Monday, December 12, 2016

Gratitude as the Cure for Anxiety

By Janine L. Agoglia

The holiday season is a time of year when people tend to be in a better mood and are kinder to their fellow human. On the flip side of that, people also tend to be rushing around, preparing for the holidays, anxious that they won't get everything done. "I just need to make it to January" is often the mind set.

The problem with "just making it until..." is that you are not able to enjoy what is happening now. By constantly looking ahead, you are missing your current life. Anxiety lives in the future, so that type of thinking is often very stressful and uncomfortable. When you worry about things over which you have no control (like things that haven't happened yet and may or may not ever happen) it causes anxiety and stress. Focusing on something that you do have control over can help you feel more calm and in control of your body and mind.

Gratitude is a practice that can bring you into the present. There is a saying that says "Fear and Gratitude cannot occupy the same space." It is hard to be worried about all of the food you need to buy and prepare when you are grateful for the food that you have and the family members for whom you are preparing it.

If you find yourself getting stressed this holiday season (or at any time during the year), take a moment to close your eyes and breathe (please keep your eyes open if you are driving). Inhale through your nose filling the belly (not the chest) with air, and then exhale very slowly, allowing your belly to deflate again. Try to make the inhale and exhale of equal length, or the exhale slightly longer than the inahle. Repeat this 5 times. Then think of 3 things for which you are grateful. You can just think them to yourself, you can write them down, you can say them out loud, whatever works for you. Sit with those 3 things and really allow them into your heart and consciousness. You may also notice that your stress has dissipated.

Making Gratitude a daily practice can go a long way toward easing your anxiety and helping you enjoy the life you are living.

Happy Holidays!

Janine L. Agoglia has been teaching Vinyasa yoga since 1998. Her yoga journey started in 1995 with Iyengar Yoga and she discovered Vinyasa yoga in 1997. The combination of breath with proper body alignment is what fuels Janine's practice and the classes that she teaches. She believes that yoga should be safe as well as challenging, creative and fun. She always emphasizes proper alignment within the flow, as well as focus, breath and humor to help students find the balance between strength and ease. Deepening one’s physical awareness helps one strengthen his/her spiritual awareness and mind-body connection. Janine loves being able to help people deepen their own practices, finding yoga in everyday life, on and off the mat. Her DVD, “Vinyasa Yoga for Regular People” is available for purchase at the front desk at Lumina Mind Body Studios in Wayland, MA.

In addition to being the Co-Director of Yoga and teaching yoga classes at Lumina Mind Body Studios Janine is also a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist who practices at Integrative Therapeutics in Natick, MA.

To contact Janine, please email or visit her website,