High Anxiety

We feel anxious when something about life threatens us. It could be an unexpected circumstance, a situation which is anticipated with dread, or the need to make a major decision. It could be anything which feels threatening or dangerous.

Anxiety is more than fear and worry. It's fear and worry magnified to the point where it seems to take over your body and your life.

You may feel as if you haven't taken a deep breath for weeks.

You may find that you have no appetite.

Sleeping may be difficulty.

You may begin to feel as if you ARE anxiety.

The Energy of Anxiety

When any animal feels threatened (humans included) its body produces increased adrenaline in order to give it the extra energy needed to escape the threatening situation. The human power of imagination, however, complicates this situation.

We can experience a feeling of threat when there is none. We may think about threats in the future, and our body, not knowing the difference between a physical and an imagined threat, will still produce extra adrenaline.

The heartbeat may quicken, the solar plexus may feel as if a flock of butterflies flutter within it, and the brain seems to have crossed wires. If the adrenaline doesn't get released through action there's no reduction in these symptoms, and a state of anxiety results.

The Logic of Anxiety

Therefore, one of the most effective things to do when you feel anxious is to be in physical motion. If you can, take a walk, ride a bike, engage in any activity which will put you in an aerobic state. If, for whatever reason, you can't get exercise (you might, for example, be in a plane) breathe as deeply as you can. This will relax tense muscles, provide much-needed oxygen, and, if you focus on your breathing, help to interrupt your anxious thoughts.

These measures will help to release much of the adrenaline, and reduce your anxiety level. They may not take it away altogether, though, because you still need to deal with the mind which is imagining a threat. I, for example, become anxious whenever I have to deal with impersonal institutions (banks, government agencies, etc.)

My anxiety is in part because I have received a piece of paper which informs me that unless I do X I will suffer the penalty of Y. Anonymous threats are intimidating, especially if I don't know why I'm being threatened (the element of unfamiliarity).

My anxiety is often deepened by a feeling of inadequacy. Not only don't I know what to do, but I'm not the kind of person who would ever know what to do about this threat. This comes up for me as a self-esteem issue.

Variations on a Theme

Anxiety can also be connected to survival issues. The anxiety-producing sight of a hungry predator headed in your direction clearly relates to survival, but so do other experiences.

Stage fright is a form of anxiety, and the stage may be the traditional one or any situation in which one must speak before a number of people, or to one person, i.e., a boss about a raise, the other participant in a relationship problem, etc.

In stage fright, the symptoms of anxiety are (if possible) intensified, and the feeling of inadequacy (I can't do this) are also heightened. Specifics of the self-esteem issue may be: "I'm not good enough" (as an actor or speaker); "I don't deserve this" (the raise or improved relationship). The survival issue is, "If I don't I won't get that part (or job or raise).

A variant of stage fright is social anxiety, in which one feels utterly uncomfortable in any social situation. The inner monologue is "No one wants to talk to me; I don't know what to say at parties; I'm not interesting. I am a social failure, and therefore (here we hearken back to prehistoric times) I will be thrown out of the communal cave and left to starve to death."

Contemplating a major change can also initiate anxiety, and again, self-esteem issues can be the source of it. One asks, "Am I really capable of making a wise choice? What if I make a mistake? What if I ruin my life?"

First, Calm Down

(A note: None of the suggestions below are intended to replace medication or medical or therapeutic assistance, especially when anxiety is a chronic condition.)

The ideal step after breathing and running is to take action in terms of whatever response is appropriate (calling the bank manager and demanding to know about the check you never wrote which appears on your statement, trying out your "I want a raise" speech on patient friends). When one is truly anxious, though, that isn't always possible until the anxiety level is reduced.

There are a number of crystals, flower essences, and essential oils which can be helpful, but sometimes we need to be less anxious to even remember that they exist.

Therefore, when I'm feeling anxious, my first step is to reach for Rescue Remedy, a combination of five Bach Flower Remedies (impatiens for impatience, Cherry Plum for feeling out of control, Star of Bethlehem for shock and trauma, Rock Rose for terror, and Clematis for disorientation).

Rescue Remedy may be taken directly from the bottle or in a glass of water as often as every twenty minutes until one feels more calm.

Calming Crystals

Crystals can also be helpful in anxiety emergencies. Many people like to carry them for general comfort and support, and if you have or would like to have a selection for this purpose my recommendations include rhodochrosite, peridot, amethyst, hawk's eye, aventurine, citrine.

Rhodochrosite and peridot are probably the most important crystals for anxiety relief, for both relate to the solar plexus, which regulates breathing and in which accumulated feelings of inadequacy may be stored.

You can help to encourage slow, deep breathing by holding a rhodochrosite in one hand and placing it against the solar plexus or simply holding it in your hand.

Peridot is excellent for releasing emotional tension, and for restoring feelings of self-confidence. Although we make no claims about its physical effects it is believed to help to balance the endocrine system, particularly the adrenal glands.

Aventurine is the crystal I most recommend for calming the racing heart which so often is an element of anxiety. This stone is widely used for balancing the heart.

Citrine is another excellent crystal for restoring self-esteem and for manifesting one's dreams.

Hawk's Eye helps to give one an aerial perspective on a situation. When we can see our problems from a distance they seem much smaller.

Amethyst is known as nature's tranquilizer, and I find that it does have a wonderfully calming effect on jangled nerves. It can also aid in peaceful sleep.

Flower Essences

(Bach Flower Remedies are designated here as BFR; while Flower Essence Society Remedies are FES).

Rescue Remedy, already described is the foremost flower remedy for anxiety. Other helpful ones include Elm (BFR), for the feeling of being overwhelmed, Mimulus (BFR), for a known threat (i.e., "I always get anxious when I have to get into an airplane"), and Aspen (BFR), for an unknown threat (this can include anxiety-producing nightmares, a situation in which the outcome is very uncertain, or the generalized, "I don't know why, but I don't feel good about this" feeling).

Chamomile (FES) might be described as the floral equivalent to peridot, being helpful in relieving emotional tension. Lavender (FES) is helpful when one's nerves are rapidly becoming frayed.

Stage fright can be greatly eased by Golden Yarrow (FES); while discomfort in social situations can be helped by Oregon Grape.

Essential Oils

Melissa (known in herb form as lemon balm) is for me one of the most delicious essential oils, not only in its scent, but in its gentle ability to lift up the spirits. It can be used both to relieve depression and to calm intense emotions. Its keyword is balance.

Bergamot is very calming to jangled nerves and helps to relieve physical stress. It is recommended that one inhale it at night in assist in peaceful sleep. It's also uplifting on the spiritual level, helping to expand us beyond the limiting boundaries of fear and worry. (Note: don't place this directly on the skin, as it can cause burns.)

Chamomile is one of the most calming essential oils, being an aid to sleep and relaxation. I recommend rubbing it directly on the solar plexus to ease any tension there. It is also one of the oils most helpful in producing a meditational state.

Lavender is especially helpful when your emotions feel out of control and you feel unable to think any think any thoughts which aren't anxious ones. It also helps in sleep.

Flower essences and essential oils blend well together, especially in a soothing bath.

Other Supportive Measures

Reiki is one of the best anxiety reducers in my personal repertoire.

At the Crystal Articles Menu you will find links to articles about individual crystals.

In our Flower Essence section you will find articles about flower essences.

A Meditation for Anxiety

For this meditation you'll need your choice of grounding stones (smoky quartz, hematite, tiger's eye, or black tourmaline), citrine, peridot or rhodochrosite, aventurine, and hawk's eye or amethyst, and a clear quartz point to hold in your hand. If you also have a smoky quartz point this will help to balance your energy.

You may find it helpful to also burn some essential oils in a diffuser or aromalamp. Taking one of the flower essences described above just before meditating is also a good idea.

Place your grounding crystal near the base of your spine, citrine on the navel area, rhodochrosite or peridot on the solar plexus, aventurine on the heart center, and amethyst or hawk's eye just behind your head. Place a smoky quartz in one hand and a clear quartz in the other.

Inhale slowly and deeply. Imagine your breath beginning at your head and traveling down to your feet, then coming back up again. Feel your breath travel through your body. After you've done this for a few minutes notice whether where there are any parts of your body where there is tension or a feeling of agitation.

Focus your breathing on those areas. You might want to imagine your breath as a river or waterfall wearing down sharp-edged stones. See these stones become smooth.

Now, without thinking about the situation in detail, open yourself to solutions. If it is appropriate for you, also call on angels (guardian or others), your power animals, or any other beings you ask for assistance. The answers may not come up immediately; what is important is that you're making yourself receptive to them (like clearing and plowing land and planting seeds).

You may also want to recall situations in the past which seemed desperate or hopeless, and remind yourself that you resolved them. If you are meditating with hawk's eye imagine that you are a hawk soaring over the landscape of your life.

How long you spend in this meditation depends on your tolerance for it. If you're a new meditator ten minutes might be as much as you can handle. If you can last for or gradually increase your time to thirty minutes that would be ideal.

Post-Meditation

The greatest challenge for this particular meditation is to make sure that you continue the slow, deep breathing. If anxiety returns go back to the visualization of the water wearing down the stones. (If you have any nature music which features running water this can be especially helpful.)

When you've finished meditating you may find it helpful to take out a notebook and write down all the things you can do to solve the problem. Call your friends. It isn't their problem, and they won't be anxious about it. This alone will calm you down.

And don't forget that someday they will call on you for the same favor. When they do notice how their worries don't make you anxious.

Two particular phrases which have often helped me: "This, too, will pass" and "Someday I'll laugh at this."

It will, and I have.


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