Making friends with anxiety? What is this woman telling me to do? Yes, I promise it is possible to embrace and change ones relationship with anxiety. It is all about patience and practice. The buddhist Monk, Thich Naht Hahn, talks about showing up for feelings when they occur so that that one can be peaceful towards yourself instead of fighting against oneself. Fighting anxiety is a non winning battle. Here are four ways to learn to embrace anxiety:
1)Realize that anxiety is just a learned response
Anxiety is helpful because it acts as sign post for us and it tells us that we are in the stress response. It occurs because something that is happening is causing your body to feel unsafe. This is a learned response. When we have fear of people, places, and situations is usually due to us having a unpleasant situations that have occurred in our past. Fear develops to help us to gage wether or not we are safe. All mammals have this response. It is called the fight, flight or freeze response. With time and practice you can decide if the stimuli is actually threatening or if you are just having a reaction from an unresolved trauma.
Anxiety = Fear. Start to be willing to face your fears.
“Anxiety, the illness of our time, comes primarily from our inability to dwell in the present moment.”~ Thich Nhat Hanh
2) Instead of judging, being scared of or ignoring your anxiety be curious about it
Instead of being annoyed, scared or ignoring your anxiety, it is important to listen to it. Our anxieties are trying to keep us safe from being embarrassed, feeling unworthy or fearful. Dropping the judgement of what we are feeling and just listening allows us to learn the needs of our body and hear the wounded parts of ourselves. When we use a sense of curiosity with it then we can have a different experience. It allows us to find solutions because we are trying to understand versus making an assumption. Being open to your anxiety and sitting with it can be the one of the most powerful experiences because then you are being fully present for yourself.
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”~ Joseph Campbell
3) See it as a friend that is trying to tell you something that you are ignoring
When we can be open to our fear and listen to it like a friend that is upset then we can have compassion, understanding and change. If friend is having a difficult time do you listen to them? Why will you not do this for yourself? You deserve the loving kindness that you give to others. Your fear is just trying to tell you something about how you have been hurt in the past. Be willing to listen and face those fears. When you can face your fears you can develop a different relationship with them.
3) Thanking it for sharing
After you have developed a different relationship with the anxiety through the art of listening and being present. You will be capable practice gratitude for it. Since anxiety has kept you safe for all these years it is important to listen and then thank it for sharing. Then you can decide if you want to react to the the anxiety or if you want to challenge it. Learning to have respect for your fears and then challenge them is so important. When you are able to change your relationship to your anxiety then you can find freedom and joy.
Are you able to make friends with your fears? Please comment below. Do you need help developing a different relationship with your anxiety? Please feel free to contact me for a free 15 minute consultation or an appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Have a blessed week.