In the last few weeks our way of life has been turned upside down, and there will likely be many more challenges ahead. Whilst some are no doubt enjoying the chance to slow down and take a rest, many will also be experiencing major increases in emotional states such as anxiety, fear, stress, and anger. This can be triggered not only by the uncertainty and fear surrounding these times we are in, but also because so many of the distractions and busyness that normally fill up our lives have been taken away. This has given us much more time and space to feel all of the emotions that we normally suppress and ignore.
Whilst this can be unpleasant and difficult to deal with, it also provides us with an opportunity to address what arises and do some much needed inner self work. As well as a great opportunity to fine tune how we deal with anxiety, fear, stress, anger, and any other unpleasant emotions that arise.
What are emotions?
I am going to share how I deal with these sorts of states, but before I do that, we first need to understand what emotions actually are.
The nature of emotions is hidden within the very word itself ‘e-motion’, which simply means (e)nergy-in-(motion). We are energetic beings, which is something that esoteric traditions have understood for millenia, but which quantum physics has also revealed to us more recently. Energy moves through us all the time just in the same way as electricity moves through a powerline. When energy moves through the body, we feel it in a variety of different ways, such as sensations, drives, impulses, and of course – emotions.
Now, just like with electricity passing through powerlines, energy must continue moving through us or else it will become stagnant, toxic, and destructive. This is what I believe leads to unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and anger. Although in saying that, I also believe that there are healthy types of anger, such as making our boundaries clear when someone/something crosses them. The anger I am referring to is the irrational anger that arises for seemingly no reason, and puts us in a foul and toxic mood. I believe this is largely caused by stagnant energies in the body that are trying to release themselves.
As children we allow energy to pass through us in an unbridled fashion. If we are sad we cry, happy we laugh, angry we yell, excited we jump around and dance. These are perfectly natural expressions and are exactly how the human body releases energies and prevents them from building up in a toxic way. The problem is that as we grow up we get taught to feel shame towards the body and around expressing ourselves naturally, and we therefore begin to suppress our energies. As a result, the energies moving through us actually begin to feel scary and dangerous, and this causes us to become dissociated from the body. Our dissociation becomes even more severe if we have experienced any trauma as children, which nearly everyone has to varying degrees. This is because the fear we can experience during a trauma is particularly intense and unbearable.
In short, it could be stated that our society does not encourage us to acknowledge, feel, and express our energies in healthy ways. It instead encourages us to ignore and suppress them, and if they become overwhelming then it gives us an endless array of numbing agents such as pharmaceuticals in order to further dissociate ourselves. This is along with the countless other numbing habits available, such as over working, binge eating, smoking, partying, Netflix, phone addiction, porn addiction, and so on.
Very few people in our modern world actually slow down, come back into their body, and give themselves the space to fully feel and express the energies moving through them. Yet, here we are, in the most unusual of circumstances, with so many of our distractions taken away in this lockdown, we have a fantastic opportunity to do just that.
Grounded versus Reactive
When we express our energies and emotions in a healthy way, I call this a grounded expression rather than a reactive one.
For example, if we feel an intense and irrational anger rising within us, this does not mean that we must react to this anger and project it onto those around us. This is being reactive, and is the exact sort of thing that causes road rage or other similar situations that often lead to a great deal of regret later on. If we are reactive, we can become literally possessed by the energy and we lose all control over ourselves. Most people (including myself) have learned this the hard way.
These days, if I ever experience an intense build up of anger (which let’s be honest, happens to us all on occasions), I look for ways to express that energy that doesn’t involve doing anything stupid or regretful. I might park my car in a private place, turn up some rock music really loud and start screaming at the top of my lungs. Or, I might go home and start punching a pillow on my bed as hard as I can. Others may go hit a punching bag, or they may go for a run or lift some weights. All of these are healthy ways to release our energies in a grounded way.
However, I have also found that I do not always require such intense physical expressions. Often, through meditation and consciously slowing and regulating my breathing, I can move energies through my body with my mind alone. This takes practise and is something I am still working on myself. One of the best teachers I have found in this area is embodiment teacher Philip Shepherd, who I highly recommend checking out.
Dealing with Fear
How do we let the energy of fear move through us in a healthy way? This can be difficult because in the past fear would normally only arise if real danger was present. We see this in nature whereby an elk experiences intense fear as it sees a tiger running towards it, and this fear causes it to run as fast as it can. Yet if the elk escapes, remarkably only minutes later it is already relaxed and eating grass again. This shows that in nature, fear serves a very valuable service, which is to ensure survival in times of danger and emergency. However, once survival has been achieved and the danger has passed, the fear is supposed to disappear.
The problem with our modern human society is that we are constantly subjected to fear inducing messages and headlines, particularly through the mainstream media. I believe that much of this is deliberately engineered, as those in the highest positions of power understand that fear is the most powerful motivator of human behaviour. Therefore, they work very diligently to maintain the human race in a perpetual state of fear so that they can then control and exploit us for their own benefit.
These fears that we are subjected to are mostly psychological fears that are illusory. They are illusory because the only thing we are afraid of is that they “might” happen, whereas if we come back into the present moment, we realise that there is no actual danger present. They are like an elk being in fear at the thought of a tiger running at it, even if there is no tiger anywhere in sight. The problem with this type of fear is that it inevitably leads to chronic stress, which is destructive on many levels.
Here are four ways I deal with and prevent psychological fear;
- Turn off the news and disconnect from the media. News and media detox’s are crucial as most of the news information that reaches our mind is highly negative and fear inducing. In fact, the news media is mostly utilised as a propaganda machine by the elites to maintain us in a state of fear, which is why much of it is riddled with lies and disinformation. I view the news as poison for the mind just as junk food is poison for the body.
- Come back into the body and the present moment. Psychological fear that is not related with any real danger or threat to our safety, is solely a fear of the mind. The mind is an abstract realm that is not grounded in reality. It is a fantastic realm for thinking, using the imagination, and creating plans, strategies, problem solving, and ideas, but there is nothing tangibly real about it. However, the body does not know this, for when we get lost in thoughts and ideas involving fear inducing scenarios, the body acts as if they are very real. Therefore, in order to let the body know that these fears are not actually real, and that there is no immediate threat to its safety, we must come back into the tangible present reality. The best way to do this is to come back into the body and its senses.
Start by paying attention to the breath, and then start paying attention to what you can actually feel. I usually like to feel the clothing on my body, the weight of the floor under my feet, the air gently brushing past my skin, the temperature of the room, the colours that are around me, and the sounds I can hear.
What I am doing here is just simply coming back to the senses, for the senses are grounded in the present moment and grounded in reality. As we do this, the body begins to realise that the danger and fear it was experiencing was simply illusory.
- Regulate the breath. In terms of managing fear, the breath is everything. This is because it is the breath that regulates and manages our stress responses. When our breathing is fast paced, shallow, and coming from the upper chest, the fight/flight stress response is triggered in the body. This activates the reptilian brain, which is our primitive survival brain, and our body becomes flooded with hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin. Again, in a situation of genuine danger and threat to our safety, these mechanisms are very important. However, in terms of experiencing an illusory psychological fear, these mechanisms become very destructive to the body and mind if they are not switched off. This is because too much cortisol and adrenalin are damaging to the immune system, and therefore can compromise our long-term health. As well, whilst the reptilian brain may be a great tool for survival, it is terrible in terms of being in charge and managing our everyday life. This is because the reptilian brain does not have the ability to use discernment or any type of critical, rational, and creating thinking. Therefore, when it is activated during our daily life our actions and decisions become highly irrational. This was seen firsthand during the initial panic of the covid 19 lockdown, when many people began hoarding toilet paper and other pointless supplies as if the apocalypse was upon us. I believe that these irrational actions and decisions were caused by people’s over aroused reptilian brains, which I elaborate more on in this article. The constant activation of the reptilian brain also leads to chronic stress. If we wish to switch off the reptilian brain and the fight/flight mechanism, we must activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PRS). The PRS is responsible for calming the body down, healing and rebalancing all of its systems, and allowing the higher centres of the brain to become activated and in control. The best way to activate the PRS is to regulate the breath, particularly when we slow down and deepen the breath, and breathe into the lower belly. This is why whenever I feel psychological fear coming on, the first thing I do is regulate my breath. Then once I have done that I tune back into my senses and the present reality. Within minutes my body is calm and the fear is gone, just like the elk who has just outrun the tiger.
- Move, stretch, and ground the body. Even if we have applied the above steps we will likely find that there is a lot of tension left over in the body. In fact, developing tension in the body is inevitable, particularly in these uncertain times we live in, and a build-up of tension can leave us feeling highly irritable and ungrounded. The best methods I have found to release bodily tension (outside what I have already mentioned) is through movement, stretching, and grounding. The types of movement I thoroughly enjoy are walking, running, lifting weights, and playing tennis. I also stretch every single night before bed, which is a habit I have done for many years and couldn’t recommend it any more highly.The best type of stretches are long and slow stretches, where each area of the body is stretched gently for at least 5-10 minutes. In yoga this is called ‘Yin’ yoga. Slow gentle stretching is ideal because it not only releases the muscle, but it also releases the fascia surrounding the muscle, as well as the ligaments. I have never found short and intense stretching to be very effective, and it can actually even increase tension. I also highly recommend a more active and flow type of yoga on occasion, as this involves both movement, strength building, and stretching all in one, and leaves you feeling incredible afterwards. This is why so many people love yoga and why it has become so popular in the west, as its such a fantastic way to release tension and rebalance the body and mind. The great thing is that there are so many yoga tutorials online. My favourites are on Gaia tv.In terms of grounding, the best thing I have found is nature immersion and placing the bare feet on the ground. Nature immersion is crucial as we need periods of reprieve away from all of the artificial sounds, sights, smells, and tension of modern civilisation. Not to mention all of the artificial Wi-Fi electromagnetic frequencies we are now surrounded by, which are about to get much more intense with the 5G rollout. I love to go on nature hikes whenever possible, and make sure my bare feet touch the direct earth for at least 10-20 minutes every day. I find this to be massively beneficial.There are also many other modalities that help relieve tension and move energies move through the body that I haven’t mentioned, such as qi gong, meditation, massage, dance, creative expressions (music, art etc), the Wim Hoff method, listening to high vibe music, and so on.
I hope these suggestions and tips are helpful, and that they provide some useful tools for dealing with stress, anxiety, fear, and anger. Particularly in these crazy times we live in.
The final message I would like to leave is a reminder that implementing everything I have mentioned may not always be easy, particularly if we have developed many bad habits around dealing with anxiety, fear, stress, and anger. This is why it may take a lot of hard work initially and may be very uncomfortable.
In saying that, our efforts will be massively rewarded, because when we are not controlled by our fear and other simlar emotional states, we become liberated from them and we begin to realise that there is nothing that life can throw at us that we cannot handle.
P.S. – I explore this topic and many other related topics in much more depth in my newly released book ‘Free Range Humans‘, please subscribe below to receive the first 3 chapters for free.