Anxiety has become a buzzword in our society—so much so that I’ve had 4-year-olds come into my office and tell me they have anxiety! (As an adult, yes, I’ve battled with my own anxiety, but at 4, I can tell you that my biggest concerns were if I’d be able to go back outside to play after dinner or if we could maybe visit the ice cream stand that afternoon.)
While contemplating what this says about our culture arguably deserves some attention, today I just want to talk about anxiety in terms of what it actually is… and that is that it is simply an emotion.
It’s an emotion. Just like happiness, joy, sadness, or worry. And emotions have a very important job: They are meant to tell us what is going on inside of us. They show us how connected we are to ourselves at that particular time.
As much as we’d love to blame our emotions on the people or situations around us, in fact, emotions are an indication of how we are feeling and how connected we are to our source. My terminology not jiving with you? Let’s look at it a different way. Ask yourself the following questions the next time anxiety creeps in and you have a strong desire to place the blame on something external instead of internal:
✔️How grounded am I right now?
✔️Am I honoring myself in this situation?
✔️Am I setting appropriate boundaries?
✔️Am I showing up for myself?
✔️Am I practicing self love, compassion, and acceptance?
✔️Am I hungry?
✔️Am I tired?
✔️Am I stressed?
All roads lead to the same destination. Emotions are a clue as to the above, as to how we are currently showing up for ourselves. A wise, wise friend once told me, “Emotions are not facts, but it is a fact that we feel them.” Hmmmmmm, interesting right?
The first step in calming your anxiety is to begin to see it as just another emotion. Emotions are not facts... meaning they may not be appropriate representations of the situation, but it is a fact that we feel them—and indeed, quite strongly at times. The really cool thing about emotions? They never last forever.
So, what is my #1 go-to method for calming anxiety? Well, it’s to work preventatively, of course. When is your anxiety the worst? Morning? Night? When you go out with friends? Whatever your answer may be, start using your tools before you know the anxiety might set in! Prepare and tap into the art of preventative medicine!
Most people I work with have found something that helps, but typically people only do these things when anxiety hits. Review the above questions; usually when those things are off for a while, we are more likely to experience adverse emotions like anxiety. Personally, when I don’t set boundaries for myself (and stick to them) I can start to feel immediately off. Now, when I don’t set boundaries for myself day after day, week after week, sometimes even month after month...when the adverse emotion hits it is substantially harder to turn around.
Most of us have felt the “spiraling” feeling of strong anxiety, and therefore most of us know that when we’re in it, it’s so very hard to come out of it. So, my advice, my #1 tool that works best for me is to start early… start when you’re feeling good! Use the tools that you know help you to feel good and do them every single day instead of waiting until you feel bad and try to crawl yourself back out.
That’s akin to only taking vitamins when you’re sick, only going to acupuncture when you’re hurt, or only seeing a therapist when you’re in crisis. We have to learn to take responsibility for our own feelings and start showing up for ourselves every damn day. Believe it or not, we are in charge of how we feel.
Interested in cultivating your own tools for taming anxiety? If so, I’ve got your back! Email me to learn more about the benefits acupuncture, coaching, and yoga can have on anxiety.
All the love and abundance,