening menstrual and female hormone symptoms
- Speeding healing
- Eliminating jet lag
- Protecting the body from EMFs (electromagnetic fields)
- Shortening recovery time from injury or athletic activity
- Reducing or eliminating snoring
- Helping support adrenal health.
Nature is free and available anywhere. It gets us moving, exploring, and feeling connected. Use it to feel better!
Jodi Aman is a psychotherapist, YouTuber, and author of You 1, Anxiety 0: Win Your Life Back from Fear and Panic.