The Gift of Anxiety - Part Two
In Part One of this post I wrote about why anxiety is a gift and the 4 roots of anxiety. As promised, today I'll share the antidote to each root and how to practice each one. Each antidote is a daily awareness because the roots of anxiety are habitual. Breaking a habit take presence of mind and creating new intentions. I'll show you how. A quick recap - the four roots of anxiety are:
- Unmet Needs
- Uncomfortable with discomfort
First, I had a few questions from this post regarding overwhelm and burn out. Overwhelm and burn out are byproducts of anxiety built up over a long period of time. You don't always know how anxious you are because it's not obvious. But tune in to how you react to a driver who cuts you off or to the long lines at the grocery store and you'll begin to see how anxious you already are. Do you get angry quickly? Do you immediately pull your phone out in traffic to distract yourself?
These habits help numb the effects of anxiety that's already in place. Anxiety built up over time causes overwhelm, burn out, and these 5 signs I wrote earlier this year. The antidotes to the 4 roots of anxiety are...
The antidote to perfectionism is vulnerability
Thanks to one of my favorite authors, Brene Brown, we now know that vulnerability is an under-utilized yet powerful practice. Vulnerability is to live with an open heart. Open to your strengths AND fears. If perfectionism is a shield then vulnerability is the anti-shield. You protect your heart with all your might but when you keep out the dark you also keep out the light. And the light is where all the good stuff is.
Light is a metaphor for connection, love, humility, community, respect, and compassion. These are the healing forces of suffering and I can't imagine keeping these at bay. How to practice vulnerability: let go of your need to be perfect and embrace that you are enough right now where you stand. My journal series on wholehearted living will help pave the way.
The antidote to mis-alignment is listening to your intuition
Mis-alignment happens when you don't listen to your higher self and instead try to forge a path that just doesn't fit. We all have intuition or a higher-self available to us right now. In order to access it you have to quiet the human mind. I wrote extensively about intuition here and here. Your intuition is your soul’s messenger. It is here to help guide you to fulfill your purpose here on Earth. Living out of alignment with purpose is painful. You will feel like something is lacking and totally unfulfilled.
Purpose is not always synonymous with work. I believe we all have essentially one purpose - to return to a loving state and that our path in life only create self-love and self-compassion but also love and compassion for all. How to practice listening to your intuition:
Start to simply notice and pay attention to what internal messages or dialogues might already be going on. If there is a particular situation in your life that needs solving tune into yourself and just ask, “What does my gut tell me?” Move to the next step.
Notice what comes up immediately
Once you ask this listen to what immediately comes through for you! It doesn’t get more true than this. Your intuition won’t always deliver the easiest solution or answer that makes everything feel better. It’s role is to show you the path no matter what that path is.
Part of what makes listening to your own intuition tricky is trusting it. There’s no reason that anyone can definitely show for why we experience intuitive moments. You can’t see it or touch it but you can feel it. Big time. Accept this part of you as being real even without some concrete explanation.
The antidote to unmet needs is need awareness
You can't get your needs met if you don't even know what they are. There is so much, almost too much, information available about needs. As I wrote in Part One we all have the same 6 core needs: Love & Connection, Certainty, Uncertainty, Significance, Growth, and Contribution. Even though we share these needs everyone puts them in a different order.
For me Love & Connection are #1 followed by Uncertainty, and Significance. Almost everything we do or don't do is in attempt to get a need met. I believe we are at our core inherently good. We have good intentions and only want to serve our needs so that we may serve others. How to practice need awareness: put these 6 core needs in the right order for youself. Then ask yourself the following questions: How do I know when this need is being met? How best can I get this need met? Who can I ask for support in getting my needs met?
The antidote to being uncomfortable with discomfort is sitting in discomfort
There's no other way around discomfort, you have to go through it. How do you go through? By letting yourself stay in uncomfortable situations (as long as you're physically safe) and build up your resilience. We are creatures of comfort and have created a world around us filled with immediate comforts. For example - coffee drive-thru's, fast food, video games, TV, readily accessible comfort food, phone apps, social media, shopping malls, and more.
One of my creature comforts is multiple stimuli such as writing while listening to music and drinking tea and water while texting friends. It's comfortable. What am I trying to avoid? Being alone in the house where my office is. How to practice sitting in discomfort: go easy with this one. Too much too soon will have you multiplying your comfort habits instead of reducing them. I have 15 steps I'll share next week but for today try on these 3:
- Take a technology time-out at least 2 hours before bed
- Limit sensory input – try not to have the TV on, checking email, making dinner, and talking on the phone all at the same time.
- Make bedtime a sacred ritual - no technology in the bedroom is a great place to begin
In my work I steer clients away from having to rely on anxiety medication by getting them in touch with their anxiety roots. As a result my clients report immediate ease, clarity, and a sense of having their feet on the ground again. They aren't as jumpy or anxious and have patience back in their life.
In the New Year I'm launching a 12-week Get Rid of Anxiety without Medication program which starts at $3750. To start working with me before my prices increase click the consult button below.