I’ve been mulling over where to dive in following my last post. There are just SO many things that I want to talk about, but I want to go about them in a way that makes sense and flows. So after much internal deliberation, I’ve finally come up with a plan, and as much as it makes sense to me, I truly hope it makes sense to you. I am truly open to feedback, so please, please, please hand it over – I will be forever grateful!
So, after all of that, I’ll let you in on where we’re going to start. The root! If Anxiety is a simply a thinking pattern that you’ve chosen to follow, why are we so afraid of it? Why do we turn something clinical into something terrifying? It’s because of our feelings – Duh, you’re human! It’s great to have feelings and emotion, but when they begin to rule your life, there’s something off balance. Please trust me when I say that the pain, the struggled breathing, the temperature changes, and the stress will begin to evaporate with each panic attack, if you are willing to entertain my next sentence. Sit with your anxiety. See if you’re able to just allow it to be with you, rather than taking up arms against it the minute you notice its creeping in. Resistance is futile…seriously.
I can vividly remember sitting at my desk at work writing an email, and all of a sudden knowing I was about to get hit with a wave of anxiety. I could feel heat creeping up my arms and neck, my breath starting to speed up, and the thought “no, no, no, no, not today, I can’t handle this, why is this happening, I was doing so well, nothing even triggered this, why is this still happening to me, what do I do”, was racing through my head on repeat. All the while, maintaining a perfect smile on my face so that no one would know I was suffering and that I couldn’t handle a panic attack. After every panic attack and period of prolonged anxiety, I would feel ashamed that I couldn’t handle it, that I wasn’t in control of my emotions, and that I need to get rid of them. I wasn’t allowing myself to feel my emotions, or better yet, understand them. The day I realized that, I began to welcome in my anxiety rather than run from it. This was a major game changer for me and my journey to find happiness.
After allowing my anxiety to be there and not trying to change everything about it, I swear it became less intimidating. It wasn’t overnight by any means, but I didn’t cringe every time I felt the heat creeping up my arms. Instead of spewing thoughts of panic, I was able to self soothe myself and just welcome the emotions and bypass the anxiety. Major life skill right there if you ask me! Anxiety is like the dinner guest you really don’t want to cook for but feel obligated to have over. Let’s call it the Great Aunt that pries to much. If you dig in your heels, spit in her food, and ignore her for the entire evening, you may feel like you’ve won the battle, but really you feel guilty for acting like a snotty little kid and wasted a perfectly good evening. Your Great Aunt has lived far longer than you and probably has some great advice on life, and if not that, some incredible stories. What if you cooked her a wonderful meal, opened the door, gave her a hug, and had a great conversation with her about her favourite memories in life? Your Great Aunt may always make you feel itchy in your own skin, but which dinner party do you think you’ll enjoy more?
So here is your homework before Part 2 comes out: Envision yourself inviting your anxiety over to visit. The minute you can tell it’s nearing the front door, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and just allow your body to relax. Let the waves of discomfort roll against your skin and know that you’re in for the ride. Open the front door and allow the anxiety into your house. Sit down at the table with your anxiety, and serve some coffee. I’m already so proud of you for even opening the front door. This is HUGE! A massive step in the right direction and something I would love for you to be proud of too. There’s no one saying that you have to have your anxiety over dinner right away. Treat it like dating, start slow, go steady, and then move in. Make sure you know your anxiety before you get in too deep and get freaked out. For instance, my anxiety and I live together, I think it might even propose soon. But lets not rush anything – marriage is a big deal. HA! Okay, I’ll stop. What I’m trying to tell you is that it’s a work in progress, and it will be until the day you die. Don’t rush it – there’s no finish line to cross.
A Envisioning Guide for Dating Your Anxiety:
1. Decide that you’re willing to go on a date with your anxiety.
2. Breathe in, breathe out, and calm yourself.
3. When you start to feel anxiety around the corner, say to yourself “I’m going to open the door to anxiety and get to know it. I control how long it stays for, where we go, and whether or not I want to date it again. I am safe, strong, and proud of myself for doing this.”
4. Open the door.
5. Start small and see what happens. Keep your expectations small and be proud of any improvement that you see.
6. Repeat as needed.
I’m so proud of you! Know that I’m there with you along this journey and that you’re beyond capable right now.
How did your first date go?