From the moment you wake, begin with intention. Our nervous system reacts to each thought that passes through our heads, and while we are not our thoughts, it can, at times, feel as though we are. The ugly truth of living a lifetime with generalized anxiety disorder is that it’s never as easy as some may say it is. “Change your thoughts, change your life” can feel like empty advice when your daily struggle is to not spiral. Every day, my head is full of “what ifs,” and it’s been this way for as long as I can remember. I know now that this anxiety is fear-based. I know now where most of these triggers stem from, and, while I have an understanding of their origin, it doesn’t always stop the flow of useless thoughts from intruding and speeding up my heart rate. When I was in my early 20s, I started on medication. That medication saved me. It was a low dose and seemed to keep me stable enough so that I could sleep. I was on it for ten years. Then one day I decided to see if I could stop taking it. I had been in therapy on and off and was chocked full of natural ways to support myself and my mental health. I talked with my doctor and she walked me through the weaning process. I’m not going to say it was easy, folks. Some moments were quite scary if I’m honest. But I saw it through and after a few months, I was no longer taking that tiny pill every evening. That tiny pill was my lifeline for so many years. If I forgot to take it, I’d feel awful the next day. Was this because my chemical imbalance was actually “off,” or was it simply my anxiety telling me that my day would be awful because I forgot the pill? I’m not sure, but it felt as though my life was being controlled by my medication.
I am in no way hating on medication. I needed it—and it legit was a blessing at the time I started taking it. Medication is available to us when we need it, and I’m so grateful for that. Use what is available to you, always. Don’t be ashamed of it either, be proud that you made the choice to help yourself.
While in the weaning process, I went full force in utilizing the tools I’d learned over the years to help calm my nervous system. I wanted to get a head start on living without my medicine; I really wanted to prove to myself that I could do this. (Though, looking back, putting that pressure on myself wasn’t the healthiest of decisions.)
What was the single most helpful practice I did for myself?
Yes, meditation was necessary.
Yes, list-making was necessary.
Yes, I needed to get enough sleep and drink enough water.
Yes, I needed to utilize my support system of friends and family.
But it was the walking through life with intention that paved the path to clarity for me.
Setting Intention - With Intention
Setting your intentions for the day can not only make the day easier, but it also calls purpose to the forefront of each moment. You are choosing to lead your day with whatever you want it to be. Will it always pan out perfectly? No. But you will intend for it to and you’ll be surprised to see that, with a simple twist of perspective, even the times that aren’t going as you intended still hold meaning.
There are a lot of ways to bring intention into your life. You be the guide.
“Just for today” is a connected mantra that can guide your day. It helps you to remain in the present moment while also giving you the opportunity to choose what it is you wish to focus on for that day. “Just for today I will believe in myself fully,” or “Just for today I will breathe more deeply.” You get to fill in the blanks for whatever will serve you best that day. Oh, and WRITE IT DOWN. Writing your intentions down will help you not only remember them, but also expand their energy—put it out there so that it can be returned.
“I intend to attract peace into my life” is a great daily/weekly/monthly/yearly mantra you can call on. When unpeaceful moments or people present themselves to you, you can revisit your self-made intention and walk away from anything that isn’t aligning. Want to double up on the energy of this? Make or purchase some mala or prayer beads and with each stone repeat your intention, taking deep breaths in between. Oh, and again—WRITE IT DOWN!
Color Therapy is also called chromotherapy. It is by far one of my favorite therapies out there. I learned most of what I know via an Inger Naess book I read years ago. You can read more about her explanations here. You can receive color therapy via colored lights, or simply by surrounding yourself in certain colors. I personally benefit the most from color therapy by using it daily with intention in easy-to-access ways. For example: Let’s say you have a presentation to give and your nerves are all over the place and your confidence is lacking. I’d ask you to start your day with the color yellow in mind. Now, as you know if you’ve read any of my blogs, I have a tendency to always bring things back to the seven major energy centers in our bodies: the chakras. Yellow is the color associated with the Solar Plexus chakra and it supports our self-confidence. So, in this circumstance, I’d encourage you to eat a banana for breakfast, wear or paint your nails yellow, or carry your presentation in a yellow binder. This is setting the intention for you to remind yourself that you are powerful and can conquer the things that lay ahead of you. Basically, you’d wake up and say “today I will believe in myself”—incorporating color into that is merely to serve as a reminder to said intention. In moments of self-doubt, seeing your yellow socks will make you aware that you’ve slipped back into that low-frequency state and you will be guided right back into the intention you set earlier in the day. Or, if you’re like me and struggle regularly with anxiety, this is another place that color therapy can really help. For years the only color you’d ever see on my toenails was red. This was my daily way of reminding myself to ground away from anxiety. If I could see that I was also feeling a bit sad or was being hard on myself, I'd wear a green sweater—setting the intention to give myself unconditional love that day. I love color therapy so much that I even have solid color dinnerware and mugs. Whenever I feel that I need a little more support on that day (ie: grounding, connection, self-confidence) I eat off of the corresponding color plate or drink from that color mug. I’ve managed to incorporate this therapy into almost every waking moment of my life. It’s the best form of intention setting I’ve found. Plus—it’s pretty. There are a lot of different ways to receive color therapy. If you Google around your town, I’m sure that you’ll find a space that offers it as a treatment. Typically they use a sequence of colored lights that surround you as you lay on a massage table.
Some other ways to wrap yourself up in color are color baths and color therapy glasses. You can find color therapy bath packets at an amazing online store called Colour Bath, and some great glasses can be found at RainbowOPTX. (I’ve used both of these companies before and trust them, that’s why I’m mentioning them.)
In closing, I’d like to call attention again to the quote I mentioned earlier: “Change your thoughts, change your life.” We are not our thoughts; we are so much more than the mindless chatter that scrolls through our heads. And though the quote can bring on anxiety at times for me, the quote in itself is correct. The trick is knowing how to take helpful steps in the direction of “thought change” that needs to be incorporated.
Start with intention.
Call in the necessary energy to help shift your thoughts. Whether you struggle with mental dis-ease or not, this skill is something to add to your daily self-love practice.
Need calmness? Call it in, write it down, and so it is.
Need confidence? Call it in, write it down, and so it is.
Need more grounding? Call it in, write it down, and so it is.
Need patience? Call it in, write it down, and so it is.
Just for today, I intend to take deeper breaths; and so can you.
About the Author
Born and raised in West Virginia, you'll find Heather's heart outlined in the Appalachian mountains. She has strong passions for writing, healing, and music. She has spent much of her life spreading the message of ‘loving without conditions', all the while kicking up dirt - barefoot and dancing. While she has been an Energy Worker for over 15 years, a self-published author, and a business owner - Heather's truest love lies in being a mother...her continuous reminder of unconditional love and heartfelt laughter.