Modern life can feel exhausting. The frantic, always-on, always-connected aspects can leave you feeling frazzled, burnt out and unable to go on.
And sometimes it’s easy to forget that natural problems can be solved with simple natural solutions.
And the more you feel aligned with a particular solution the better it may work for you.
So to give you a wide range of possible ways to cope with stress, anxiety and depression I asked experts in a range of areas what their favourite spiritual methods are.
The experts featured include psychologists, stress management counsellors, priests, pastors, tarot readers, yoga teachers, meditation experts, and more
Here are 43 simple ways to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression;
“What are your favourite spiritual ways to manage stress, anxiety, and depression?”
1) Take a Visual Vacation.
This is different from virtual vacations in that you are using your mind and body rather than technology to “visit” a safe, quiet, exotic or adventurous place.
In a quiet room, close your eyes, take a deep breath and begin to find that perfect place to visit.
Then once you have “arrived,” it’s time to feel the emotions of what it’s like to kiteboard, visit the Arc de Triomphe or lounge lazily by the blue waters of the sea.
Science is beginning to show that you don’t have to actually be doing an activity in order for it to have an effect not only on your stress levels but on your immune system as well.
2) Tap, Tap, Tap
Tap # 1 – Tap Dance (or any kind of dancing) has shown to be effective in both pain management and stress reduction.
Check out all the videos online of moms in labor dancing up a storm. So strap on some shoes and pretend you are the tap king/queen of your town.
Tap # 2 – EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) aka tapping is becoming more and more popular in the mainstream.
You use your fingers to tap on specific meridian points in the body while talking through emotions, frustrations, and traumas.
Tap # 3 – Tap into your intuition. Journaling is one of the most stress-reducing activities you can undertake because it lets out all of the fears, doubts worries and positive emotions you are feeling.
Use the time to bring up old hurts, lost dreams but also to create posts about what you want to create next in your life that is happy and positive.
You will be surprised by all the things you forgot to remember about your life and your hopes and dreams.
3) Talk to Yourself
Mirror work is a tried and true technique for stress. Stand in the bathroom (or some other mirror) and begin to talk out loud to the person you see. What do you like about yourself?
Pretend you are your best friend, the ultimate cheerleader and see yourself the way they see you, as perfectly imperfect.
Build yourself up the way you deserve. If that doesn’t work turn on Cheer on Netflix and use a little Jerry mat talk on yourself. You can do this! Go you!
4) Follow a Spirit Schedule
Many of us are caught in a cycle where we can’t go to work. But rather than spend time working on a spiritual practice we are caught in a loop of TV and digital content.
Below is a schedule to use during quarantine with a much better outcome.
- Wake up. Pray/Meditate.
- Make your bed. It gives a sense of calm and not cluttered.
- Eat a healthy breakfast.
- Tai Chi or Yoga or another type of movement exercise.
- Work, but only on things that inspire you not out of fear.
- Eat a healthy lunch or breakfast.
- Meditate (for at least 20 minutes)
- Work on a project or make some calls to friends/families. Nothing that brings stress.
- Dance, Laugh or go for a walk/run.
- Eat a healthy dinner.
- Journal, read or write something uplifting about yourself.
- Meditate (10 minutes)
Giovanni Dienstmann – Live And Dare
My favorite ways of dealing with stress, anxiety and depression is meditation.
Meditation allows us to stay grounded in our body here and now, and allow the thoughts and emotions to pass by like clouds in the sky.
We focus on an anchor such as the breath, a mantra, an image or one of the chakras—and with that, we are able to stay calm, centered and focused.
Meditation also teaches us to find the sensations of stress, anxiety or depression in the body, rather than to deal with these things in the mind.
Once we find those sensations, we are able to just watch them without judgment, without aversion, without reacting. Just letting them be, accepting whatever arises.
This immediately puts us in a place of empowerment; it expands our consciousness beyond the experience of that negative emotions.
Then we can just breathe in and out through that sensation, and little by little release it.
In order for meditation to really work for you, though, it’s important that you practice it daily, even if only for 5 minutes a day. This requires a little bit of self-discipline, but it need not be hard nor confusing.
Sura – Sura Flow
Anxiety and stress are our system’s way to say that something’s wrong. But the good news is that we can shift out of these states through mindful practices.
The way meditation can help us is by simply allowing us to slow down.
The way to start is by slowing down the breath. When we are anxious, the breath is usually fast and short. And alongside the breath, our thoughts are going fast too.
One simple way to slow down the agitation is to consciously breathe slower.
A good meditation technique that can help you slow down is consciously counting your breath.
You can count both during the inhale and during the exhale as well. This will help your mind relax and become less involved in the drama.
By doing so, you’ll reach a point in which you just observe everything go by without it affecting your inner state.
You’ll start to watch everything as you would watch a movie, or clouds in the sky passing by, with a sense of distance and neutrality.
Susan Shumsky – Divine Revelation
I believe meditation is the panacea of all ills: mental, emotional, and physical. It has been proven scientifically to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
I practice and teach a nondenominational spiritual meditation method called Divine Revelation®.
Whenever I feel out of sorts, I sit down, take a few deep breaths, call upon a divine being, angel, ascended master, or deity by name and ASK to be taken deep into meditation.
Then I take a few more deep breaths and settle down to a state of inner peace and relaxation. Then I do something that people generally do not do while in meditation: I ASK.
I ask a question, ask for guidance or inspiration, ask for help for a problem, ask for healing, or ask for relief from stress.
Then I take another big deep breath and I do what I call the “do-nothing program.”
That means I do nothing, nothing, and less than nothing. I am in a neutral state, and open to receive.
Then the answer or the experience that I’ve asked for comes to me either as clairvoyance (a vision), clairaudience (as words), or clairsentience (as a feeling).
Everything I teach is based upon this one principle: “Ask, and you will receive.”
Carine Vloemans – Physio Alternative
I see difficulties as “issues and challenges”, that can be resolved and shall pass.
I lovingly accept myself as a human having both strengths as well as weaknesses, without self judgement or punishment.
My goal is not to identify with the issues, not to be blindly absorbed by them, though without losing my compassion.
I step back and observe what is going on, without judging. Insights come and I choose to release it.
Acceptance, trust in the universe and believe in something bigger are the basics for me.
Without that, living and being healed is nearly impossible. This is also what I see with my patients after 35 years of experience in the field.
I don’t set fixed goals in life, because the outcomes that come with ease and grace are always better and more suitable.
What I use as techniques are easy meditation, breathing techniques, Reiki, acupuncture, homeopathy, Etheric Body Treatment and Rejuvance facial/ scalp/ decolleté massage.
Those techniques are based on holistic energy work, influencing body, mind, and soul. Some of them can be done remotely or taught online.
My favorite way to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression is first to live my life in a way where these things would be minimized as much as possible, and second to always do the inner work, as these things generally emerge as signs to show me where I need to grow or heal something.
When I wake up in the morning, I meditate (it gets easier the more you do it- and feel free to do it the way that works best for you) and then practice journaling/automatic writing with my spiritual helpers.
My morning meditation puts me in an open, calm, centered, and neutral space.
From there, it is much easier to receive guidance from my spiritual helpers as I write and ask them questions about my life path or decisions that I may be facing.
Working with your spiritual team gets easier as you practice as well, and there are some things to consider when you begin.
I also exercise, get sunlight, have fun, and do the things that allow my mind to flow creatively.
If life gets extraordinarily stressful and these things aren’t enough, I remind myself that challenges are part of life, and that I am also probably growing and leveling up at these times.
Carlee Myers – Stress Less
My favorite way to cope with stress spiritually is through dreamwork. Ever since I was a young girl I had dreams – good and bad.
Early in my life, I suffered from an early childhood trauma and as a result, developed PTSD and experienced terrifying nightmares.
As you can imagine when I was young my dreams scared me.
I didn’t know what they meant, if anything, and felt overwhelmed by the narratives my subconscious would create. Over time I realized that my dreams were a gift.
My dreams were allowing me to shine a light on what I’m feeling (in my waking and sleeping hours) and what direction I need to head next in my life.
An alternative way to manage stress is to tune into your dreams. In the morning when you wake up, do your best to recall the previous night’s dream (bonus points if you write it down) and ask yourself ‘what was the most powerful emotion I experienced in last night’s dream?’.
Usually, this highlighted emotion points to an unresolved past or present experience that could use your attention and work.
Once you identify that past or present experience that needs working through and take action to address them, you are sure to reduce deep anxieties and stress.
Dr. Sandra Thébaud – StressIntel
My favourite spiritual way to cope with stress, anxiety and depression is Loving Kindness Meditation.
Loving kindness toward self and others can fill the emptiness often caused by stress, anxiety and depression.
At the core, it involves bringing to mind something or someone you absolutely love. Then focus on the feeling of love itself.
Then expand that feeling across your body, across every cell in your body, and then across the spaces between the cells.
Research has shown that practicing Loving Kindness Meditation reduces negative thoughts, cultivates positive emotions and increases resilience to stress, anxiety, and depression.
The gift of an active tarot practice is simple and profound. Tarot takes problems out of your head and spreads them on the table before you.
You get a bird’s eye view of yourself and your life because the cards act as a mirror. Here’s what I do:
Every morning, I sit with my tea/coffee and my deck of cards. I clear my head and take a deep breath. I think about my day to come. I create a positive, powerful question based on what it feels like I need.
If I’m feeling stressed, I say, How can I ease stress in my body?’ If I’m feeling anxious, I say, What can I focus on to pull me out of this anxious state?
If I am feeling depressed, maybe I ask, How can I stay rooted in the present moment but hopeful towards the future? Always keep your question simple and succinct. Then, I shuffle and pull a single card.
The first image, feeling, symbol that strikes me is my message. I write down the advice in my journal. Writing it down helps me focus my message.
The magic of pulling a tarot card every morning is that it changes my mental state. This is simple and easy and anyone can do it.
Mary Cole – 7 Tarot
Tarot is is a fantastic meditation, mental exercise, and emotional evaluation.
It requires deep introspection, making it a very proactive way to deal with stress, while still being guided.
Something that I do when I am feeling anxious, depressed, or generally unsettled is a simple four-card spread.
I choose the number four because in numerology, four represents stability, organization, and balance.
When we feel anxious, it’s generally because we can’t seem to organize all the pieces of our lives and our thoughts.
Using the number four allows for a level of grounding and security to inhabit your conscious space. The practice of tarot can also be very relaxing as it is.
After taking a breath and correctly shuffling my deck, I lay my four cards out in the shape of a diamond, beginning at the top and moving clockwise.
The northernmost card is #1, the eastern card is #2, the southern card is #3, and the western card is #4. I also read them clockwise.
Card number one represents the root of your anxiety. What is pushing you to feel out of sorts?
Card two represents the future, or where you would like to be.
Card three represents how you can stabilize and center yourself.
Card four represents how you will let go of the past.
Reading the cards and understanding how they fit in your life and relate to each other is an important way to understand how to move into a new, happy, unburdened state.
Taking this time to organize your thoughts and gain an understanding of your innate goals is going to help you feel more relaxed and centered.
The guidance Tarot provides also gives people something to lean on when they are feeling helpless, and serves as a reminder that the universe has a plan.
These calming thoughts will help relinquish the fears that generally accompany depression.
Jamie Gill Sanchez – Tarot-blee Accurate
My personal favorite way to to cope with stress or anxiety is to lay on a heated mat made of jade and tourmaline crystals and imagine a ray of white light running from the top of my head to my feet.
I imagine it picking up any stressful, bad, or otherwise uncomfortable vibes, ideas, and energies and removing them.
It only takes a few minutes and when I am done I feel refreshed and a lot more positive, clear-headed, and my body even feels better; it makes me more capable to face challenges.
I personally love tarot for depressive episodes because it has the ability to validate and empathize that circumstances might not be amazing, or what you’ve hoped for.
When you’re given permission to feel depressed, you can stop sinking further and deeper into depression because you’re no longer shaming yourself for feeling the way you do.
Tarot has the ability to illuminate our historical patterns and to explain why we may self sabotage, choose unhealthy relationships, procrastinate, lack self-love, etcetera.
Once these issues that lead to depression are highlighted tarot readings will encourage you to forgive yourself for any mistakes you may have made, and then give you a step by step guide to coming out of depression and it can make you feel a lot less anxious simply because you’re granted more sense of control over your own life and your future throughout this process.
What will work best for each individual will vary in my experience though.
Many of my clients feel that tarot card readings make them feel less stressed, anxious and depressed because sessions often validate their feelings empathetically.
Others use tarot for guidance on what they might be missing or not realizing about their circumstances and situations, how to make a step-by-step plan to achieve an outcome they want, to help them change their mindset, and even to tell them which spiritual modality will work best for them!
For example, some people will get a tremendous amount of value from a guided meditation, whereas others will not benefit much but can entirely change their life with gratitude journaling, by making crystal grids or via an energy healing.
Tina Gong – Labyrinthos
During stressful situations, I always pull out my tarot cards. They help me combat anxiety and learn to better cope with difficult realities.
I want to stress though, that it’s not about fortune-telling, but rather a tool to connect to one’s inner world.
We’re all turning inward now, and that means sometimes confronting what we most fear, but also trying to understand what our most cherished values, principles, and dreams are for when this is all over.
Tarot also helps us tell stories; it’s a language of universal human experience, and through it, we learn how to create narratives that help us, and give us hope for a better tomorrow.
We start to see the bigger picture; from the Tower (the destruction of foundations) we find the Star (hope, healing, rejuvenation).
The more you work with it, the more you see the wider perspective.
I can’t also help but feel a little more in control of my inner world when I work with the cards.
They make things feel tangible. I can hold the Tower in my hands, I can shift them, I can move them.
I think that’s so important now, to feel stable, secure and grounded internally, even as the world outside is the very opposite of that.
All of the above add up to a body of ritual work around self-care, self-love and respecting the process of healing, living and stabilizing under uncertain times.
Michelle Philp – St Johns Wishart
For me, when stressed or anxious I meditate on Psalm 46 which starts “God is my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way …” and a few lines later says: “Be still and know that I am God.”
I then turn my mind to a time in history, when Jesus lived that out.
When out on the sea of Galilee in a swirling storm that caused his terrified disciples to fear they would drown, Jesus slept calmly in the boat.
When the stressed and anxious disciples woke Jesus, he stood up and told the storm to “Be still” … and it was.
He asked his disciples “Why were you afraid? Where is your trust?” When you are friends with the one who is in control of the whole universe – so that ‘even the wind and the waves obey him’, you learn that you can turn to him in times of trouble and he will be your refuge and strength.
It’s not that troubles will no longer come – but that you have a refuge in those times. I turn to that refuge knowing I am safe with him.
My particular confession, Seventh-day Adventism, is unique among Christian denominations in our affirmation of the holistic nature of humankind.
We do not believe in a division of body and soul, as was suggested by Platonic philosophers.
Our anthropology is based on Genesis 2, which describes how body + breath = a living soul. There is no wispy, mystical soul that can float around outside the body.
For us, everything that happens in the body and mind is spiritual to a degree, and every spiritual experience has a physical and mental impact.
In dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression, we believe that God works through the natural laws that He created.
Healthy eating, proper sleep patterns, vigorous exercise, and wholesome social connections bring us into line with this law.
Anyone can follow these steps, but such efforts become a spiritual exercise when paired with a mindset of release and total trust.
While pursuing a wholesome lifestyle, we release the ego and all feelings of self-sufficiency and simultaneously reach out to God in total trust.
We say, pray and work, and work and pray, and the Lord will work with you.
It is this combination of positive action and childlike dependence that frees us from the burden of anxiety and stress.
As an ordained Christian Minister, my most effective approach to coping with adversity while fending off anxiety and depression is through countermeasure actions.
Our faith believes in the tenant to pray without ceasing.
Prayer, to me, is a conversation with someone, whom I know as God, that I have a relationship with, not a ritual or rehearsed formality.
That said, my preference is to start my conversation each morning being thankful.
In times of deep crisis, I literally say “thank you” with each step I take beginning when my foot first hits the floor.
I practice that until I feel a sense of gratefulness, no matter how long or how many steps it takes.
From there, I intentionally ensure that the first thing I read is positive and reassuring scripture.
I have several favorites that remind me that God is my strength when I am weak and tired, my shield of protection from harm, and my provider of all my needs.
This approach reminds me of the critical importance of faith and my commitment to it.
Before long, I always, in every instance, experience that peace of God that surpasses all understanding, banishing fear, anxiety, stress, and depression.
This practice is repeated daily to maintain that peace and leverage as an effective deterrent against negative mental health impacts of life.
Michele Lefler – Living Moon Meditation
I do not know if I can say that I truly have a favorite way to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. I use several different techniques, and each one has its merits.
I use whatever feels right for me at the moment. Two of the techniques I use most often are prayer/meditation and self Reiki.
I have prayer and meditation together because, for me, they go hand in hand.
Prayer is when I pour my heart out to the Divine, and meditation is when I become quiet and still and listen for the Divine to speak to me.
I utilize various tools along with prayer and meditation. I frequently light candles during prayer.
I use different colors to match whatever I am seeking or hoping to hear guidance on.
I also use candles for meditation when I am not seeking anything specific. I like to use the flame to help fall into a meditative trance-like state.
I also frequently use prayer beads/malas during prayer and meditation in order to focus my mind.
In addition to these, I quite often give myself Reiki or seek treatments from other practitioners.
Damon Nailer – Living Loving Leading
Because stress, anxiety, and depression are all negative emotions, for me the best, most effective practice is a combination of prayer, fasting, and meditation.
Beginning with prayer, this method invokes the supernatural and brings about divine assistance because it shows God that you acknowledge Him and that you are depending on Him for help.
Also, when praying you can release those troubling feelings to Him, allowing yourself to be freed from those burdens.
Next, the practice of fasting enables you to control/suppress your emotions while empowering you to spiritually detach from the sources that are causing them.
The result is that you overcome those negative feelings and feel peace within yourself.
Additionally, combining prayer/fasting creates a powerful momentum and energy within your mind, spirit, and soul that overpowers any toxic, discouraging thoughts and feelings.
Last, but not least, meditation helps you to elevate your mental state and focus on positive things, which will keep your mind from pondering and being preoccupied with negative thoughts.
All in all, during my spiritual journey, utilizing these three powerful practices together has proven to be effective and successful in causing me to be victorious over stress, anxiety, and depression.
One of the great gifts of contemplative prayer and meditation is awakening to the basic fact that you are not your thoughts.
Our culture stimulates our minds so full of thought and emotion that most of us never get a chance to peek behind the scenes at the deeper I of our innermost self.
But when you do, the spiritual reality is clear: there is a changeless sense of self that is untouchable from the ever-changing content of mind and emotion.
A short story comes to mind, “Before enlightenment I suffered from anxiety. After enlightenment I was still anxious, but I no longer identified with my anxiety.”
The spiritual lesson is simple: the content of your experience may not change all that much, but through regular prayer and meditation, we can unseat the small-I of the ego, and learn to live into your true self, that part of you that is untouchable from the ever-changing mind and emotion.
Stop saying “I”. Start saying “IT”.
If you are looking for a bonus tip, start replacing the word “I” with the word “It”. Stop saying “‘I’ am stressed”, “‘I’ am anxious” and instead say, “‘It’ is stressed,”, “‘It’ is anxious.”
By doing so you are no longer identifying with the emotion or thought pattern but stepping outside of them. You can then go in as the deeper sense of self to find out what “it” is within you that is so stressed, anxious, or depressed.
These are just passing mental states: fluctuations of mind and emotion. They are not who you truly are.
Go ahead and take out a sharpie and write “IT” on your hand in big bold letters to remind you to start saying “it” and to stop identifying you’re sense of self with your thoughts and emotions.
Praying with a belief that there’s a higher power that is super intelligent and super benevolent indues a state where one accepts that there is a way out of the crippling stress, anxiety, and depression.
Prayers make you believe that you can’t win the fight alone and make you receptive to help and support.
Prayers or prayer-like states have shown to produce compassion, empathy, and love not only towards others but also towards ourselves.
Praying can happen in different forms such as meditation, listening to soft and soulful music, reading inspirational books, and even writing a journal.
The list is never-ending and one can try one or a mixture of things to find peace.
The objective is to take a moment, reflect, look at the inner self, and find what is truly important in life.
Praying won’t result in miracles but it’ll give you the strength to deal with miracles not happening.
The situation doesn’t change, however, the way you look at it does.
When we become stressed, anxious and depressed, these are symptoms of a bigger dis-ease of feeling out of control and helpless, but when we remember that we are always in limbo in this life, that life itself is in balance and best lived when we are comfortable being uncomfortable, we can invoke calm and understanding into our minds, body and spirit.
I love (and recommend) creating a daily ritual of prayer/conversation with your ancestors, even if you don’t know them.
Just speak some short words of gratitude and trust that their lives are honored through yours and that they bless you to be well.
Next is creating “holy” space — or rather clearing clutter and making the spaces we inhabit spiritually fresh and pleasing.
When we are in heavy energy, we usually aren’t motivated to clean or tidy, which aids to the feelings we are experiencing.
Light a smell good candle, get some music flowing, open the blinds and tackle that pile of laundry or mountain of dishes.
Praise yourself for doing so after and rest.
Every spiritual practice requires the support and energies of the Elemental Spirits — water, earth, air and water.
See how you can get creative in invoking a spirit of appreciation and calm with these. Maybe a warm, intentional bath? Or tending to your home garden?
Dr. Andrea Shakarian – Your Choice Is Light
Here are the three ways I like to de-stress:
1) I like to de-stress by listening to self-hypnosis tracks on mitigating anxiety and calming the mind.
Hypnosis is a great way to easily and effectively relax the body and mind so your subconscious can absorb suggestions to let go of fearful or worrisome thoughts and replace them with thoughts of comfort and assurance that everything is going to be ok.
2) I also like to pull out my oracle cards and, after a quick shuffle, ask a question to the universe and my spirit team that may be on my mind.
I then pull one to three cards and interpret their messages while listening to my clairaudient cues from my guides.
This process is always reassuring and instantly empowers my faith and gives me a sense of peace and comfort.
3) Third I find it calming to pull out my Bible and say a prayer asking God to guide me to the appropriate passage that will give me comfort and guidance.
I then open the Bible and turn to whatever passage it lands on and know that this message is being divinely led to me.
This process shows me that a power greater than myself knows my worries and knows what message I need to sequel those worries and re-establish a sense of peace in my life.
My favorite spiritual way to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression (which is how I got into this field to begin with) is first to meditate, letting my brain quiet and bringing my attention to simply feeling my breathing.
This allows my overthinking to take a backseat and leaves room for my higher self and intuition to come through.
Self-reiki has a similar effect in that it slows down my nervous system, calming anxiety, and allowing me to relax.
Once that happens, fear and uncertainty start to dissipate, letting me focus on the idea that the universe is going to do what’s for the highest good of myself and of all things and I can trust that I will be just fine.
I can control what I do, what actions I take, and how I respond, and the rest is what it is. It’s comforting, calming, and proves itself to be true every single time!
Traditional Chinese Medicine has roots in spirituality. As a practitioner, it’s important for me to practice what I preach.
In Chinese Medicine, when we are one with ourselves, we are one with nature and one with the universe. This is what allows for ultimate balance.
So, in order to do that, I like to direct our attention and intention inwards. Because when we are grounded and rooted in ourselves, we are grounded and rooted in the world.
The happier and more content we are, the more our world reflects that.
So instead of giving in to the overwhelming noise of the outside world and sometimes that noise in our heads, I simply like to check in with easy questions like:
“How am I doing right now?” “How do I feel?” “Is this what I want?” “What would make me feel safe? “
What would make me feel loved?” “What is something fun I can do for myself?” “How can I be more kind and gentle to myself?”
Make the conversation about ourselves and less about what the outside world thinks and what our own judgments say.
With time and practice, we develop a loving and healthy relationship with ourselves. We are worth our effort.
Fernanda Sarmento – Minding Within
My favorite non-conventional tactic to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression is to sink my head (face down) into a pillow and scream.
We live in a society that represses sounds and puts too much pressure on what we speak, but using our voice to scream out your emotions is a potent way of letting it go.
And the pillow will make sure that your neighbor does not hear the sound (we don’t want anybody scared). 😉
Don’t get me wrong, meditation and looking inward is fantastic and advised (I do it every day), but sometimes we underestimate the power of a significant release of energy. Scream it out, honey!
As spiritual beings having a human life experience, our energy can become scattered, which in turn, may evolve into feelings of stress, anxiety and being overwhelmed.
Taking note of our physical health and mental/emotional well-being is essential.
These are five tips to cope when feeling stressed, anxious or depressed:
- Be present in the moment.
- Practice good energetic hygiene by being grounded and centered.
- Breathe consciously and intentionally.
- Zone in on Zen and attain the peace within.
- Choose to respond rather than react to external circumstances.
By far, becoming aware of where we tend to reside energetically is most important.
Being present involves living in the moment rather than focusing on the future or dwelling in the past.
Focus on living, being and breathing in the moment. Being present also entails being present with those in your presence.
The element of time is significant, but can also be restrictive, so be here now.
Kat Courtney – After Life Coach
I work with the massive intensity of stress and anxiety through a process I call “radical permission.”
These emotions do not take over us when we learn to completely accept and trust that experiencing them is part of being human.
To create this permission, I play a game I call “Shadow to Light.” If I’m feeling anxiety, I ask myself “What is the opposite of anxiety?” For me, the answer is serenity.
I trust that everything is in balance, so if I’m feeling a wild bout of fear, I know a deeply profound experience of peacefulness is waiting.
I start by accepting the anxiety—giving myself full permission to feel it, writing it down, singing it out, doing whatever action grounded in self-care I need to do for it to be in motion, and to release.
Then I call in the energy of peacefulness. I meditate on this with strong intention.
Like a true alchemist, I will eventually (and sometimes immediately!) transmute the shadow energy into something I deeply appreciate and enjoy.
Pipaluk Weinhold Andersen – Pipaluk Universe
“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself…
- Oscar Wilde, A Picture of Dorian Gray
As with temptation, so with anxiety.
In fact, so it is with anything that is inside of us that we try to deny or rid ourselves of.
Currently we are in a situation that is affecting human life on a global scale. There is uncertainty coming from all directions and nobody quite knows if and how the conclusion will come.
Many are feeling anxious, and many who are sensitive, are on top of that feeling the anxiety of others. Though many are finding more time to relax, the emotional weight of it all is not to be underestimated.
There’s a practice I would love to share with you in dealing with anxiety, or any uncomfortable emotion: Welcome it! Say, “Hello! There you are.”
A teacher of mine took it one step further and offered I take my anxiety, my fears, out on a date and be the best host I can be.
The result? It softened, became less anxious, less fearful. We had a conversation. We enjoyed the spring together and learned if we plant flowers we can relax and find clarity.
I invite you to take your anxiety out on a date. Be an excellent host to it. Communicate, welcome it. Offer it love. In the process you will discover what can help you both.
Stress and anxiety are usually caused by a fear of the future and wishing things were different.
When we are frightened and in fear, we tend to breathe shallowly under tension.
When we don’t breathe properly, not enough oxygen gets to our frontal cortex, it begins to shut down and we start using our primal brain to function.
Sometimes called our limbic brain or reptilian brain, it is only capable of fight or flight, which intensifies the feelings of panic and dread.
The most effective way to avoid shutting down the frontal cortex is to breathe properly.
There are many breathing meditations that help increase the oxygen flowing to the frontal cortex and allowing us to reason and rationalize our circumstances without fight or flight.
The best meditations force us to fill the bottom of our lungs and then fully expel all breath.
One, in particular, inhaling to the count of four and exhaling to the count of eight (and repeating) has the added benefit of stimulating the vagus nerves.
Researchers have discovered that stimulating the vagus nerves reduces stress, relaxes our bodies, organs and nervous symptoms.
So not only does the 4/8 breath rotation deliver more oxygen to your frontal cortex, it stimulates your vagus nerves realizing further relief from stress.
Kelly Kandra Hughes – Norfolk Church of Christ
My favorite way to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression is to spend time with a dog.
There’s a reason God and dog share the same letters, and I believe it’s because dogs are the living embodiment of God’s unconditional love for us.
They are intelligent and sensitive creatures, and they model so many important life lessons.
How marvelous is to be able to let go of everything that is going on in the world around – the pandemic, the uncertainty, the insecurity – and simply take each moment as a gift.
Because that’s how a dog would look at these moments. These moments are opportunities for companionship, loyalty, and play.
To spend time with a dog is to see these moments in real-time and be reminded of God’s great love for us. We, who are God’s beloved children.
Keeping a sense of inner balance during times of chaos in the outside world is vital.
My personal favorite method is walks in nature with my dog.
Even under the current governmental constraints, people are encouraged to get outside and get some exercise.
Walking is something that most people can do. The observation of nature provides a natural grounding and a sense of calm.
It is wonderful to use to focus on what issues are within our control and what are not.
You may not be able to hug people right now, but you can embrace a tree and your pets, and receive comfort and a sense of calm.
Also, remember to breathe deeply.
In general, my favorite go-to meditative activity is to take a walk or hike in nature.
Although I absolutely enjoy yoga for its health and spiritual benefits, nothing reduces anxiety and stress for me as powerfully as a walk.
When I walk outdoors, I have a deep connection to the Divine as well as a sacred space that feels fresh, free, and without bounds.
And, as I walk, it often feels to me as if I’m leaving worries and problems in the past.
Although I sometimes listen to music or a podcast as I walk, my favorite walks are those that are filled with nothing but the sounds of nature and my sense of feeling connected to all that is around me and within me.
My favorite spiritual way to cope with stress, anxiety and depression is going for a walk outside.
Exercise has been shown to be a powerful anti-depressant that releases biochemicals which also reduce anxiety and stress.
And being in nature is a powerful way to destress.
What’s more, when I am out walking, I find my intuition gets stronger.
Nadia Agarwal – Vinyasa Yoga School
For me personally, I turn to yoga & meditation.
Yoga has many benefits that can positively impact a person’s mental health and reduce stress.
At its core yoga aims to bind the body, mind, and emotions so that they can work collectively towards creating a balanced life and a healthy sense of mental health.
Yoga creates a positive effect on mental health through 3 approaches:
Pranayama, Asana and Meditation.
Loosely described as breath control, pranayama teaches us varying breathing techniques to bring about a number of desired effects.
These effects impact the nervous system and can have a sustained effect on the body.
Various techniques encourage the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) to be activated, slowing the heart rate and calming the mind.
Studies show that a soothing effect on the PNS lowers the levels of stress within the body and helps to create long-lasting effects on the mind.
The physical side of yoga, which calls for movement in the body, can alleviate the feeling of being mentally stuck or “frozen”.
By moving through a set sequence provided by a yoga teacher, the body can begin to release muscle tension and increase blood flow throughout the system – this provides a sense of upliftment to the physical body which can have a knock-on effect on the mind.
Joining in a group class and flowing together can provide a sense of community and collectivism resulting in a positive impact on not only the individual but the general group too – this sense of ‘belonging’ can alleviate feelings of loneliness or of being disconnected.
Mediation asks us to turn our focus inwards, bring ourselves into the present and sit with awareness on whatever arises without reacting in any way.
This practice, when done over time, makes its way out of our meditation and into our everyday life, helping us to manage our responses in our daily lives so that we may respond to life with a more considered approach as opposed to reacting.
This self awareness can help us to tap into our emotions before they become catalysts for stress, anxiety or panic attacks; it can also help us to assess perceived stress as opposed to actual stress and to realise the difference between the two.
Wrapping it all together
A study, published in the American Journal of Psychotherapy, was conducted on 27 psychiatric patients aged 15 – 50 years old who suffered from anxiety and had not responded well to previous treatments.
The result showed that a combination of asana, pranayama, and meditation significantly reduced anxiety as measured by the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale.
Melissa Drake – Uncorped Influence
We aren’t meant to do life alone, numb, and in our heads. Instead, we should be enlivened, joyful, and led by the Universe to our highest excitement.
Dance has been so integral to my recovery from depression and anxiety, that I published a book detailing dance and community as the medicine that healed me.
Dance is also the practice that helps me release accumulated stress, worry, and uncertainty. I came by dance as a spiritual practice accidentally.
Initially, I went to the club to be among friends and have a good time. Over time, I realized how spiritual the practice of dance was for me.
Dance became so important to me that I went to the club alone and danced without alcohol in an attempt to shake off the week’s worries.
What I learned through this process is the way dancing keeps me present, grounded, and in my body. That’s the basis of most spiritual practices, including meditation.
Dance to me is a moving meditation. It’s also generally an activity that’s done in community with others.
Because of social distancing, I’ve begun hosting mid-week virtual dance parties, to share this spiritual practice while connecting and dancing with friends and strangers alike.
One of my favorite ways of spiritually dealing with stress or anxiety is by giving my mind a break.
When dealing with any type of mental disruption, it’s extremely important to be able to separate ourselves from what is causing that disruption, even if just for a short moment; for refocusing.
I have found that a great way to refocus during such times, is to listen to uplifting gospel music.
Songs that speak of God’s future for me, how He is with me, even in the midst of the storm, songs of joy and triumph.
This helps to take the focus off of the right now…allowing me to redirect my attention to God.
Singing God’s praises allows for His joy, peace, and comfort to overtake me.
It also gives me a chance to physically release tension that I may have refused to let go of…AKA…CRYING…full UGLY FACE crying, which is a much-needed release.
Being able to sit in the presence of the One who never changes is the most solid truth that I am able to hold on to.
And being able to engulf myself in songs that allow me to stay in that presence during hard times…priceless!
Joanna Ziemlewski – Soul Scaping
My favorite way to transform stress and anxiety is with music.
The right music can help slow down my thoughts and lead me to the energy I need in an instant.
Sometimes the music I need is light, ambient, or classical to help relax my body and breathing.
Sometimes a dance party is needed, with the types of songs you can belt out with soul and make your body move.
A complete expression of the body and spirit.
Even if I feel my thoughts are out of control the right song can help me feel more certainty again.
Whenever I feel lost, music brings me back to me again.
My favorite spiritual way to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression is to tap into my intuition and realign with my higher self.
When I’m feeling anxious, stressed, or depressed, it’s because I’m not living out my purpose and being true to myself.
By taking a break from the daily grind and spending time with myself (either by journaling, meditating, or going for a walk), I’m able to cut through the noise and hear what my intuition is trying to tell me.
Often, the message is to slow down, rest, or shift gears. When I take a moment to remember my true purpose in life, I realize what I’m doing or stressing out about isn’t alignment with my authentic self.
This realization releases me from any self-imposed expectations to continue on my current path and gives me the freedom to do what’s best for me instead.
For example, my mission in life is to become the best version of myself to help others become the best version of themselves.
So if I’m worried about something that isn’t in alignment with that vision, I can let it go and therefore let go of the associated stress, anxiety, and depression.
When I get upset, depressed or fill with anxiety, it is often when my head and mind chatter focuses too much on the past or worries about the future.
I have learned that I must slow down, both physically and mentally, which takes practice.
Being present is truly one of the greatest gifts I have given myself and I use this simple body scan to cope with my struggles:
My body scan starts with feeling my feet on the ground. With this focus, I become aware of how my weight is distributed across each foot, as they hold me upright.
Then, I visualize the energy coming up from the Earth into my feet then up my legs, passing through each part of my body until the energy reaches the crown of my head.
As I visually reach the top of my head, it opens up, connecting with a light beam from above.
This bright white light is beautiful and translucent. It fills each inch of my body with white light and love from above through the crown of my head down to my feet and even illuminates the ground around me.
This visual practice reminds me that I am not alone as I am part of the magnificent Universe, providing me with the inner peace that often washes away my expectations and fears.
Research has proven that going into gratitude changes brain chemistry instantly. Depression is pain. Pain is an indication that you need to make a change.
Think about putting your hand on a hot stove. It wouldn’t take you very long to decide to take your hand off. The Law of Attraction is the best and fastest way to improve your life.
Thoughts are things and thoughts become things. If we can learn to police our thoughts and only allow positive, happy thoughts, then we can minimize and even eradicate the negative thoughts and feelings that cause depression, anxiety, and stress.
I highly recommend Dr. Joe Dispenza’s “Evolve Your Brain.” It is available in a book and video on YouTube.
Once you learn how the brain works, it becomes easier to catch yourself before you allow the negative thoughts and feelings to proliferate.
I also recommend writing down all of the things that are bothering you and just burning the paper. 99% of what we worry about never comes to fruition anyway.
Kim Julen – Finding Your Fiji
These are my top five ways to reduce stress and raise your energetic vibration:
1) Move your body – dance to your favorite song, do yoga stretches or simply bounce on your heels (this is great for your lymphatic system.)
2) Walk through your city or neighborhood as if you are a tourist.
What do you notice?
What is unique about this area?
What do you really like (colors, architecture or even stillness)?
3) Have a conversation with the your angels.
Take your journal out and write out a question that’s been on your mind.
Then, meditate for 11 – 22 minutes (angels love the magical double numbers).
Immediately after the meditation pick up your journal and pen and start free writing their answer. It’s important not to censor and just write whatever is coming in.
4) Make your favorite cup of tea or warm drink and sit (preferably outside) and simply listen to the sounds around you.
5) Play a board game with others or even by yourself (playing both sides). This gets your mind focused on the task at hand and you can try different strategies with each hand (if playing alone).
Two of my current favorites are Splendor and Azul (original or Summer Pavilion.)
Trang Pham-Nguyen – The Happy Healing Shop
Usually people who are sensitive to other people’s strong or negative energies around them are more prone to stress, anxiety or depression.
To help with this, we recommend using Sage or Palo Santo spray to cleanse the energy field around them whether it be in the office, car, or home.
Then there are a variety of daily or weekly habits you can set for yourself such as doing self-reiki healing to calm the nervous system, taking a warm Epsom salt bath which cleanses your aura field, and meditating for just 10 minutes in the morning right when you wake up or right before you go to bed at night.
To enhance those experiences, you can use aromatherapy oils and crystals that have calming properties such as amethyst, black tourmaline, onyx, & smoky quartz, lepidolite, tiger’s eye, rose quartz, or blue calcite.
Ways to incorporate them into your routine include: holding them in your hands while meditating, laying them on your body during reiki, tucking them under your pillow while you sleep at night, or throwing them in your salt baths.
Heather Askinosie – Energy Muse
Crystals carry the energy of the Earth within them and when you place them on your body, you are connecting yourself to that energy which can be a powerful grounding and revitalizing.
There are many different techniques but here’s a simple one you can follow:
Using Quartz Crystals, place 1 above the head, 1 on either side of your arms, and one on your abdomen
Using Amethyst Crystals, place one on your forehead and one in each hand
Using Black Onyx Crystals, place one by the sole of each of your feet
Using a Rose Quartz Crystal, place it on your abdomen
Amethyst Crystals on your brow chakra and in your hands stabilizes, grounds and calms and encourages the flow of energy to the crown chakra.
Black Onyx Crystals absorb and releases negative energies.
Rose Quartz Crystals balance the yin and yang and rejuvenates.
Clear Quartz Crystals detoxifies auras and chakras while bringing harmony and clarity.
Activate these crystals by using the above sequence, closing your eyes, and breathing in and out deeply while releasing stress and tension you may have.
Remain in this deeply relaxed state for at least 8-10 minutes. Do this for as long and as often you see fit!
Thank you so much to all the experts that contributed to this expert roundup!
For all of you that are trying to cope with stress, anxiety and depression, I hope now it’s easier for you to do it.