how one tool calmed my anxiety + improved my sleep

October 16, 2017

 

Our modern, on-the-go lives have the ability to add extra stress, tension, and a general imbalance when it comes to our health. Workload, social life, travel, and other commitments can be overwhelming, and at times may even create a physical imbalance that affects wellbeing. For me, about a year ago that stress manifested itself as debilitating anxiety that resulted in little sleep, feeling nauseous daily, and even panic attacks. Though I was really happy with my life as it was, I was putting a lot on my plate - school, work, relationships, and overall sharing more than I had to give. I quickly realized I needed to make changes in my lifestyle, and I needed to make those changes fast.

 

What began as feeling fearful and out of control on a daily basis, eventually turned into a journey of self-healing. To start, I improved my nutrition, removing sugar, coffee, alcohol and any other stimulants. I was in the last leg of my nutrition program and knew soon I would have to begin writing my dissertation, so made the tough decision to leave my beloved job and find more flexible, low-stress work to balance the time I needed to focus on school. I made a few visits to a therapist, which was a new experience for me, but our sessions opened my eyes to a new perspective on my situation and offered helpful tools.

 

As much as these changes were fantastic in helping me find my way back to myself, there was one tool that immensely improved my anxiety and sleep quality: yoga nidra. Yoga nidra, often referred to as “yogic sleep”, brings you into a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, moving into deep relaxation while still being consciously guided by a practitioner. With this tool I was able to sleep for the first time in months, and maintain that restful sleep until my body finally found its balance again.

 

These changes didn’t happen immediately, but over the course of about 6 months, I saw incredible improvements. While I owe much to the smaller changes I made, and all the support I received, finding my yoga nidra practice was the cherry on top. Yoga nidra offered the crutch I needed to move within myself and find peace for both mental and emotional health, while finally fully resting so my physical body could be well again. Since implementing this practice into my routine, my panic attacks have subsided, my anxiety is more easily recognizable and manageable, and my sleep has dramatically improved, allowing me to wake up well rested and ready to live more fully!

 

If yoga nidra sounds like something that would assist you, accessing content is easy online (my favorite teacher is Jennifer Pearcy + fave app is Insight Timer), or you may even be able to find a yoga nidra class locally near you. This practice was invaluable to my healing journey, and it may be just the tool you’ve needed to optimize your wellness, too!

 

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