Anxiety, this is a word we are all familiar with in some way. Either we have experienced the severe impact it can have on our lives, or we know someone who has. I do not feel that only certain people fall victim to the crippling effects of this underappreciated human issue. I feel that given the right circumstances; everyone can find themselves on the receiving end of this brand of chaos.
What does it mean to “have anxiety”?
Is it a disease? Is it a sickness? Is it a weakness? Or is it a series of unfortunate events or circumstances that produce an overload of heavy, that bombards one with a feeling of helplessness? To me, anxiety is the manifestation of an energetic issue. This is my perspective, and my point of view does not nullify medical advice. I feel these things go hand in hand. The actions we take in the physical world influence our energetic self. The energy we apply to our being also has an effect on our physical body. These things influence each other. So, I am in no way saying that medical advice or medication is not effective, useful, or necessary at times. I apply physical world remedies just the same as I utilize energetic coping methods when the time calls for them. I am all-inclusive here. I do not believe in separating the energetic from the physical. They are a part of the whole; so, when I have issues, I address them both equally – or at least I try my best to.
Anxiety is a battle; one we must fight alone.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into this really important area of wellness. When other people have anxiety, we tend to be a bit dismissive. Is it because we don’t care or can’t empathize? I do not think so. I think it is because no one can help someone else’s anxiety. Anxiety is a battle only the self can resolve. People don’t like to feel helpless. If we can’t help someone, we have to tune out their issues. Yes, sometimes maybe we are too wrapped up in our own lives to recognize someone else’s internal pain, but often we could see it if we choose to; we just know we can’t do anything about it, so we put it aside and don’t give it the attention it deserves. This often compounds the issue for the person drowning in chaos. This right here is something to shift. No one can ever know the magnitude of an internal struggle. We must not seek physical alliances in this particular area. We will be let down every single time. We will prolong that battle because we won’t ever find someone that really fully grasps what we feel like in that moment. We won’t find a hero because we have to be our own hero. This is one of those times that strength of self and emotional endurance come into play.
People can’t fully understand, but that is okay.
This idea that others can’t understand does not mean that there aren’t people who care or that can help. There are always people who care, there is always a way to help. If we want lasting relief though, it must come from within. Once we get caught in that tidal wave of chaotic energy, it will work to remain – it will seek to find a way to expand. Balance must be restored, and it must be restored from deep within the self. Being a stable resting point for those fighting this battle is a wonderful thing. Knowing that people have your back is a comfort that can lighten even the heaviest of loads. Still, the load will remain until the person who carries it resolves it themselves.
I had this idea for a while that people who were very spiritual or well-balanced don’t encounter this disruptive influence in their lives. This idea is inaccurate. To be human is to be flawed. Everyone can encounter anxiety. What we do with these experiences is determined by our awareness and level of self-mastery, in combination with our current circumstances. Personally, my level of self-mastery is not so advanced, but my level of self-awareness is on point. I am not sure if this makes things better or worse, but it sure does make me pay attention and take notice. If we were to take someone who has a very high level of self-mastery, someone who is not easily swayed, who has emotional stability, and we hand them a set of circumstances that places them in the center of chaos with no outlet for resolution; we will find they eventually become overwhelmed. Self-mastery begins to wane and given enough time, that chaos will chip away at their emotional stability. When this happens, we begin to see this energetic issue we call stress have a real-world influence on our physical self.
That’s right, I see stress as an energy, because that is what it is. Stress is not a physical thing, right? You can’t see it or hold it. You can’t explain why some people manage it better than others. You can’t quantify it, but we see its effects. Stress is an example of how energy can influence our well-being. Now, I am sure someone will contest that theory. Stress isn’t weirdo stuff; it is a normal problem. It is a real-life thing. That is exactly what I have been saying for years now. Spirit and physical are the same. We are talking about the same things; our perception is all that varies. To me, the difference in how some manage stress and anxiety, often lies within the spirit.
Everyone must learn to navigate anxiety
The shaman or even successful medical professional are just as susceptible to the life-altering influence of anxiety as a single parent struggling to provide. Regular people and the “so-called blessed” encounter this problem just the same. Some may have more challenging circumstances but more strength of self, others may have all the opportunities in the world but lack all self-mastery skills. Every situation is different, and every person is different. No one is more vulnerable than another especially if our current lesson is to learn how to navigate this particular brand of chaos. I do feel we can learn to manage anxiety all on our own. Getting to the point where it doesn’t consume us is a long hard road. What I feel the definition of managing is, might not align with the general idea most people have.
If you want to overcome anxiety, you have to embrace it.
I don’t feel managing anxiety is making it go away. Sometimes we can’t control all of the contributing factors. Sometimes we are stuck in that sea of turbulence and all we can do is tread water. This right here is where I want to create a shift in thinking. This is where I know I go wrong every single time I am dropped into the midst of chaos. Making the anxiety stop might not be the path to the peace we need. That moment of overwhelm when your heart is pounding, your mind is racing, when you feel like you might explode because everything is just everywhere; at this moment we want to make it all stop. We want someone to help us. We want order. We crave balance. We require stillness. In this moment we have to remember that we might be in the middle of the sea, but we can float. Sink or swim are not our only options here. Sometimes we can grab that floaty and just chill in the chaos until we are ready to do something else. It isn’t stopping the anxiety and fixing the problem that will help us. It is acknowledging it and honoring it that brings the stillness we desire. We must be honest and say, “I am feeling anxious. I don’t like it. It is too much.” Then sit with it. Be still. Don’t try to fix anything. Respect that at this moment, we feel we can do nothing. Often, we can do nothing. Fighting that truth of what we are experiencing only amplifies what we feel.
How could this ever be helpful?
I know, this seems counterproductive. Admit we feel like we are drowning and do nothing? Give in to it? No, let’s be clear here. We are not giving up or giving in. We are being present. We can handle anything. We all own a strength within us that knows no end. We all have the support of spirit, especially in these moments of overwhelm. In the internal war, the battle we seem to fight alone because no human alive can really be there with us in the fight, we aren’t actually alone. Spirit is with us. Spirit knows we can pull through. In the moment when we pause and accept that we feel the desperation that comes with anxiety – everything can change. We have to let go of the need to control. We have to find a little bit of faith. Faith in what? What you believe in is up to you. When faced with the daunting task of regaining stability in moments of chaos, you have to release some knowing. There is just too much energy around, too many thoughts, too many “what ifs”. In those moments you must release the need to know everything or even anything. We have to just breathe. So, when that time comes when we feel sink or swim, I say do neither. I say just float. Just be still. Just let go for a moment and breathe. Have faith that this moment, is not the only moment; but it is the only moment we can control.
Assess the moment.
From here, what if instead of solving the problem, instead of planning for the possibilities, what if instead of worrying, we assess the moment. Just the moment we are in. “Well, how will that solve any problems at all?” Yeah, I know. This seems like it simply won’t be helpful. We have anxiety because we have issues that require resolution. We must plan. We must fix. No! We mustn’t. We can’t solve any problems if we can’t find clarity. We can’t be productive if all we feel is panic. We only hurt ourselves and the situation if we can’t regain a sense of balance. Those problems will be there. They will be addressed in time. Right now, we have the right now. Most of the time, the anxiety is caused by the past and the future. The current moment needs to be all we see. Not an hour from now, not five minutes from now, not even a few seconds from now. Right now, this breath, this is where our focus must stay when anxiety takes hold.
We can’t “positive thinking” anxiety away.
This is not an article about how to avoid ever getting anxiety. It is not a collection of ideas about how to stuff anxiety away. It is the truth that when we experience anxiety, sometimes the only action to take is honoring that we feel it. Validating it. Declaring “I am overwhelmed, this is awful, but I know it won’t last forever.” Sometimes that is all we can do. Accept it and wait for it to pass. However, a big part of why anxiety causes the havoc it does is that we fight it. If we were to get the flu, we would rest. We would recognize our needs and fulfill them. We wouldn’t refuse to accept we have the flu. That would never get us healthy again. Others would honor this because they don’t want to get the flu. They will offer help and supplies and tell you to go get better. They can’t fight the flu for you. They can offer you medicine to help with the symptoms, they can bring you soup and leave it on your doorstep, but they can’t defeat the flu for you. Anxiety is no different. We just don’t honor it in the same way.
Sometimes there is an energetic battle that is being fought. One that holds the same merit as the flu. One that can destroy the physical body if not treated with care. This energetic battle is just as contagious as a flu. If you encounter someone dealing with this turmoil, you have likely felt the effects. Sometimes this lingers and becomes an issue for the next person, and other times it doesn’t spread. The concept is exactly the same as the “physical” illnesses we bestow a greater level of prestige. Our personal situations, defenses, and self-care practices play a role in if the dis-ease spreads or stops. The effects a “physical” illness and anxiety have are equally as profound.
When we are in the thick of it, in the moments that seem to last a lifetime, those moments when even breathing is hard to do; we must accept temporary defeat. We must retreat and gather our strength. We must accept it is too much. The heavy is more than we can carry at that moment. We must allow our self to rest – mentally. The only way to do that is to let go – even if it is just for a moment. Release the need to know the outcome. Release the need to control. Let go of the desire to fix. We don’t need to evaluate the past. We don’t need to plan for the future. We simply need to assess the moment. Only the moment we are in.
This is unimaginably difficult to maintain!
This sounds so simple, but I can tell you, I need the reminder every few minutes when anxiety takes control of my being. I need to be told, “Assess just the moment”. While this may not seem to resolve the issues, especially if you are stubborn like me, what it does is provides a pathway out of the sea. If instead of looking around at the vast expanse of ocean surrounding us and thinking we will never find land; we just float right where we are and when we do, we just might drift to the solution we require. If we exhaust ourselves with the “what ifs” we could very well miss the answers to our issues. We will cause ourselves to become physically unwell and compound the original problem. Sometimes worrying about any moment that is not right now causes more harm than good. So right now, in the depths of despair, we are focusing on just this moment. Look at it with honest eyes and ask yourself “At this moment what can I do?” If there is an action you can take, take it. If there is uncertainty here, just keep floating. Breathe and continue to assess just that moment. Honor what you feel. It won’t last forever. Right now, for whatever reason, you must just honor it. Accept it. Validate it. When the time comes that something more can be done, you will know because you are assessing each moment as it comes. Be still, be present, and let go.
This is where I often fail again. There is a time to rest, there is a time to regroup, and then there is a time to push forward. I must remember I am not weak. I am not crumbling. I am not giving up. I must continue forward. I am still in the middle of the sea; however, I am floating, and I will paddle slowly forward. I do not have a plan. I do not see resolution. I must continue anyway. So, I make sure to do the basic things that must be done! There are no exceptions here. This is the hard part. I feel unwell, I am stressed, I am exhausted, I don’t feel like trying. These are the side effects of anxiety. Of the desperate need to get out of chaos. This is why these things can’t ever be ignored!
When all I can do is gently paddle and assess the moment,
I make sure every day I do the following.
You must make sure you are eating and drinking. This is common sense, but we often don’t want to or don’t think about eating when we are dealing with anxiety. Force yourself anyway. What and how much you consume are equally as important here. Take care of your body.
There is never an exception to this one. This must always be done. The influence this has on our wellness is more profound than I can express. Get up and shower, even if all you do is just stand there. Go and rinse off your funk. You don’t want to, I get it, do it anyway every single day.
~Clean and maintain your physical space.
When we clean or organize, we are centered. We must remain centered, and we must continue to clear the chaotic energy. We must bring order to our lives. This is our responsibility and only we can do it. Ensuring our physical space is in alignment with what we want to feel promotes a sense of balance. It facilitates what we need on an energetic level. So clean, even if you don’t want to.
Whatever type of exercise feels good to you, do it. You must force yourself to move every single day. Again, no exceptions. We want to promote strong energy circulation and “stress relief”, moving your physical body does this better than anything else. We won’t want to move. We feel tired. We feel sick. We must move anyway.
~ Do one productive thing each day.
Aside from the things above, do one thing on a to-do list every single day. This has a major influence on our well-being. When we are productive, we feel like we are taking action. We feel like we are moving forward. We are trying to find our way to resolution, these baby steps bring us there. Even if the one productive thing you did was insignificant, remember baby steps are still steps and they will always be better than standing still. That one thing doesn’t need to pertain to the major issue you are having. In fact, it is better if it has nothing to do with it at all. Delete emails, call an old friend, check the expiration dates on your condiments, it really doesn’t matter. Make a to-do list of small things and do one thing from it every single day.
You must remain hopeful.
It is okay to be overcome by anxiety from time to time. When it happens, we are not broken or weak. We have not failed. We would never think this if we got the flu. The same logic we apply to physical dis-eases, should apply to the energetic kind as well. We should want it to stop. We should dislike the experience. We should not fight or refuse it. It is happening and accepting it makes it far less painful. Recognize that right now, there is more chaos than you can clear. There is more heavy than you can carry. That I okay and it is temporary. Accept it, honor it, but then let it go. Breathe and assess only the moment you are in. Remember that you have a strength within you that knows no end. So, harness it by just floating until the chaos settles and the path is clear.
It will clear, it always does.
Just like the flu doesn’t last forever, neither does anxiety. We assess this moment, but we also know this moment is not the only moment. It just is the only one we can control right now. Build upon this moment. Create your own stability. We can all do that. We can’t rush this process. We have to accept that sometimes all we can do is just breathe, float, and endure. Have faith because this moment will pass. This process IS managing anxiety. It isn’t making it go away forever or pretending you are above it. It is acknowledging it, embracing it, recognizing that it is more than you can take right now, then working to regain balance. That is managing anxiety. I believe this is something we ALL have the power to do! A shift in perspective may be the thing that helps us navigate this chaos in a more positive way.