I have a dislike of the word anxiety. It kind of implies someone who is a shivering nervous wreck, eyes darting in all directions while clasping together repeatedly sweating palms.
A lot of anxiety cannot be seen, but is simply felt. For me it is not the racing heart, or the panic attacks, nightmares or avoidance behaviours but simply thoughts
that sometimes do not stop, and instead swirl into completely fictitious scenarios in my head about what MIGHT happen and IS happening.
My anxiety began when I became a Mother – I don’t know if that’s normal or an expected place for it to begin, only that I didn’t have it before, and now I do.
It’s not something that is with me constantly either- I’m for the most part, a healthy and functioning adult with a successful business, happy marriage, fabulous mediterranean lifestyle (read; not working insane hours and a ton of quality time together) and no real sources of external (or internal) stress.
But still, it’s there.
Sometimes, when I linger too long on social media.
Sometimes, when I think about the girls school.
Sometimes, when I stop to think about the horrors of this world (particularly this year).
Sometimes when I walk down a dark street.
Sometimes when I think about how much there is I want to do and achieve and BE in my life.
Sometimes when I think about how my Nan was diagnosed with cancer at age 40, that they believe was there much earlier.
And sometimes for no apparent reason whatsoever and I’m just on the floor holding my gut and wondering what is happening to my body.
You can try to avoid the triggers-
But actually, I enjoy social media. I love posts and articles that enrich my life. I love knowing what my friends are doing.
And you can’t totally escape the news, and nor would I want to, which was one piece of advice I received about protecting my mindset. It is knowing precisely what IS going on in the world that makes me fired up and inspired to continue to create change. Change for us, for our daughters, for the planet my great great granddaughters will one day inhabit.
You can’t avoid the things you would rather not see about, hear about. You can’t unknow the known. You can’t not want, what you want.
And those of you who know me know that I am pretty much about as anti-western medicine as you can get. (case in point, Rob has been suffering with a severe case of man-flu and requested that I got him some Lemsip. I returned carrying capsules of Echinacea and opened all of his bedroom doors to let in some fresh air instead. He should have known better 🙂 )
So, no anxiety- easing medicine. Besides, it’s not that bad that I think I would even be prescribed any.
Instead, whilst at a yoga class in a tent with my sister-in-law, I found the simplest way to combat it.
Meditating on the breath, but holding strength and peace together in your body.
And when your mind has wandered – which it will –
You are succeeding at meditation. Noticing that you have wandered, and then reclaiming your thoughts. Call them back.
I’d tried meditation so many times before but this time… was just different.
Inside a big tepee with about fifty other people on yoga mats, and we were just breathing, and I felt my belly rising, in, out, breathing in energy. Breathing in all of the happy that floated around that big tent, breathing in the fairy lights and the focus and a big dose of collective uplifted presence. Presence and focus on the now.
Back to breath.
And then you begin to notice the little things around you. The birdsong, the tent rippling in the wind, the coolness of the water as I drink and right now the glinting of the sunlight on to the belly of the boat in the harbour.
And so again. Breathe.
And I noticed something else.
I didn’t just use this when I began to feel anxious, as a fast fix
But also – the second I noticed a thought that might be any less than what I desired. Any time I noticed something which could potentially be a trigger. My website designer not replying for two days close to website launch deadline.
A message from a friend telling me something I’d rather not know about. The site of my inbox with 111110 emails. A bill whose deadline I forgot and have now missed. My 5* hotel charging me twice for my stay. The lock on the school gate left undone.
Noticing the little things around
Bringing you into noticing and from there switching over into-
When we have appreciation, we have gratitude. When we choose gratitude and appreciation as our reality right now-
not only is it harder to move into anxiety state-
But you also have the most perfect and pure gift with which to manage ALL fear and worry and doubt and stress and anxiety.
Something happened to me recently (which I will talk about, soon, when I am able to) which ordinarily, would have literally had me on the floor for a long time. And for a day or so, it did. I felt the familiar heart race, the feeling of space between my brain and reality as my thoughts whirred and ruminated.
And then – I remembered. (the hardest thing).
And I found myself in a little deli, where I noticed the firmness of the wood of the table, the blue of the sky from the window, the breeze hugging me back to myself.
Nothing and nobody can ever take away the pleasures of this earth from you, when you stop to notice them. And you realise, again, how rich and beautiful your life is.
And so I’m not recommending anything at all to help ‘cure’ anxiety… maybe we aren’t meant to be cured at all, but are sent anxiety as another reminder of something deeper we need to learn, or unlearn, and release.
So a breath in
And a breath out
And breath from me to you.