“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”
― Pema Chödrön
When we find ourselves consumed by anxiety, it’s as if a tornado has arrived and starts to pull everything into it’s path of destruction. The one thing we were anxious about turns into everything we are anxious about. Anxiety is one of those states of mind that feels so uncomfortable and critical to either push down or get ride of. However, our anxiety needs a place to unburden itself.
So many people believe that if we just push our emotions away or ignore it, it will disappear. Many of us have grown up in family structures that believe the best way to handle feelings is to not feel them. I have found through the years of working with anxiety in psychotherapy, that the opposite is true. If we can face our anxiety head on, and not run from it, it moves through us faster and we feel better. Therapy for anxiety can help a lot.
5 Ways to lessen the anxiety:
1. Breathe. Our breath is the most important piece on regulating our nervous system. The deeper we can breath, the more we can return to a relaxed state.
2. Name what is causing anxiety. Just by naming what it is, it lessens it’s power. State it to yourself, write it down, or share with a friend.
3. Find some time to do something that brings you joy/happiness/peace. Even if it’s watching a funny movie, doing something that we can enjoy lessens anxiety. I often tell clients, we have to feel our feelings, but feeling them all day, every day, especially when we are struggling, can be overwhelming. We need a break as well.
4. Listen to a podcast/teaching/sermon/meditation or something inspirational that uplifts you. This could mean practicing a meditation, going to see a spiritual teacher or heading to church.
5. Share time with a trusted and safe friend. Spending time with friends that we feel good about helps a lot in soothing anxiety. Taking a walk, or just being together, can make you feel more grounded and less anxious.