According to Sarah Fader, “If you’re a human being living in 2017 and you’re not anxious, there’s something wrong with you.
She’s right about one thing, anxiety is definitely on the rise.
But rather than view the carefree among us as unicorns, perhaps there’s a more proactive approach to dealing with anxiety? One that puts us in the driving seat, rather than on the sidelines observing (if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphor).
What Causes Anxiety?
Trying to figure out what causes anxiety can be a lot like catching smoke. Some blame smartphones, while others claim our gut bacteria is the culprit. The root of the problem could also be genetic or environmental or the fact that you watch the news 24/7.
It might even be a side-effect of the undiagnosed brain fog you’re suffering from. Wherever it stems from, there’s no denying that anxiety can bring you to your knees. Although not always debilitating, living with it isn’t exactly a cake walk, either.
I used to wake up every morning with a tight, anxious feeling in my chest. There was nothing wrong in my life, nothing I could point to as the cause. Yet, every morning, there it was. I quickly realized that coffee and endorphins helped, so I’d caffeinate myself and go for an early morning run. By the time I got home all was well with the world.
But as much as it was a relief knowing I had found a way to temporarily oust the anxious thoughts, I’d much rather have had them disappear for good. No forwarding address required.
How Do You Treat An Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety can be dealt with in any number of ways. If you’re not above taking prescription drugs, you could go the Xanax route. In the long run though, a more holistic approach will yield better results. The first step is to address or eliminate the possibility of any underlying medical conditions. Once you’ve done that, you need to make the necessary lifestyle changes. These could include limiting your time online (specifically social media), going on a news fast, changing your diet, and seeking out supportive healing modalities.
Meditation has been shown to have huge benefits in the treatment of anxiety, as have certain breathing exercises. I tried both in conjunction with my already plant-based diet and achieved some positive results. Getting them to stick proved challenging though. If you’ve ever tried to adopt a new habit you’ll know what I mean. It takes effort. And effort, at that point in my life, was in short supply. Fortunately, a friend told me about Sudarshan Kriya.
Sudarshan Kriya is a unique and profound #breathing technique that draws you into a deep state of #meditation. To date, millions of lives have been positively transformed as a result of it.Click To Tweet
What is Sudarshan Kriya?
As a minimalist I’m all about streamlining my life. I’m not into shortcuts (they rarely work), but occasionally you find a silver bullet that lives up to its promise. For me, that silver buller was Sudarshan Kriya.
Taught as part of The Art of Living Foundation Happiness Program, Sudarshan Kriya is a unique and profound breathing technique that draws you into a deep state of meditation. To date, millions of lives have been positively transformed as a result of it.
The benefits of Sudarshan Kriya are almost too many to list. Among other things, it improves your sleep, enhances your brain function, increases creativity, and strengthens your immune system. Research has also shown that it significantly reduces stress, depression, anxiety and PTSD.
I can attest to this. The tight, anxious feeling in my chest is a thing of the past. Stress is something I deal with antifragile style. I’m stronger, fitter and more vital than I’ve been in a long time, and my creative brain is on fire.
Where Can You Learn Sudarshan Kriya?
Learning Sudarshan Kriya is probably one of the few things Google can’t help you with. To master the technique you need to attend The Art of Living Happiness Program and be properly trained.
Like with anything, there are likely people claiming to be able to teach it, but Sudarshan Kriya can only taught by trained AOL facilitators. Fortunately, AOL has centres all over the world, so there’s a good chance you’ll find one close to you.
Is It A Cult?
On the surface, The Art Of Living Foundation can seem a little cultish. For starters, we refer to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar —the foundation’s founder— as Guruji, which means spiritual teacher or guru. His photograph is prominently displayed in all of AOL’s centres around the world.
We sit together and do weird breathing exercises, moving our hands into different positions as we go. When we’re done breathing, we lie down with our eyes closed for 20-30 minutes. (Some of us even fall asleep and start snoring.)
The Art of Living is anything but a cult. Of course, that’s what any well trained initiate would say. Rather than take my word for it, watch some of the many talks and interviews with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and decide for yourself.
Love Moves The World
Much like the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Guruji is filled to the brim with love for his fellow man. A globally revered spiritual and humanitarian leader, he has spearheaded an unprecedented worldwide movement for a stress-free, violence-free society. His most endearing quality, however, is his playful irreverence. The man definitely doesn’t take himself seriously.
If you have an anxiety disorder, give Sudarshan Kriya a try. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. I don’t know about you, but those sound like pretty good odds to me.
About the Author
Angela Horn is one of two urban hippies behind Mostly Mindful: a not-so-hardcore blog about buying less, doing more, and living sustainably in the city. Watch her TEDx talk on minimalism and join her on her mission to declutter the world.
Have you tried — or are you ready to try — Sudarshan Kriya?
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