I used to wake up every morning with a knot in my stomach, my heart racing, nauseous and an overwhelming sense of doom and gloom. Any thoughts about my future would increase these feelings by tenfold. I believed that the feelings I was waking up with were normal and there was nothing I could do about them. As I believed this was my normal, I tried everything in my power to get away from these feelings.
When I moved to New Zealand at twenty-two years, the debilitating loneliness and anxiety attacks only intensified. And I unsuccessfully spent the next few years doing everything in my power to overcome it.
One afternoon, while I was in the middle of another anxiety attack and I was busy scrambling to find a way out, I felt the familiar sensation arise ‘you are never safe’. I noticed that ‘you are never safe’ came up every time I tried to suppress, hid or run away from my anxious thoughts.Then I stopped. I listened to my body. And observed why it didn’t feel safe every time I tried to ‘overcome’ my anxiety
Anxiety is one of the core colours of a rainbow of emotions that make up our human existence. And I believe none of us are spared. The reason why I never felt safe was because I was trying to get rid of an emotion, that is part of my make.
Instead of dismissing it, it was time to tune into the wisdom of anxiety.
Just like every other emotion, anxiety speaks to us through the sensations in our body. These sensations serve as a signal for us to stop and listen to what our body is communicating. There are no hard and fast rules to deal with anxiety, as each of us are unique with our own unique set of challenges. But when we pause to listen to the wisdom it brings forth, we can honour its presence in the most non-threatening way and even release it from our body.
Listed below are ways to connect with the wisdom of anxiety.
1. Trust in Life
Example: Constantly worry about not being able to cope with the potential death of a loved one?
Anxiety shows up as a reminder to review the trust we have in ourselves and in life. We only ever have control in our reactions to our life experiences, we have no control over the outcome of the experiences.
Building trust is crucial to surrendering to the flow of life. And trust is non-tangible in that it is an energetic experience that connects us to all of life.
2. Connection to Life
Example: You worry that you may never find that special person in your life or that your existing relationship may not work out.
When we are disconnected with our emotions, we remain disconnected with our sense of being and unconsciously seek to fill this void with external sources. This put immense pressure of those we have placed our expectations on. Imagine if the tables were turned, how would you react to that immeasurable amount of pressure that is energetically placed on you?
Anxiety helps us remember that we have stepped away from the eternal connection with ourselves. To bring our attention back to the present and learn to provide tender love and care to our hearts. We come to realise that the every things that we seek from others is directly related to the things that we are disconnected from within.
3. Aligning with Goals
Example: You want to find the perfect job but you lack the belief that you are worthy of this job.
Anxiety acts as a signpost to reassess where we have been selling ourselves short but believing that we are less than. Reviewing on our negative thought processes sends a message to the nerves in the body that they are not true and that it can be replaced by something that makes us feel safe. When our thoughts and goals are not in alignment, our body usually lets you know through feeling anxious.
4. Focus on Big Picture
Example: When you are not in control, your life will fall apart.
What we believe our world to be is only a fragment of the universe that we are experiencing. When we can take a deep breath in and focus on the ever expansive nature of life, including all that is invisible to in physical reality we bring awareness to the mysterious workings of the universe. When we expand to focus on the bigger picture, there is a sense of unity and support even through the most challenging experiences in our lives. Like a trapeze artist, there is a sense of an (in)visible net of support and all that is needed from us is to trust.
5. Making Peace with Change
Example: You have just moved to a new country and are anxious about what is in store for you.
Buddhist’s believe that life is suffering. But they also say that it is not so much that life itself is suffering as much as our expectations of life that causes the suffering. Anxiety comes up when we are uneasy with the unknown. We seem to loose ourselves in the fear of the unknown that we forget to honour it with all our heart. The invitation is that we dont distance ourselves from the unknown but welcome it with open arms for its very existence is an integral part of the universal law of life and death.
NOTE: If your anxiety is overwhelming, please seek help. The most courageous acts of humankind in this era is to know how to ask for help.
How does anxiety serve a purpose in your life? How can you use anxiety as a catalyst for change?