Anxiety: Friend or Foe
I have suffered, tried and tested a lot of techniques in my life to manage my anxiety. Initially CBT, helped me notice my negative thinking and it also really opened my mind, showing me that my thoughts and perception of my world around me, was a very negative one with or without stress.
I spent 7 years managing my bouts of anxiety, specifically nausea. Weirdly for me this was the worst! I had no issues with heart rate increase, sweating or that all encompassing rush of adrenalin. As much as it felt like an internal nuclear explosion, I surfed it. But the nausea, in meetings, on transport or in shops was hellish. I know that if you are in this place right now, it seems like that annoying thing that just wont stop. Yet, us anxiety sufferers keep going, we are the strongest you know?
So what did I do, what helped for me. In the end mindfulness, breathing and becoming more aware of me. Yes, I have heightened anxiety, but that’s who I am and who I am supposed to be. I thinking finally reaching the point of acceptance is the most important. Stopping that fight and that resistance and just letting go gave me the energy and life force to let it be and focus my attention on what matters. Initially meditation helped me find that focus. I can’t go an hour without just checking in mindfully. The busy mind, or the quiet one. The tension and then the release. Thanks to mindfulness and regular practice I am at piece with this mental friend and no longer fighting with the enemy. It is ok to be anxious and it is also ok to just be for 5 mins each hour, every hour. Noticing the pitch of my sons young voice, that slight itch on my left arm, or that worry about the next job. They are just moments that I want to be aware off and moments that are impermanent as the next moment unfolds.
Anxiety changed me and developed me and it continues to each day. Please try mindfulness, it will change you. With practice.
When anxiety hovers above your light and shadows and all your actions, please do not fear them too much. I would like to remind you that life has not forgotten you. It is holding you by your hand and will not let you fail. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness or depression? For after all, even though you do not know where all of this will lead, these experiences may lead to the change that you were always hoping for.
From Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke adapted by Patrizia Collard