Anxiety? There’s an App for That.

When it comes to technology, I’m a strong believer that less is more. It is so easy with the current highly evolved technologies widely available as well as living in a Western society to become engulfed in screen-time. Once in a lunar eclipsed moon, I find an app or a piece of technology that helps to connect back with the self versus focusing energy outside of the body.

Pacifica is a free app designed to assist with lessening the physical causes of stress and anxiety through mindfulness. It utilizes five categories rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation and key wellness factors.

1. Mood – A thermometer for your feelings and general mood throughout the day. You can track improvements and take note of triggers over time like water intake or number of hours of sleep.

2. Relax – When you feel stressed, Pacifica offers three relaxation exercises: deep belly breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and positive visualization. You can even pick your soundscape like summer nights or rooftop rain.

3. Thoughts – When you feel overwhelmed and your mind is racing, this app can assist with bringing negative thought patterns into the forefront to develop more positive perspectives over time.

4. Experiments – If you’re feeling up for a challenge, this section provides ways to explore your health and get some forward-motion traction.

5. Health – A section to track your daily wellness factors like hours of sleep, time spent outdoors, minutes exercising and caffeine intake.

Why the awesome folks at Pacifica created the App:
“While there will always be a place for traditional therapy, barriers such as stigma, cost, and logistical considerations often get in the way of individuals getting the treatment they need”. Get the whole story from their about page.

True That.

Awareness and support for folks who wrestle with anxiety and stress is important work. Together, we move forward.

In a fast-paced world of conflicting values, I really like how Pacifica highlights that change happens over time. Depending on how much consciousness we have towards our health factors, we can expedite real change and balance in a lasting way. It allows you to be a detective for your own emotional and physical wellbeing on a non-judging and gentle path. As we stay strongly rooted in the present, we can look to the future.

>>Get the App

>>Visit thinkpacifica.com/blog for more on startups & anxiety

Travel: Does it Have a Pool?

As a child, my father and I would take road-trips from Minneapolis to Montana, where he grew up on a country ranch to visit friends and family. In preparation for these travels, he would announce the hotels with availability and I would in turn ask “does it have a pool?”. Every time.

The motel pool at the Best Western in Miles City was where my sensitive-self found sanctuary. Floating, fully supported by water and gravity, I would stare at the wood planked ceiling taking in the amber-rich stained pine for as long as the parental-powers that be would allow. Letting sound, movement and thoughts lighten and become faint. Sometimes counting the wooden planks on the ceiling, which brought added relaxation. Finally emerging onto the Springtime-green-grass colored astroturf renewed and balanced. Soothed and ready to hit the hay…or a day full of activities.

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Sometimes travels have a pool and sometimes not. Over time, I’ve found ways of finding that nurturance at home or on the road through aromas and hydrotherapy. Wherever the path may lead, these are great things to have:

– BYOB…bring your own bath salt. A simple and easy way to make any tub into a mini-spa. Pre-mix dead sea salts or epsom salts with a paired aroma to a desired experience. Lavender for calming, balsam fir for warming and grounding, etc. There are many fantastic store-bought options as well, a little goes a long way with high quality. For sensitive folks, sometimes the salt with a little almond oil is perfectly soothing.

– Coconut Oil. Bring a small jar with you for versatility – on the body post-bath for sealing in hydration, as a facial cleanser and make-up remover, internal supplement to give your brain and cells a boost or for oral pulling in place of mouthwash. Coconut oil brings a tropical feel anywhere.

– Eye pillow. Give your eyes a break while you soak for sensory system relief. If you have one, grab an eye pillow for the toiletry bag or use a small folded washcloth. Just breathe – equal and steady inhales and exhales.

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Sleep Better – Winter Remedies.

Sleep can be hard in winter. So many factors – lack of vitamin D and sunlight, harsh temperatures with wind, stress from cabin fever and prepping for taxes to name a few. Depending on where you live, access to outdoor farmer’s markets and many trails or outdoor destinations to nourish our minds and bodies may be limited.

The math here looks to have a pattern…more discomfort means less quality sleep. Less quality sleep leads to more discomfort.

A few holistic home remedies have truly helped with calming the nervous system to get better rest have become a nightly ritual for me.

  • Soak – find a restorative bath salt mix with balsam fir or ho wood. These earthy aromatics will ground you from a busy day. Nell’s remedies Champion Soak is a gem.
  • Self Massage – gently rub the bottoms of the feet before bedtime. There are so many nerve ending in the feet, this activates the parasympathetic nervous system to provide a calming feeling all over the body.
  • Soothing Tea – brew a chamomile or lemon balm mix to sip while you read or unwind.
  • Lavender Oil – rub a few drops in the palms then fluff your pillows for soothing aromatherapy.

There is nothing like a nurturing evening and good night’s rest to break out of the winter blues. The common theme seems to be ground, ground, ground before turning in for the night. Bringing airy Vata energy back to earth to recycle after thinking and planning and performing tasks all day. Get ready to  take on a new day in the morning with a perspective that feels solid in your shoes.

Radical Self-Acceptance

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I love meditation. The attention to breathing, the absence of visual stimulation and the feeling after a session. A weight has been lifted off of my brain. This, of course, goes without saying that it can be a process to develop a steady and on-going practice. Good resources are not always easy to find…sometimes the meditation will pull on strings not ready to be worked on just yet or the guide’s voice is reminiscent of a past school teacher who gave a bad grade. These are valid reactions to digging deeper – and a sign there is more there than the initial thought or emotion. When placing myself into a position to open up and work within, comfort and a feeling of nurturance is key.

One resource that I’ve returned to for ideas is the Sounds True catalog – both online and print are available. Last night, I began the guided meditation Radical Self-Acceptance with Tara Brach. Although is had been quite some time since I’d done a complete hour of meditation and guidance, I had no trouble tuning in since I was ready to develop my practice further. Session one on The Suffering of Self Aversion was powerful. It addresses the way we deal with shame and our layered emotions – conscious and subconscious – around our aversions and coping behaviors without judgment on what we perceive to be our own negative qualities. The meditation and talk she gives helps to place building blocks around these qualities to grow in a more positive perceptive.

Sneak peak into the chapters for session one:

  • Relating to the anxiety of imperfection
  • The root of suffering
  • Fleeing from the face of shame
  • Strategies of judgement and conformity
  • Awakening from your substitute life
  • Mindfulness and love
  • A meditation on welcoming the guests (from Rumi)

Each section includes literary and buddhist examples to illuminate Tara Brach’s teachings. This guide could be used for variably anything that is happening in life for anyone looking to grow.

The complete set includes a total of four sessions, I’m greatly looking forward to adding this info my nightly routine this week. If you’re looking for something to dig a little deeper, this might be for you.

The House Guest

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

– Jelaluddin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks