Anxiety is one of the diseases of our age, affecting almost two-thirds of the population, with nearly a third finding it debilitating.
Paramhansa Yogananda said, “The main causes of nervousness are 1) long-continued overactivity, 2) excessive stimulation of the senses from physical overindulgence, and 3) mental overstimulation from chronic fear, anger, sorrow, hatred, jealousy, discontent, or similar harmful emotions.
“Any violent or prolonged excitement disturbs the flow of life force through the nervous system. If you put a two-thousand-volt current through a fifty-watt lamp, it will burn out the lamp. In the same way, excessive stimulation burns the nerves, cutting off the supply of energy and upsetting the functioning of the nervous system.
‘’The most damaging emotions are anger and fear. Anger burns the nerves in the brain and causes poisons to be secreted throughout the body. Fear burns the nerves that supply the heart and can cause heart trouble. Feelings of timidity destroy the nerve endings.”
Anxiety, therefore, can be seen as a disease of the nerves, and the following physical methods can help cool our system and alleviate symptoms.
First, water is an excellent nerve tonic, so bathing, swimming, or even taking a cold shower can help. Yogananda taught that lime juice in water sweetened to neither sweet nor sour can soothe the nerves. Satwic foods, particularly fruit, will cool the nerves, while tamasic foods, excessive spices, or overeating will be harmful.
Secondly, exercise and walking, especially in nature, can help reset the entire system. Hippocrates is reported to have said, “If you are in a bad mood go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood go for another walk.” Yogananda’s Energization Exercises, yoga postures, and the affirmations of the Ananda Yoga system are specifically designed to strengthen and realign the flow of prana.
Finally, sleep is very healing. If you have trouble falling asleep, try this: First relax your entire face including the tongue; next, drop your shoulders and let your hands drop to your sides. Then exhale, relaxing your chest, and focus on the breath; let your lower body and limbs relax, succumbing to the pull of gravity. Finally, clear your mind of all thoughts for ten seconds. The US military teaches this system (it sounds like it is straight out of a yoga class) and reports that a vast majority of people can learn to fall asleep within two minutes.
Since the most damaging emotions are anger and fear, it’s essential to control these sentiments actively. Accept that anxiety is an emotional condition and not amenable to logic. News and media, especially opinions, are designed to evoke fear and anger, so avoid that mental poison.
We can’t control the uncontrollable, especially world situations that have little direct influence on our daily lives. Focus on changing yourself, since this is all you can actually control, and even that is a Herculean task. “Do your best and forget tomorrow” is Yogananda’s advice.
Meditation and Faith
Meditation is a powerful tool for calming the mind and reducing stress. It allows us to step back from the constant chatter of our thoughts and emotions, and to connect with a deeper sense of peace and stillness within ourselves. Regular meditation and breathing techniques will rewire the brain, making us less vulnerable to stress and anxiety. Serving others will break the tendency to think about our own worries and fears.
Finally, the most powerful antidote to anxiety is faith. Yogananda said, “The cure for soul nervousness lies in transferring your attention from this little cage of the body to the perception of the Infinite. As a child of the Infinite, you must learn to reflect the image of God.”
Anxiety is a physical, mental, and spiritual disease. Overcome it by giving your hopes and fears to God. Pray in this manner: “Divine Mother, I accept everything that happens as coming from Thee. Please bless me and those I love. Let Thy will be my will.”
Listen to Jyotish as he reads the blog, then expands on it, often adding special behind-the-inspiration stories and answers to common spiritual questions. Subscribe to the podcast or download the audio recording by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (8:53):
Grazie ,di cuore ,per i semplici ed efficaci consigli. Siamo un microcosmo nel macrocosmo .
E’ vero la Fede supera ogni ostacolo e ci fa fluire con il tutto in modo armonioso ,
Beautiful post. As anxiety is the common issue in all the age groups.
Amen Brother. 🙏
Thank you for this beautiful post and much needed one for me.🙏🏻🙏🏻
Valuable guidance . I can help others also.
A peaceful advice.🙏
Joy Guru 🌹🙏
Your word to word about anxiety is an absolute truth, because I suffered with anxiety for 10 years. No medicines worked that time. Thank you for enlightening on this topic.
Thank you for your post.
With many worldly things on my mind this morning, I bypassed my usual spiritual practiceI and was mentally spiraling downward. Your words gave me immediate relief and rescued me from the abyss of forgetfulness. I can now get back to working on what I can control and aligning
my will to His.
With love & gratitude
Very beautifully explained!🙏❤️
Very important information on this time where many souls are experiencing anxiety from fear or anger.
You explained it very beautifully, and hopefully you will continue to give us advise on this issues.
Thank you very much.
Many blessings to you both
Good & practical, Jyotish, thanks!
Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,
Thank you for this wonderful blog.
Very useful pointers and guidelines. Much needed!
As always dear soul, right information at just the right time. In deep gratitude for both timing and content. Jai Guru. Namaste
I am so eternally grateful for the many ways you have brought peace and reassurance to my life through your dedication and devotion to sharing the infinite wisdom of the precious Paramahansa Yogananda✨💕✨💕Happy healing tears gently wash my face…..
I needed to hear dis the mostt todayy😭😭🙏🏻🙏🏻💖💖..
Thank you 🙏
Comes at the right time.
A most timely sharing dear Jyotish! Precisely worded these descriptions of what fear and anger do to us! This advice will be shared with many who suffer from the cage – I can see zoo creatures with this analogy, clinging to their little world inside their prison. So many humans are stuck in their self-constructed cages, shrieking at passers-by, blaming !them! for their situation.
This path is humanities savior, and Master’s consul and advice is timeless. Do what he says, dive deeply into our internal cleansing pool and feel the surrounding waters washing away that which holds us prisoner. And when we surface, grabbing a fresh breath of live giving air, opening our eyes, say – I AM FREE!!
AUM AUM AUM!!!!!
Wonderful Jyotish, I deal with this all the time with clients. And I find exactly what you recommend to be true. Thanks for sharing this with us. Aum, Shanti!
Thank you Swami for this beautiful message…🙏💜🕯️