Many people negatively view anxiety because it is often associated with uncomfortable emotions or unpleasant bodily sensations. This can lead to a tendency to push away or avoid any feelings of anxiety, when in actually – this ultimately maintains and worsens the anxious cycle.
Anxiety is a normal human experience – it is our built-in fight or flight response. In fact, the human population would likely not survive without this alarm system in place. The goal of the fight or flight human response is ultimately to protect ourselves from a potentially dangerous situation. Therefore, when we detect a perceived threat, this response may be activated.
However, sometimes this important function can have downsides. When we think or imagine that something ‘bad’ is going to happen before it occurs, it will likely trigger this anxious response, even if there is no real threat present.
We are often quick to categorize our emotions as good or bad. We may naturally try to ‘fix’ these ‘bad’ emotions by attempting to avoid them all together. Unfortunately, this only maintains and worsens the anxious cycle.
Instead of running from it, try sitting with it. Listen to the voices in your mind. Take a moment to observe the anxiety. How does it feel in your body? When we observe these sensations, we can start to strengthen the connection with ourselves. When you take a moment to slow down this process, rather than trying to ‘fix it;’ you can start to understand your thoughts and emotions.
Our anxiety serves as a signal that our emotions need attention. When we can start to identify and label our emotions that occur, we can manage and process these emotions appropriately.
Let go of self-judgements and practice opening up to yourself to enhance self-awareness. When we are open to exploring our difficult emotions, we can learn about our deepest desires.
Emotions will always come and go. We cannot strive to maintain only the positive emotions.
We can’t control what emotions we feel. The only thing that we can control is our relationship to them – how we manage ourselves and our responses. Practice being in touch with your own internal experience to enhance your self-discovery.