As summer wraps up, many of us tense up.

At this time of year, memories of lazy summer days (if you were lucky) give way to a frenzy of chores — like harvesting and processing food, stocking up firewood, getting ready for school, and putting away summer projects and toys

.As we transition from the expansive and chaotic energies of summer to the more contractive and orderly influences of autumn, we experience what is often described as “crunch time”. This can make us anxious as we prepare for the season ahead.Anxiety is important to take note of. It is a key contributor to digestive disorders, blood sugar imbalances, addictions, heart conditions and fatigue. It impedes our ability to think because we tend to breathe very shallow when we are anxious, thus decreasing oxygen delivery to brain.Anxiety can take us on a downward spiral. As we fret, our body is depleted of needed nutrients, especially vitamins B5 and B6. We become more susceptible to illness and fatigue, and therefore we cannot achieve what we need to do — and so we worry some more. Furthermore, worry robs us of the ability to stay in the present, to be aware of the beauty and gifts around us. Our attention is driven inwards, effectively cutting us off from helping others and sharing our talents. Since we all like to feel helpful, needed, and healthy, anxiety can easily lead to depression. In reading this article, you may be feeling tense now. Perhaps your shoulders have elevated, your stomach has contracted, or you are hunched over your heart. This is a good time to take note of whether these are norms for you.There are many ways to alleviate anxiety in our physical bodies. Regular exercise, stretching, deep breathing, and  whole-food, plant-rich diets are very helpful. Studies show that physically connecting your body to the earth — also known as grounding or “earthing” —  balances the nervous system and benefits blood flow and heart rate. Taking B-vitamin supplements and/or herbals like valerian, passionflower or kava can help until things ease up.Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) may be helpful for those with under-functioning digestive systems. For some people, prayer, meditation, aromatherapy, and massage work wonders.On another level, it helps to get to the root of why we are feeling anxious. For most of us, anxiety stems from the fear of not being able to meet expectations; these expectations may be self-imposed or placed upon us.  Having reasonable expectations of ourselves is a lifelong learning process. It is essential to our continued well-being because it requires us to accept and respect our limitations. This frees us from negative patterns that stress and strain us.  When we free ourselves from worry and tension in this way, we can move forward in honesty and efficiency, both for ourselves and for those who count on us. 

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