How connection helps us heal anxiety
In this week's podcast we're talking about how connection can help heal anxiety.
Notes from the Podcast
Stigma vs understanding
The stigma around anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges creates a disconnect which does great damage. We need to bridge that gap with kind connection.
Understanding doesn't mean full comprehension. It doesn't mean computing and trying to fix it. It means understanding that somebody you care about is going through something very difficult. Anxiety is confusing and life ruining, we don't need people trying to fix us, we need people to be with us and hear us without judgement.
Judgement makes people withdraw, that's the last thing we need.
Understanding means being there. Understanding means hearing and caring without judgment.
Kindness is open, caring and thoughtful. It's the little things like a cup of tea, some humour, going for a walk together.
We are living in an age of disassociation
Loss of connection increases anxiety
We need to connect with our loved ones to feel grounded and safe
We also need to connect with nature
a study by Mind found that 71 per cent of people reported decreased feelings of anxiety and depression after a 30-minute walk in a green environment.
Step away from the screens!
Screens are by nature dissacotiating - you are literally taking information in through a glass window
It's not real, and it's not there!
- If we're looking at good stuff we need to go out and experience it for real
- If we're looking at disturbing stuff, we need to switch it off
Connection through the senses to calm the mind
- Taste - mindful eating of clean, healthy foods
- Scents - flowers, fresh air, calming essential oils
- Touch - bathing, oil massage, grass on bare feet
- Sounds - calming music, sounds of nature
- Sights - soothing colours, trees, water and flowers. Big sky, open space. Spiritual imagery.
“Vision is food for the eyes. Sound is food for the ears. Touch is food for the skin. Taste is food for the tongue.” Vasant Lad, MASc
Ayurveda teaches that our five sense are connected to the five elements. Called panchamahabhutas in Sanskrit: pancha means five, maha means great, and bhuta means element, so five great elements. When we use our senses we are connecting to the healing potential within those elements.
Hearing comes from ether
Touch comes from air
Sight comes from fire
Taste comes from water (try tasting your food with a dry mouth!)
Smell comes from the earth
From knowing this, we can make everything into a meditation: for example in a flower it's colour comes from fire, it's fragrance from the earth, it's texture from the air, its sap, or taste, from water. Observing the elements in our food and in nature around us brings a thread of mindful awareness throughout our day.
To spiritualise that meditation all we have to do is appreciate God's artistry in nature.
In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says "raso ham" "I am the taste in water". When we bring this level of awareness into everything around us we can make a spiritual connection which is the real antidote to all anxiety.
In conclusion: We need to connect with the real world. Touch it, sniff it, taste it, grow it. The more connected and grounded we are, the less we will experience anxiety.