Whether you’re in full-on crisis mode or wading through a stressful season of life, knowing which direction to turn for relief can feel overwhelming. A quick fix like reaching for a glass of wine or a shopping splurge might help now and then, but it’s not a long-term solution. What tools can you rely on to help keep your cool when things seem to be falling apart around you?
As a new mom to twins and a business owner, stress and anxiety have become part of my norm. Over the last year, I’ve had to put my spiritual tools to work like never before. I believe we all come to the Earth plane with an assortment of battles to accept and overcome to help our souls progress. We’re all fighting battles. The important part is how you walk through it.
Crisis often brings people to spirituality. I’m frequently asked, “ XYZ horrible thing has happened. Where do I begin?” Here are my top go-to tools that I turn to when life feels out of control.
1. Meditation & Mindfulness
Sit. Be still. Heal. When most people reach out to me asking how to ease stress and anxiety through their spiritual practice, they want a crystal suggestion to make everything OK. Sometimes, a crystal just won’t cut it and work better as an ancillary tool.
Meditation and mindfulness are at the top of my list because if you’re practicing them regularly, even five minutes a day, the rest of these tools will come easier.
Sitting in silence may feel incredibly uncomfortable, initially, if you’re going through a stressful season of life. If you haven’t given yourself a moment to process anything that’s happening in your life, of course, your mind is going to be running a mile a minute the moment you sit down.
During stressful times, I find it helpful to look at meditation as more of a time process and purge. Let all of the stuff that’s been running around in your mind run free. Permitting your thoughts to race around will allow you to process things you’ll otherwise keep cycling through over and over.
Once you’ve allowed your mind some time to run free with your worries, you might find a guided meditation helpful. I love all of the guided meditations from Meditation Oasis, and they have a wonderful selection of free meditations, including several specifically for stress and anxiety. You can also check out my Energy Reset Meditations Bundle and other guided meditations here.
Try meditating or sitting in silence for five to ten minutes a day for a week and see how you feel — having a hard time sticking to your meditation practice? Check out this blog post for ways to stick to it.
2. Body Awareness
Your miraculous body does so much for you during times of stress! Taking time to become aware of your body offers the opportunity to tune into something other than your worries and can give your body a needed release. We store stress and anxiety all over our bodies but often don’t even notice it because we become so used to it. Try this body awareness exercise a few times a week if you’re in the midst of a stressful time.
To become more aware of your body sit or lie down and name each part of your body. Start at your toes and work your way up to the top of your head. You can do this by saying something like “I feel my left big toe” or “I breathe into my right thigh” etc. for each body part. Take a breath for each body part you go over and spend extra time on any parts that feel extra tense. You can make this activity as long or as short as you need. If your time is limited, try doing this activity in the shower or at a stoplight. Even little moments of body awareness can help.
Mudras are another great tool your body offers. Learn more about using mudras during times of stress here.
When we’re stuck in worry and fear, our breath often stays high in our chest. Short chest breaths signal to our body that there’s danger nearby. Directing your breath deep into your belly can help break the anxiety cycle and send messages to your body that it’s OK to relax. It also can take a little bit more focus to remember to breathe from your belly, which can give your mind a break too.
Deep belly breaths are a given if you’re meditating or practicing body awareness but can be an invaluable tool when you’re on the run. Running late and stuck in traffic? Have a screaming child in your arms? Whatever your stressor and wherever you’re at your breath is available to you. The hardest part about this tool is remembering that it’s available. You can learn more about breathwork here.
Remember how I said that meditation and mindfulness would help with all of the other tools? If you’re meditating regularly, even five minutes a day, the thought to take deep belly breaths may come to you more readily than if you’re not meditating.
4. Accept the imperfectness
During times of stress and anxiety, it can be helpful, and sometimes necessary, to shift our expectations of ourselves. We so often compound our anxiety by placing pressure on ourselves to continue to perform at a near-perfect level even if we’re going through a stressful time. Warning, this one can feel the hardest because it often involves letting others see you in a vulnerable state.
Take an honest look at your week, what can you let go of to help you through this challenging time? Can you let go of cooking a few times and eat out? Can you call a friend or family member to ask for help with something you usually do for yourself? Can you take some time off from work to reset?
Whether you choose to let some things go or are forced to, accept yourself and your life where it is in the moment, even if it doesn’t look the way you want it to right now. Accepting yourself where you’re at will let you off the hook from unnecessary self-imposed stress.
Working with a mantra can be helpful when working on acceptance. Find a list of mantras and learn more about using them here.
Even though crystals may not be a cure-all for working through stress and anxiety, they can still serve a purpose. I like to think of crystals as a physical reminder of the tools I do have during stressful times.
Grounding stones like jasper, obsidian, onyx and smoky quartz are great candidates when it comes to keeping calm during times of stress. Beyond the grounding energy these stones offer, keeping them nearby can remind you throughout your day that you do have tools to help you through times of stress.
For more tips to help you get grounded, check out this blog post all about the root chakra.
I hope these tips make you feel more supported and offer some relief if you’re facing a hard season of life. Know that it will pass and that The Universe wants nothing but the best for you. Your soul is here to learn and grow!
Cassie Uhl is the author of five books and two card decks, an artist, intuitive energy healer, and death doula. Her lineage and practices are rooted in pagan earth-based spiritual practices of Northern Europe. She approaches her work and clients with trauma-informed support through all phases of life. She currently resides on the land of the Myaamia people in so-called Indiana of the US.