Anxiety’s a bit like a houseguest who’s overstayed their welcome. At first, you think the visit is short-term but somehow, time passes, and the guest has made themselves WAY too comfortable. You can’t get rid of them and your home no longer feels like a safe, peaceful space.
Now what if this home I describe is your mind? And your body? What if anxiety feels like it’s taken over? You desperately want to kick out the unwanted guest and find peace but it feels like a vicious cycle with no beginning or end.
I’m no stranger to anxiety. Years ago it took up a lot of space in my life and I know it does for so many others. It’s become a common household word these days and affects people of all ages and stages of life.
People are always on the move, they feel pressure to have a 'perfect' life, and rarely take time to reflect and do a mindful check-in. So stress builds, emotions are pushed down and anxiety shows up. The body can only hold so much stress and emotion. It’s like a pressure cooker and when enough is enough, the lid pops off.
Anxiety can also be caused from a past trauma that has never been dealt with. Something happens and we don’t take time to do the necessary healing. Some people think we should just suck it up, get over it and move on. But our body and soul doesn’t feel that way, and it will keep showing us until we listen and do the work.
If someone is constantly trying to control their life out of fear it won't feel safe to relax and trust in the moment. This, in turn, creates anxiety and a battle between the mind and body that can feel impossible to get out of.
I tried many different things to get rid of anxiety but things didn’t start to change until I stopped and took time to go inward. I started meditating which released built-up stress in my nervous system. I started to become aware that the problem wasn’t everything and everyone on the outside, it was my thinking.
It hadn’t crossed my mind that my thoughts were creating my anxiety. I wasn’t aware of the body/mind connection, it was all new to me. But learning about this connection and that it was possible to learn the tools that would help me to control my mind rather than give that power to my thoughts, was a game-changer.
Today I can feel anxious. That’s normal. It’s part of being human. But I do not have anxiety. When I feel anxious I have tools I can use in the moment. I continue to practice mindfulness and take time to be present with what I’m feeling and this works really well for me. I feel good knowing that I have the ability to be with my emotions and feelings rather than push them down and be controlled by them.
If you or someone you know is overwhelmed with stress or anxiety, the most important thing to know is that help is available. You should never feel like this is something to struggle through on your own. I have developed a new three-week workshop called, “Tools for Managing Stress + Anxiety”. If you are presently using therapy and medication for your anxiety, mindfulness can be a very good fit. Join me, beginning November 28th, and learn the tools needed to gain back your power. To be free, to feel peace, and to be able to live your life to fullest.