Highest Self Podcast 185: Overcoming Anxiety with Sahara Rose

Anxiety is a major issue with today’s world and in this episode, I explain why it is related to our global Vata imbalance and what to do about it. I also share how not all anxiety is a “bad” thing and sometimes it can actually be warning us about a change we need to make in our lives. The trick is to not let it linger as anxiety but use it as an active measurement. Whether you suffer from anxiety or simply just overthink a lot (who doesn’t?!) you’ll find value in this episode.

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Episode 185 – Overcome Anxiety with Sahara Rose

By Sahara Rose

Namaste. It’s Sahara Rose and welcome back to the “Highest Self” podcast, a place where we discuss what makes you your soul’s highest evolvement.

What’s your dosha? Well if you want to find out, I invite you to take my quick little quiz over on iamsahararose.com, and in a couple questions, I will let you know the exact percentages of the doshas in your mind and in your body and email you a free three-day mini course on how to include Ayurveda into your modern lifestyle. So head over to my website, iamsahararose.com, to discover your dosha today.

So recently I put on my Instagram what are the topics you would like for me to talk about on the podcast, and a lot of you said anxiety. Now anxiety, I would say, is one of the biggest “issues” of our time, but is it really an issue? So let’s talk about that on this episode, and again, this is just my opinion, you’re free to have your opinion, too.

But I don’t see anxiety like this disease almost like it’s made out to be. It’s like, “Oh, the epidemic of anxiety is here. It’s like the smallpox, it’s going to take the worst of us.” Like, no, I don’t see it as that, I see it as just a response to overstimulation, and I don’t see all anxiety as a bad thing either.

So what is anxiety? I actually didn’t really understand what anxiety was for a long time just because I’d never called it that. And it’s very interesting because we can only really feel things that we have language for. So for example, in certain tribes, they have over a hundred names for the color green. So when you show them different pictures, different scales of green, they’re able to detect, “Oh, this green is a little bit more of a forest green, this is more of a mint green.” They’re able to see levels of green that we cannot. Whereas if you showed us that same spectrum of greens, we would just say, “Oh, that’s just green.” Whereas in other societies they don’t see blue, et cetera. And they’ve done many tests, and the more language we have for something, the better we are able to see it.

And I see that same thing for negative emotions, especially in our culture.  You know, we say, “I have anxiety, I have this, I have that,” there’s so many words for these symptoms whereas in, for example, in some Native American cultures, they don’t have a word for sadness. The closest word for sadness is the feeling that you get when you get the flu, like that’s what sadness is. It sort of just like aching and you feel sick, but there’s no word for sadness, so therefore people are less likely to experience that because they’re not labeling it. And this has been an ongoing study, and they’re trying to see, well, if you don’t teach kids certain words, can they not feel it as much? And they’re finding that to a lesser extent.

Now the reason why I opened up and share this, and it came through, is because I feel like we’ve labeled this term anxiety that we’re calling it just a natural reaction to living life and having options that we’ve made it seem like it’s this like disease when it’s not.

Now, what is anxiety? Anxiety is essentially having many thoughts, it is being focused in the future, it is excessive vata. So vata is the air dosha, the Ayurvedic mind-body type, which I am an author and talk a lot about on this podcast, and have two books about—“Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda” and “Eat Feel Fresh.” So vata is air, it is in the future. If you look at the relationship with time, they’re thinking about what’s next, what’s going to happen, what is to come, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. Like they’re visionaries, they’re futurists. For example, Steve Jobs was able to foresee a world where we had these like devices in our pockets that control our lives. But it could also be a mind-trip, it could be worrying constantly about the future, and being paralyzed in the present because of it.

So it has its light and its shadow side, whereas pitta—fire energy—is very, very present, to the point that you can freak out and lash out at someone without thinking about your future relationship with them, or what they’ve done for you in the past because you’re just angry at this moment and you just need to get your words across. Whereas kapha can be very in the past, earth energy, so it can be, you know, wondering what could have happened if, or reminiscing, or feeling lonely, or feeling like they miss someone, or missing the good old days, et cetera, which is related to depression. So kapha, past, depression, pitta, present, anger frustration, vata, future, anxiety.

Now this massive epidemic, so they say, of anxiety is just an excess of vata. It is us being so up in the air that we are not in our bodies, we are not in the physical plain because to worry about something you actually can’t be present. Because unless that thing is happening to you right now, which you know most of the time when you’re worrying about something it’s not about the situation that you’re in right now, it’s about one that you think that you may be in, in the future, which may or may not happen, and most of the time does not happen.

So you can’t be present when you’re worrying, you can’t be present when you’re anxious, you have to be future tripping. And we live in this society that we’re always future tripping. I mean we’re thinking about our 401(K)s, and what’s going to happen next year, and what are our goals, and what are our intentions, and what do we want to do moving forward, and it’s we’re always living for the next step, which can have a lot of benefits too. I mean if you don’t plan for the future at all, then you’re not going to live the kind of life that you want to live. But, we’ve taken it a step too far, that we’ve lost the practice that connect us to the physical, that we’re only in the head.

And the thing about air energy is the air is always flowing, right? Can you contain air in a vessel? No. the air is going to move, it’s going to go where it wants, it’s like the wind, it’s flowing left and right, you cannot predict it. So our thoughts are the air, we cannot contain our thoughts, we cannot stop our thoughts. No matter what kind of meditation you do, your thoughts are going to keep going as long as you’re alive. And they’re supposed to, that’s why they’re there, and the mind is this tool that we have been given, and the mind works the same in all of us actually.

You know, we think that each of our mind—oh, my mind is just crazy, oh I’m on a whole other level, you don’t understand my mind—it’s actually all the same. It’s this universal tool, like a computer, that we all have, but we all have different operators, and those are our souls. So my soul’s going to operate and use my tool of a mind different than yours, and different than someone’s else’s, and you can train your mind how to work for you. So your mind is not just running its course thinking of crazy stuff, but you can actually train your mind to serve you. So if you think of your mind like a wild horse, you know, you can become friends with that horse, and let it know that you’re safe, let it know that it’s going to be okay, and train your mind that way.

Now, anxiety’s essentially letting that horse run free and thinking that now their horse is never going to come back to you, and it’s disappeared, and shit’s going to hit the fan, and you don’t know how you’re going to figure out. It’s anxiety is actually trying to think of the worst situation to keep you safe. That’s actually what we’re doing, and it’s evolutionary because if I’m able to foresee the worst situation that could happen to me, then if it happens I know how to handle it.

Now, in the evolutionary days, that was if a tiger came, and raided my village, and took all our food, what would I do. Whereas in today it’s, “Oh my God, if she emails me back and she’s upset, how am I going to respond?” Or, “Oh my God, that text was passive aggressive, she’s probably mad at me for this reason,” or things like that. So we start to think of the worst situation of, “Oh my God, she’s going to freak out, I’m going to see her, it’s going to be really awkward, and we’re going to have this big blowout fight, and da da da,” and we start to think about how could this get worse, how could this get worse, how could this get worse, and this is just our mind’s tool of protecting us.

So if we an train that horse of a mind and let it know that it’s okay. I mean, some pure evidence is those things that you’ve tripped out over, like how many of them have actually happened? Think about how many conversations you’ve had with yourself about things that you just are working yourself up about that have never happened. Case and point, if your mind was always predicting the future, then you would have dodged a lot of bullets, and you would have had a lot more confrontations than you would have thought. You know, your mind doesn’t know what’s going to happen, your mind is just a tool that’s trying to figure it out.

Now when you’re in that state of anxiety, that state of panic, the only thing you can really do is move out of the mind because you can’t beat the mind from the mind’s level, you know. Because then the mind is just gonna come up with more reasons using the mind, and then the mind is just going to keep growing, and it’s going to be mind, mind, mind, mental AF. The only way to move through it is to move into the body.

So moving into the body is taking the energy form up here to down here. Now a really easy way of doing it is to just go outside, go on a walk, that’s something everyone is capable of doing. I promise you, if you just go on a walk without your phone or without whatever it is that’s stressing you out, and you just walk, listen to music, you’re going to feel a lot better.

Another thing that you can do is dance. Getting into your physical system, turning on some music—whether it’s scream-o, rage music, or tribal music, or anything in between, and just dancing, flowing. And at first, you probably do not want to dance, you feel stuck, it’s the last thing you want to do, and you have to force yourself. Like for the first two minutes it’s going to feel like a force, but I can guarantee if you stick to it, and you dance for ten minutes without stopping, you will not feel anxious because anxiety cannot exist simultaneously as being present. So the moment that you take it out of the mind state and into the body state, you’re forced into being present, and then that anxiety can no longer co-exist.

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So walking, dancing, even doing some breath work, going on the floor, lying down, and just practicing breathing, just noticing your inhale and your exhale. And just feeling how that feels in your body, you know, there was a Japanese study that if you just inhale and exhale eight times, you reduce your cortisol levels like by 50% or something. Just from breathing, that’s it, eight times. If you could just take eight breaths, I promise you, your anxiety’s going to feel so much better.

Another incredible tool that I recommend is shamanic shaking. Now shamanic shaking is a practice that has been used in all sorts of shamanic and indigenous cultures, which is shaking the body, which is actually something we’ve done since the beginning of time. If you look at all animals, all animals when there’s something up, or they get up, or anything, they shake. They shake to heal, and for us, for some reason just in the past several hundred years, it’s almost seen as barbaric and animalistic and weird to shake, whereas we’ve been doing this since the beginning of time.

So what I like to do if I’m really stuck in a funk is I will put on some tribal music like Tribe Called Red, or something that’s very, very just primal, that drumbeat, I want to feel that, and I just shake my body, and that just looks like literally what it sounds like. I am shimmying, I am shaking, I am flailing my arms, my legs, I’m jumping up and down, I’m shaking my booty, I’m shaking my stomach, I’m shaking it all. Because when you shake, you remove stagnant energy.

And the body holds onto trauma, so you’re not going to get rid of the trauma through the mind, You can try to outthink the trauma, you can go to therapy about it, you can talk about it a bajillion times, you can journal about it, but until you release it from the body, it’s still going to be there. And this is why somatic practices are essential to healing. Because once you’re able to just shake it out, you don’t need to consciously know what you’re even shaking about. Your body just knows it’s holding on to some shit, and it wants to let it go. Because your physical body morphs as your spiritual body morphs.

You know, what you look like physically is just a reflection of how you feel within yourself. And that’s why people tell me all the time, they’re like, “Wow, you’re transforming, you look so different.” I’m like “Because I’m changing within.” Because your body is just housing your soul, so it’s going to look and feel certain ways according to how your soul feels in that moment. So to clean up those cobwebs, to remove that stuck, stagnant, stored energy, the trauma, the emotional pains, the breakups, the heartaches, the sadness that you’re just holding onto physically day in and day out like baggage, you gotta shake.

You don’t need to know what it’s about, just shake, shake, shake until you feel your heart racing, and sweat is dripping down your face, and in that moment, stay still and just observe. Notice the sweat dripping down your skin. Notice the feeling of your heartbeat pulsing through your system. Notice all of the energy that you’ve created that’s moving through your hands, and your legs, and you’re feeling alive. And after you’ve remained still for as long as you feel you need, then just dance and celebrate because it is fun to be a human, it is playful to be here.

I mean these problems that we’re worrying about really aren’t that important. Because if you think about the problems that you stay up all night about, a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago, you’re like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe I lost sleep over that.” It’s all just a cosmic wave, it’s all just flowing. And we can have that perspective of seeing that, you know, just from me shaking my body and then being still and observing it, I can change the total state of my body like that in a minute.

So imagine how much control we have over our state every day that we give up. We give up our own power all the time, we give it up to that person that texted us that passive aggressive thing, or that person who sent us the email we don’t like, or that person who honked at us, or that girl that copied us on Instagram, or whatever it is, you’re giving up your power to that person. Because the only way that you can feel anxious over it is if you in some way don’t feel empowered in the situation.

You have to remind yourself that you are sovereign, empowered being. No one can stress you out, that’s actually impossible. Because stress only can exist inside of you. You can be a stressed person, but nothing can stress you out. This is victiming, this is blame, this is saying, “Oh, that car was honking so loud it stressed me out. That person was talking so loud it stressed me out.” No, honey, you had stress inside of yourself that was being triggered in this moments. So let’s address the stress inside of you.

Because you see people like these Buddhist monks who are literally being sprayed by the Chinese government and they’re still in meditation because stress does not exist inside of them even when they’re being attacked. So we can use that as an example of how can we react in this day. You know, anxiety is in a way blaming. It’s saying, “Oh my God, I have so many things on my to-do list, I have so many people emailing me, and wanting things of me, and this, and that.” And it’s giving up your power that you don’t have to say yes to anything.

And no one’s trying to take away from you, you’re only giving it up yourself. So we can step into that radical responsibility that I’m in control of the way that I feel, and I don’t want to feel anxious, I don’t want to feel stressed out, I don’t want to feel cranky. Then how do you want to feel? I want to feel ecstatic, blissful, joyful, at peace. Okay, what can I do to get there? What are practices that I can do every day in my life that get me there instantly? So then when those moments arise, I have tools to fall back on, I have my dance practice, I have my meditation practice, I have my chanting, I have my nature, I have whatever it is that gets me there. So this is why we need our tools, our own unique toolkit, and that’s why trying out different healing modalities is essential.

Now the other thing that I do, and this is from the mental state, so this is something that I just can maybe do in the moment, I’m still doing my practices, my somatic releases, my shaking, et cetera, but this is just something else that I do personally in the moment when I’m feeling anxious. So oftentimes, for me, it comes when I’m exercising. I feel like it’s because I want to get out of that moment, so my mind is like, “Oh, let’s think about that annoying confrontation for the 10,000th time,” and I’ll notice my mind is going into a loop because I’ve thought about this thing before, I’ve thought about how I want to respond, and what I want to say, and da, da, da, and that conversation’s probably not going to happen. So my mind right now is just trying to escape from this moment.

So I just become aware of that, okay. So the moment it’s entering my mind, I try to stop it right there, like, “Okay, you thought right now. You’re wanting some attention, you’re wanting some love, you’re wanting to be acknowledged. Okay, I see you,” and I give it a name. So mine’s is Beatrice. No shame if your name is Beatrice, it’s a cool name, just my voice’s name is Beatrice. So I say, “Beatrice, thank you so much for your opinion, really valuable. I’ve had enough of this today, I don’t really want to think about it, we’ve kind of gone through this loop a bunch of times, but thanks so much for offering your opinion, and I’ll talk to you later.”

So let’s say Beatrice is like, “Oh my God, when are you gonna write that email, blah, blah, blah.” I’m like, “okay, Beatrice, thanks, you’re no longer needed here. Love you, bye.” Because Beatrice is just wanting to be heard. Beatrice wants to feel important. Beatrice wants to feel loved. Beatrice wants you to know that you care about her, and that’s all it is, and we all have our own Beatrice. So I recommend that you give your inner voice, your judgmental, nagging voice a name. We have different voices in our heads, different kind of like tones that we go into.

So maybe, you know, one of mine is Overanalyzing Olivia. So Overanalyzing Olivia likes to analyze the shit out of everything. Like, “Oh, well what if I did da da da,” like she’s super heady, and I’m like, “Okay, Overanalyzing Olivia, thanks for your opinion, but not needed here, bye. You can go sit with Beatrice.” So give these voices different names. You’ll see I have my overanalyzing voice, my judgmental voice, my inner critic voice, my whatever—all of these different voices. Give them names so then you can see that they are not a part of you.

They’re just shadow aspects that you held onto mostly because of societal upbringing. They’re in no way a part of you, and when you can create that distinction of, “This is not my highest self speaking to me, this is Beatrice, or Overanalyzing Olivia, or whoever it is trying to bring me down in this way,” you’re able to give that part of yourself love, and recognition, and see the separation between those shadow aspects of yourself, and the light being within yourself. Because the true you, the higher you, does not judge you, does not analyze you, does not stress you out, these are just tactics to keep you safe, okay?

So give your voice a name, it’s going to change your life. And I promise you, when you start referring to it in that name, you could have like funny little conversations like, “Beatrice, did you forget to take your nap today? Beatrice, I feel like you’re tired. Oh Beatrice, you don’t want to exercise, you do this every time.” Like I literally have conversations like that in my head sometimes, and then I just start laughing, and then I’m not anxious anymore.

So there are so many great tools out there, and another thing that I want to share is that not all anxiety is a bad thing. I feel like in our society we’re like, “Oh my God, any stress about the future is horrible,” and it’s actually not because sometimes we have anxiety over things that need to change. Sometimes the reason why you’re worried about it and stressed over it is because something needs to be addressed.

So for example, let’s say I launched a business with someone, and it’s just not feeling right, and I keep on thinking about like why this person’s not a good partner with me, and you know, just ways that I don’t think it’s going to work, or something that they said that kind of didn’t rub me the right way, whatever it is. And I could keep on ignoring it, like oh my God, it’s just me being anxious, oh my God, stop thinking about it, everything’s fine. Or maybe it’s my intuition telling me that this isn’t the right partnership for me. And maybe by me labeling it as this horrible like Anxiety Anna, or whatever that you want to call it, maybe that’s actually like Intuitive India telling me what’s up.

So sometimes anxiety is warning you about something that you need to look at, and it’s there for a reason. And if you look at it, and you address it, and then you can overcome it, then it’s no longer there. So if you’re anxious about something that actually can be resolved, something that you know, maybe it’s your relationship, like your relationship, like you’re feeling like things are a little bit weird in your relationship, and its stressing you out, and you feel like he’s acting different. Instead of ignoring it, then face whatever’s happening in your relationship.

Maybe if you brought it up, you’re like, “You know, I feel like we’ve been weird for the past couple weeks, something must be up.” He’ll be like, “Oh, me too, this is what’s been happening,” if he has that communicative ability. Or at least you just know and you can recognize that something’s up, instead of me being like, “Oh my God, I must be overanalyzing, let me not think about it,” because clearly there’s something that needs to be looked at.

Now if your habit is to overanalyze everything, and that person’s like, “No, for real, everything is good,” this is your tendency of overanalyzing, and they really mean it, then that’s when I would go into, “Okay, everything’s fine, it’s just me being a little bit of a cray-cray right now.” So that’s when you have to use your own distinction and know. You know, if it’s like something that’s temporary, something that’s new, something that hasn’t happened before, and you’re feeling a little bit anxious and worried about it, address it. If this is just your go-to about something that is just is what it is, like you just always think your partner’s cheating on you, and they absolutely are not, then that’s something that needs to be addressed.

And then the deeper reason of why, why do you keep feeling that way? Because we can keep on, you know, doing all of the anti-anxiety meditations, but you need to address the deeper reason why you’re getting there. You know, is it self-worth, is it not feeling enough, is it a trauma of someone who cheated on you before? Like what is the reason why you keep feeling that way? Because we brush things off too quickly as anxiety when they are pivotal lessons that we need to learn.

So is this anxiety helpful or harmful? There is helpful anxiety out there, and oftentimes in my life the things that I’ve had anxiety over were things that I needed to take action on. They were things that I needed to speak about. And the more and more I tried to not think about it, and be chill, and get over it, the bigger it became. Until finally I had to be like, “Yo, this is not working for me, this needs to change, and this is how I need to go about it moving forward,” then it was no longer there.

So don’t label all anxiety as harmful because it can be helpful. At the same time, it is helpful when you take action. If you’re just gonna keep worrying about it and not take action, then you’re just harming yourself. You know, there’s some quotes that’s like, “God give me coffee for the things that I can change, and wine to accept the things that I can’t.” Not that I recommend drinking coffee or wine, but sometimes I like to think about that quote because it’s saying that there are some things that you can change, and for that, you need more energy, more action, more pitta. And there are some things that you cannot change, and for that, you need more kapha, more relaxation, or as they say, more wine.

So I like to think about it that way. Am I being worried about something that I can actually change, that I can—and most of the time, there is something that you can change. Whether it’s an actual, physical thing, or something within yourself, or is this something I need to accept? You know, like maybe you have to go home for Thanksgiving because you need to see your parents and it’s giving you so much anxiety, but you just need to go home and see your parents, if that’s something that you want to do, you actually don’t need to go home and see your parents.

But let’s say you really want to, but it’s also giving you anxiety. Okay, how can I change? How can I move forward seeing these people who I feel like I have nothing to talk about who bring me down and still keep myself up? Okay, I’ll bring board games. Okay, I’ll bring my tarot cards and pull cards for people. Okay, I’ll bring a book to keep me company. Okay, I’ll go on a run in the morning, or do some yoga so I feel a little bit better in my body throughout the day. Oh, I’ll make food with them.

You know, there’s so many things that you could do to make yourself feel better, instead of just being like, “Oh my God, I have so much anxiety over it. Ah, let me not think about it. Ah, I’m still thinking about it. Ah, I’m so anxious,” and then not doing anything. Like treat yourself like you would as if you were coaching a friend, or as if you were your own client. Like, “Okay, what can you do about this situation? How could you make the anxiety less and what would make you feel better? What are the things you can change? What are the things that you cannot? How do you want to move forward?”

Like we need to look at it like have these conversations with ourselves. And that’s why, like talking to friends is so helpful, because sometimes a friend can hold that space, but really if you can’t do it for yourself, you’re never going to get anywhere. So treat yourself the same way you would a friend. Hold space for yourself that same reason. You know, think with that logical mind, and have these little like debates with yourself till you get to the root of it.

And at the same time, take breaks from your mind cause your mind can keep running around in circles and keep articulating new ways to say new things that keep ending you up in the exact same place. So take breaks from the mind, and go into the body, and shake, and dance, and flow, and move, and get out of there. So then when you do get into there, you’re on point, you’re analytical, you know what’s up, and then you peace, and you’re back to your trance dance.

So I hope this was helpful. I know anxiety is a really, really big topic, and again, it looks different for every single person, but I do think it’s all based in the same thing. It’s based in our society of being super futuristic, so I’m all about the future, I love the future, I’m excited for the way things are going, but we can’t live our lives just in the future because then we’re going to miss out on the present. The present is pretty damn awesome, not to mention the present was once your future at a specific different point of time.

You know, so if you’re missing out on your present, you’re missing out on the future that you once dreamed about, so let yourself gnaw on that for a little bit, a little bit of mind candy for ya, and I hope you enjoyed this episode. I would love to hear what works for you. Of course, there’s so many more tools for anxiety, there are essential oils, there’s lavender, and magnolia, and so many great tools. There’s marma points that you can do on your hands, and on your feet. There are some grounding meditation practices you can do, there are so many tools out there. I mean, I can do another episode on anxiety, but I just wanted to do an overarching of what anxiety really is, and the tools that have helped me most drastically.

Would love to hear about your tools, hit me up on the ‘gram. My Instagram is @iamsahararose. I do posts for all the episodes, I also have a “Highest Self” podcast Instagram @highestselfpodcast. Shoot me a comment over there, and I’ve also created a “Highest Self” Podcast Facebook group. It is called “Mind Body Balancers,” if you just search it on Facebook, “Mind Body Balancers Facebook Group,” you will find it, it is free. It is there we discuss topics, we can share what has helped us with anxiety, what has allowed us to become more mindful. There’s so many great tools out there, and I’m really excited to learn from you guys, too. So head over there, and I’m super excited to hear from you.

I’ve you loved this episode, I would love to share with you the first half of my unreleased book “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type,” which is different from my book “Eat Feel Fresh.” It is my unreleased, never to be released book because it is now part of my “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type” program. I would love to send it to you absolutely free. All you gotta do is leave me a review in the iTunes store, take a screenshot, and email it over to me at [email protected]. Again, take a screenshot of the review and email it to me at [email protected] and I will send you the first half of my unreleased book, “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type.” Namaste.

Episode 185 – Overcome Anxiety with Sahara Rose

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