Mindfulness: Out of Fear and into Growth

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

In Scott Stossel’s book, My Age of Anxiety, we are reminded how fear and dread can undermine our sense of stability. The nature of anxiety can be debilitating, ranging from obsessive rumination to panic attacks that are paralyzing.  Once upon a time, we had hoped, in the practice of psychotherapy that a change in thought patterns and self-talk could tame the beast of anxiety. Now we know there is more to the complicated cause of anxiety symptoms, including genetic predisposition.

We hold feelings of anxiety in our bodies, expressed in shortness of breath, racing thoughts, sweating, flushed face as well as headaches and stomach aches. Our autonomic nervous system has a mind of it’s own when it comes to random bouts of nervous expression, often seeming disconnected to the reality of our situation.  Sometimes, bouts of anxiety are related to a triggering event, such as a presentation or a social event whereby we are in the spotlight.  Yet, anxiety symptoms may also present without any obvious trigger.

We know medication might help, but it might not and it comes with side effects. We know that deep slow breath work and meditation helps to calm the central nervous system. This intervention requires the discipline of daily practice. In our hurried Type-A culture, there are few individuals who will devote to meditation and breath work over self-destructive quick fixes involving substances, such as sugary foods, drugs and alcohol.

Those who are prone to symptoms of anxiety need not be disillusioned with a belief they will be cured. Rather, the goal is to manage the anxiety in any fashion works for you. For some folks, significant changes in their overly stressed and pressured lives does wonders. Others need to be mindful of their daily care rituals, such as securing sufficient sleep as well as exercise and a healthy diet.

 

In addition to self care and slowing down, there is another significant factor at play for managing your anxiety and it is referenced as “attachment” in our literature. You can simply remember the word “love” and focus on being present in order to attach to the moment as well as to others in your life. What does this mean?

Think about spending your day with an intention to attend to only the moment you are in- the task, the colors, the smells and the immediate demands. Take it in with a grateful and faithful attitude. That means you will suspend the “monkey mind” that will try to seduce you back into wasting energy with worry and thinking ahead or behind your present moment.

Further, let go of regret and shame; forgive others and yourself and walk forward with presence.  Believe that you are okay as you are and believe you are where you are because it is the only place you can be for now.  And, contrived as it may sound, you can only be you, so it is worth dropping the dialogue in your head that might involve comparisons and strivings that set you up for shame, blame and insecurity.

 

I know this sounds hokey pokey, but we all know what it is like to sit in the drivers seat and just “let it be.” We have confidence within the light and energy that is only ours and no one else’s business. Try to reach in and trust that guiding voice and BE in the moment with YOU.  You owe no apologies and no defense to anyone. Stay in calm comfort and accept your situation. Resign to the lessons of the present life and hold an open heart of curiosity as you manage each moment.

Any signal of anxiety or nerves might be greeting with acknowledgement and calm breathing as you pause and listen to the lesson or simply wait for the surge of energy to move through you. Just observe the nervous feeling with less judgment and go get a hug or take a time out to go into a peaceful place and pause.  Do this mindfulness, with faith and a sense of grateful perspective IN ADDITION to slowing down your life and taking a nurturing approach to self and other[s]. See if you can bring it all down to a place of open love and calm presence as you meet life’s challenges.

Maybe we can all shift our energy and move out of the age of fear and anxiety which elicits defensiveness into the age of faith and care which elicits growth, creativity and healing.

 

 

 

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 at 12:35 pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Comment