Getting Past Anxiety
Disclaimer: This is not medical treatment for anxiety, but an approach to take when your anxiety is not severe. If your anxiety inhibits your ability to function, or if you have an extreme medical concern, seek treatment from a medical professional right away.
Anxiety is a gift.
Yes, those anxious feelings are a total gift: turbulence in the stomach, sweat glands overworked, and thoughts running away with themselves.
When anxiety makes us feel ‘off,’ or as if our mind is doing a crazy dance, knowing how to see and unwrap the gift of anxiety enables us to move through uneasy moments into a more peaceful presence.
No matter your level of anxiety, you can do this. But you need to first believe it’s possible. Believing that you will utilize anxiety as a gift clears a path in your mind for you to create inner wisdom and calm as your reality.
It’s not new age thought. It’s connecting with the wisdom deep inside. I’ve seen my clients successfully do this, and I regularly utilize this gift myself.
Everyone gets anxious from time to time. And, those with extremely creative and intellectual minds, plus those who are perfectionists – in this society – are prone to anxiety.
Is this you? Read on…
Let’s first change the way we look at anxiety.
Former feelings around anxiety: It’s horrible, annoying, and acts like an infectious rash that spreads quickly, rendering us itch-crazy (ish!).
NOW: Anxiety is information.
You’re going about your day, when suddenly something feels ‘off.’ If you stop in this moment and apply the steps below, you’ll likely feel better quickly, and in the process, get to know yourself better.
However, sometimes we ignore this ‘off’ feeling, or are so used to it, that it feels normal. When this is the case, anxiety attacks more fiercely.
Anxiety – at any level – is information.
When it hits, consider yourself blessed with an opportunity to practice.
How to see and unwrap the GIFT OF ANXIETY:
1. Stop what you’re doing.
2. Sit. If it helps, go into another room [remove yourself from the anxious space].
3. Breathe. Don’t try to breathe deeply. Just make sure you’re breathing.
4. Observe the anxiety. Don’t judge it. Observe.
5. Ask yourself, “What am I anxious about? What is this anxiety here to teach me about myself, and the life situation that stirred it up?”
6. Observe the possible answers, but don’t judge them.
7. Take action if there’s a clear remedy to your anxiety.
8. If not, allow yourself to be imperfect that moment, write down your learnings, or confide in a friend.
9. Get into your body. Some ways to do that are: stretch, walk, runn, dance, jump, lay down on the ground, or bring your awareness to different body parts from head to toe.
10. If you are still anxious, below are some anxiety relieving practices.
11. Repeat this process when anxiety occurs. Be gentle with yourself. You are not perfect, and I hope you never will be. Revel in the journey of your self-growth, rather than expecting to heal or solve your problems immediately (causing more anxiety).
Fixing the problem is often easy, and other times a clear path or solution does not present itself right away. In these instances, it may be an anxiety that built up over years, on top of which other anxieties, fears, and emotions found a home.
In time, observing yourself, rather than attaching emotion or judgments to anxieties will clear more paths for comfort.
Though it’s easy to write this, like anything, changing patterns of anxiousness takes time and practice. Therefore, not only is anxiety a gift, but the fact that it’s recurring, is as well!
We only have the moment, and when we’re present in the moment, it’s impossible to be anxious. Anxiety stems from past experiences and having expectations of the future. Oy!
Since the moment is the only real experience we get to have, and the anxiety train is not our transportation of choice, repeat the steps above often [print them out and put them on your mirror if it helps].
Breathe through the moments that are hard. Observe, and see what new information you can learn about yourself and life. You are an amazing person, and your being anxious is part of the human experience.
And so is growth.
You can grow up and through this, one step at a time. And if you don’t, that’s OK too. I promise, it gets easier and can also be fun once you engage in the observation process.
Other benefits of this practice: you may become your own best friend, if you’re not already, and you may find it a really beautiful practice.
Polling my friends, here are some of their anxieties, and also some of the ways they get over them:
|ANXIETY||GETTING THROUGH IT|
|Too many material possessions||Gifting or donating some possessions|
|Sleeping too close to someone else||Asking for the space that makes you feel comfortable to sleep|
|Interacting with people||Remembering that this is tough for others too. But also, feeling and ‘being with’ the anxiety, which helps it dissipate|
|Public speaking / performing (one of the top anxiety inducers in the world)||Get out of the mind and into the body with meditative or movement exercises|
|Making big life decisions, or indecision||Notice anxiety, evaluate choices, and as soon as you understand the consequences of each choice, without procrastination, make FIRM decision|
|Crowds||Avoiding some crowds, and when they’re unavoidable, connecting with breath, and seeing the beauty in people|
|Too much to do||Working out|
If you know someone suffering from anxiety, please share blog with them.
And in the comment section below, please share with me:
What creates anxiety for you, and how do you deal with it? What has worked for you?