Loving the Anxiety—Say Whaaaat???

Anxiety can feel like a monster making it’s way to take over one’s body & mind. How can one even get to a place where they engage in loving the anxiety??? That sounds bizarre–doesn’t it?

Most of us, humans, will try to run away from anxiety or distract ourselves with the hope that it will get drowned out by the music, the run, the alcohol or the friends–anything to not feel it, essentially. The monster is so uncomfortable and demanding, anything to make it go away is a common reaction.

Let’s see what is possible if we can pivot from this tendency.

Let’s understand a little about what anxiety is and why it exists. Anxiety is a natural emotion. It helps us navigate what is safe and what isn’t. Anxiety is about what may happen between the present moment and the future. It helps us plan. It helps us think twice about decisions we are making as we move forward. This part of it is generally a good and healthy thing.
However, when we don’t have time or perhaps the resources to process our anxiety we can move into a pattern of the anxiety fighting our insides for more space. It’s as if the anxiety has a big ego, because it needs to be considered. Just like a toddler, the anxiety also needs to be held, cared for and shown it’s boundaries. When anxiety is not considered, it turns into fear, our body moves into fight, flight or freeze mode and we can get highly triggered, sending us down a path of warped thinking with our bodies feeling dysregulated. This is an awful experience…like one is drowning in their fears.

Right now, let’s take a breath together. Feel the in breath. Release the out breath slowly, inviting a letting go in your jaw, your neck and shoulders, and anywhere else in your body that seeks the invitation. The letting go may happen and it may not. Just focus on inviting it and seeing what happens–even if it is nothing. 

Notice the places that might be triggered from even reading about anxiety. Let yourself feel the muscles around the places. Perhaps they are tight or feeling stuck or stiff. Stay with that feeling for this moment. Maybe you even send it a message that you see it, you feel it and know it’s there. You can tell it you are here with it. That you know it’s hard to work so much and hold on to all those muscles and all that concern. As if the tension is a child having a very hard time and acting out, let it know that you are here with it, you know it’s a challenging moment and you have love for it. (This doesn’t mean you like it, it means you understand and care for how difficult this moment can be for this part of yourself). 
Feel your in breath. The inside of your rib cage opening; your spine acquiring a little more space between each vertebrae.
Feel the out breath. The letting go; the contraction. 
Now notice the area where you were feeling tense. Getting a sense of what it’s like now. Perhaps it wants or needs some more of your gentle energy acknowledging it. You can offer that while remaining connected to the other spaces in your mind and body that are also alive for you in this moment.

This is the boundary. You can acknowledge the anxiety and also let yourself acknowledge it is not all of you.

You have so much that constitutes your experience in any given moment. Sometimes, we just need to remind ourselves to make space to feel and experience more fully.

Please note: This is not a magical way to relieve yourself of anxious feelings. It is a practice in pivoting from an older relationship with it to a new way of interacting with anxiety as well as the other parts of your being.

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