Anxiety steals everything. Its steals your joy, your presence, and even your health.
I want to live a joyful life. I want to be present with my loved ones. I want to be happy and healthy. So naturally I turned my attention toward dealing with the anxiety/stress monster.
Anxiety is a constant perceiving of threat and then experiencing those threats in the mind and body.
Anxiety is fear, an ever present lower grade fear.
Being fearful of threats is natural and serves a purpose. It has kept us animals alive for a very long time. But too much fear and constant fear is not so good… not if you want to enjoy your life.
Being constantly fearful doesn’t let you rest. How could you? Always on the lookout, always scanning the horizon, the current moment, and even the future for threats.
There is no peace with anxiety. There is no real presence with anxiety either. Relationships suffer in this way.
Loving someone becomes really difficult when you are constantly stressed and worried.
I think that love only becomes possible when the body feels safe enough to relax into giving and receiving love.
Here are some things you can try that have helped me relax, get present and really enjoy my life:
1. Become aware of yourself…. the thinking, feelings and sensations that happen inside of you. Become a student of you so that you can understand yourself and what is going on for you from moment to moment. Initially this might seem counterintuitive.. “Great, so now I can put my finger on it, awesome, now I know that I feel like shit, thanks Drew.”
There is no dealing with something without acknowledging and accepting it.
The idea is to eventually be able to acknowledge and accept but not attach to it or make a whole bunch of meaning out of it.
You get to a place of being an observer of you and then having choice about what you want to give your attention to.
- Resource: Click on the “Emotion Log” Tab on my Website
2. Understand that although fear can get created in the mind, it makes it’s way into the body. The mind affects the body and then the body affects the mind. They feed off each other.
A clenched, closed, defended, high strung, and shallow breathing body will give rise to a more fearful experience of the world.
For me, the most powerful and accessible tool I learned to relax my body was deep belly breathing. Other things that helped me feel my body and understand how to relax it were: acupuncture, dance, reiki, massage, body talk, somatic experiencing, and working with my Vagus nerve.
3. Recognize and tame your cognitive distortions.
Negative stories that we tell ourselves get translated and transmitted into our body. The body feels the weight of your thinking.
Words can be medicine or they can be poison.
Be careful with your speech. The writing of words is called spelling for a reason. You are casting spells by bringing certain words into existence.
Choose to tell different stories. Anything that can be said in a destructive way can be said in a constructive way.
4. What you focus on grows. What you appreciate appreciates. If you want to bring more joy into your life develop practices of writing it, speaking it, and sharing it. Spend time with people who are joyful. Surround yourself with positivity.
Resource – Positive people. Gratitude Journal. Serving other people. Being kind and generous.
5. Slow down enough to be in touch with your truth in the moment. And speak your truth, especially if you have not done so in the past. Speaking up for yourself, advocating for yourself and having your own back in general is reassuring. Imagine not speaking your truth in a moment. It would be unsettling. Who will stand up for you if not you? I know that learning how to be truly honest and assertive can be challenging. There are pitfalls of not being assertive enough and or being too assertive. It takes courage and practice and fine tuning. But, it is worth it to learn how to be an ally to yourself.
Lastly, get some help. If you are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, get some assistance.
With love and respect,