Here we are, stuck at home feeling anxious about coronavirus. Maybe you are experiencing:
- Palpitations (feeling your heartbeat rapidly or pounding in your chest unrelated to exercise)
- Rumination (repeated thought patterns, cyclical thinking of invasive topics like sickness, death, or financial ruin)
- Panic attacks that are associated with feelings of intense fear
- Perspiration (under arms, palms, brow, etc)
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of dread
Feel Better Now
You can do your own holistic treatment plan for anxiety at home and with the virtual support of a Heart Spring Health provider take advantage of muscle relaxation techniques, acupressure points, and herbal supplementation.
Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Where do you feel tension? Do you feel it in your shoulders? Neck? Upper back? How about your hands – are they clenched? Do you have a headache? Is your jaw tense?
An easy way to start with muscle relaxation is to think about tightly tensing an area that is experiencing tension. It may seem counterintuitive, but like yin and yang, when you tighten, it then releases.
Start with your hands. Clench them tightly. Feel how when you tighten your fists, your forearms tighten and perhaps your biceps and your triceps, too. Maybe your chest muscles and your upper back tighten. Maybe your neck. After you have held the tension, then slowly relax, let your hands open, let them stretch open, until you feel less tension in your hands. Check in with your upper body and see if other tension there has released as well. You can do this across your body, tightening and releasing various muscle groups.
There are several points on the body that are especially good for helping to reduce anxiety. Depending on the kind of anxiety you’re feeling, some may be better for you than others. Try several and see which ones work best for you.
There are dozens of points on the ears that are very close together. Rub your ears all over, paying especially close attention to any areas that feel good to you.
On the sternum or breastbone, about halfway between where the bone begins near your neck and where it ends at your tummy is an acupoint that allows for better breathing and the movement of qi when you’re feeling stuck. This is especially good when you are feeling anxious and tight and you don’t want to move. Place a couple of fingers or your knuckles in the center of the breastbone and just do small gentle circles taking deep breaths as you stimulate this point.
Turn your nails towards each other and rub them across each other. Allow the cuticle edges of your fingers to rub. This allows you to gather qi in your fingertips and palms. If you rub your fingers together like this for several seconds, then bring your hands towards each other as if holding a tennis ball, you may feel warmth and pressure between your hands. You can play with this qi ball, making it larger and smaller, and seeing where you lose the sen
On each wrist are a set of points called Buddha’s Triangle. These three points are especially good for calming emotions. If you
gather a qi ball, then you can put the ball in one hand and then place that ball over the inside of the opposite wrist. If you allow the qi ball to enter those points, it can be especially relaxing.
Herbs are best decided with the help of your naturopath or acupuncturist, but herbal teas can be used on your own and very calming. Some options are chamomile, mint, flowers or berries. Experiment with several herbal teas and reach out to your Heart Spring Health practitioner for recommendations.
After you make it through this bout of anxiety, consider making an anxiety preparedness kit to help you ward it off in the future.
The best thing that you can do for yourself is breathe. Know that we are all in this together and your emotions are valid. Anxiety can be very scary and your experience of your fears is very real. If you are concerned about your ability to handle your level of anxiety, please reach out and we will help you.
Emery Olson (they/them) is a licensed acupuncturist in Portland, Oregon.
Images courtesy of Unsplash and author