I feel compelled to share when I’m anxious. Or, more to the point, I feel compelled to share when I find a pithy solution that might just help others orbiting the same tetchy vibe in the Zeitgeist.
And even more to the point, I know that when I do share (from on tetchy high) so many readers on this site cry out saying they’re feeling the same way. And I reckon just this sense of commonality, of knowing you’re no Robinson Crusoe in the orbit, of feeling that “you’re seen” in some way, that there’s a special synchronicity to it all, helps us all. (The reader comments that follow the posts do this for me; call this a comment-bait post, if you like!)
A lot of people are feeling anxious this week. There’s a reason for this, and a fix, which I’ll get to in a moment.
For me, my current anxiety, which is causing me to not think straight and to have a permanent flutteriness in my solar plexus, is not pegged to any particular stressor. There’s no ostensible, external reason as such. Nope, it’s an anxiety that’s in my bones. I’m anxious at a cellular level, almost independent of my head and point-a-finger-at-it circumstances.
This is a really clear distinction to make. Why? Because we can get straight on with fixing – or easing – it. The fix isn’t dependent on external ducks that we have to get lined up. We don’t have to sit in our tedious tetchy orbit waiting for the meeting with our boss to address our work frustrations, or for the week to go by before we can make a credible ultimatum to our partners, or for the noisy neighbour upstairs to sort out their renovation plans before deciding whether it’s time to move out and finally get some sleep. We can cut to the practical fix and ease our cellular pain. Now. What a bloody relief.
So why are we anxious just now?
Vata is out of whack. Which, I know, sounds a bit whacko. I’ve shared about the very grounded and ancient ayurvedic approach to wellness before which works to three types (vata, pitta, kapha). And how we all have a dominant type. And how the vata type is notoriously anxious (I’m archetypal vata – spindly, dry, fast talker, agitated; hates air-conditioning and noises), and how modern life is particularly niggling for vatas. Oh, and how if vata energy is out of whack, we all (regardless of your type) get out of whack. Vata is the oxygen to the fire. Too much and off we burn, out of control. If you haven’t read my previous posts on this or Googled it or read Perfect Health, please do. It’s worth the catch-up.
So vata gets out of whack when it’s whipped into a frenzy by the wind or dryness or changes in temperature… in fact, changes of any sort. Right now, here in Australia, it’s windy, dry, with cold spells as we approach the change of season. Voila! Vata whackiness…and anxiety.
So what’s the practical fix?
Taming your vata with as many practical grounding, nourishing, wind-minimising tricks as you can. Like, now. I’ve touched on these techniques before. But the point I’ve realized this time around is this: when cellular anxiety kicks in, you really have to load up on the techniques. One or two won’t cut it. You have to treat it like you might a cold when you can’t afford to get sick (me, I douse myself with Vitamin C and Echinacea, go to bed early, eat veggies…the whole catastrophe all at once). To this end, I thought I’d share my checklist.
If you’re anxious right now, try to do as many as you can from this list…now! And please add any extra tricks you turn to below.
My Anxiety Fix Checklist
- Eat oil. I eat coconut oil straight from the jar. Or olive oil on my dinner.
- Rub yourself in oil. Especially the feet and hands, where 75 per cent of nerves end. (I’ve written about why here.)
- Turn off air-con and fans. And get out of the wind. I take a shawl with me if I can’t do either of these.
- Don’t go to cafes. Sit in a park instead. The noise is too much.
- Try Sleep Sound (I rate it.)
- Drink green tea. Not coffee.
- Eat lunch at 1pm. And dinner at 7pm. Or whatever. The routine bit is key. Vata energy needs routine to be happy.
- Sit still for 5-20 minutes several times a day. Try sit on a small wooden bench with yourself.
- Rest your adrenals. Get off the coffee, sugar and alcohol.
- Tell friends you have to leave by 9pm when you’re out. This is so you can get to bed by 10pm. This is to get your body into the best, most restful routine.
- Stop toggling. Switch off.
- Walk everywhere. This is to slow down. I avoid car travel, even bike travel.
- Check your stress levels. There’s a clever little test here.
- Don’t go for a run. Again, go slow with a yoga class.
- Meditate. Your anxiety appears comical when you meditate. You become rather fond of it eventually.