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Feeling Overwhelmed? Tips for Smoother Sailing

Have you ever noticed how sometimes an insignificant mishap can feel monumental? You spill a drink or miss an exit, and suddenly you are swept up into a flood of emotion?

Feeling overwhelmed is never fun. Physically, it is depleting. Mentally, it is consuming. When it comes to relationships, it can wreak havoc. It can leave us feeling out of control, scared, angry, sad, “frozen”, or lost.

Recognizing how out-of-balance our lives can be is actually a good thing. It helps motivate us to seek balance. A yoga lifestyle offers us natural solutions.

Breathe

When we are in the thick of it, yogic breathing or pranayama, grounds us. When anxiety surfaces, our breathing becomes shallow, the chest tightens, and our heart rate goes up. Slow, controlled breathing helps calm and sooth our nerves. It gives us the mental and physical space we need to gain perspective. A recent study from Southern Methodist University shows that for those who suffer from panic disorders, normalizing the breath is more helpful than traditional cognitive therapy for reducing panic symptoms and hyperventilation.

Allow Your Intelligence to Assist You

When things feel overwhelming it’s helpful to remind ourselves that feelings and situations themselves, do not last forever. The age old saying, “this too shall pass” describes the temporary, fleeting nature of material conditions. Focusing on this simple truth can help dissolve feelings of anxiousness or panic.

Relieve the Pressure

When life feels like it’s crashing down, it’s a good time to take stock. Perhaps we’re putting pressure on ourselves to take on more than we can realistically do. Or perhaps we’re not giving ourselves ample time to do it in. Even when it comes to our own well-being we sometimes need to relax. We may think in order to be healthy we need to make extreme changes—exercise more, get to bed earlier, eat better, make time for relaxation, and so on. It’s true, all of these things are very helpful, but if they’re not already habits, trying to implement them all at once can be counterproductive. The ancient system of Ayurveda, promotes gradual improvements by adding practices to our lives, one or two at a time. Once you feel comfortable with a new practice, then you can add something new as long as it doesn’t overwhelm you.

Soothing Activities

While we may be tempted to do something relatively mindless to unwind and relax, like watch TV or surf the internet, rather than soothing us, this can clutter our thoughts and actually add to our stress. Instead, try soothing your nerves with activities that help you get more in touch with yourself. A walk in nature, a warm bath, or eating a warm vegetable soup can help restore you after a particularly hard day. Seek out activities that expand your consciousness rather than agitate you. Try this simple breathing meditation technique to sooth your mind and restore your spirit: http://www.wailana.com/lifestyle/meditation/yoga-sound-meditation/yoga-sound-breathing

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