Anxiety is something that has come up a lot recently, for a variety of reasons. Everyone seems to be dealing with some life stress or another- that's just the way it goes! I see it manifesting itself in different ways for different people. Some people get angry and lash out at others unintentionally. Some people get sick and lose weight or gain weight- there is a very powerful connection between the mind and the gut. Some people get emotional and cry or get depressed.
For me, anxiety steals my appetite and makes me feel very sad. Actually, all of my emotions become heightened but especially negative ones and I cry more than usual. Really ugly crying, too.
Anxiety is often our first line of defense against conflict, problems, or even our own fears. The adrenal glands fire up to give us that fight-or-flight response to ready us to deal with something new or unwanted. Sometimes, this serves us. Like, when we get that sixth sense that something is wrong and our awareness helps us zero in on danger. We definitely want to stay out of danger. But many times, anxiety arises as an emotional response to daily pressures which we are no risk of being harmed by.
We worry about our loved ones when they are sick. How can I help? Are they going to be OK? What can I do to make them better? Did I give bad advice or am I the cause of the condition?
We worry about conflict. This is my personal anxiety specialty! Are you going to be mad at me for something that I said or did? Will it be held against me if I disagree? Will I need to apologize for something I don't truly feel responsible for to make it go away?
We are fearful of the unknown. Will I make a mistake? Or worse... will I fail? What if... what if... what IFFFFFF??
In moments like these, detaching and getting peaceful may seem disloyal or apathetic. We think: if I really care, I'll worry; if this is really important to me, I must stay upset. We convince ourselves that outcomes will be positively affected by the amount of time we spend worrying.
Our best problem-solving resource is peace. Solutions arise easily and naturally out of a peaceful state. Often, fear and anxiety block solutions. Anxiety gives power to the problem, not the solution. It does not help you or anyone else to harbor turmoil. It does not serve you.
Peace is available if we choose it. Taking care of ourselves in tough situations is the epitome of emotional boundary setting, which we will explore together in the next few weeks. In spite of chaos and unsolved problems around us, all is well. A very wise therapist once chanted this mantra at me: Everything will always be ok. Always. This is my anxiety meditation.