Firstly a belated New Year to everyone and I hope 2014 brings you what you wish for. A quick side note as plenty of people have emailed about this. My app ‘Anxietynomore’ is now finally back in the app store after a technical problem that is now sorted out.
This post was posted on my Facebook page so many may have seen it, for those that have not then here it is.
I was at my local bookstore recently and saw plenty of titles about relaxation, this took me to thinking about certain websites that promote relaxation when feeling anxious. Not that I think there is anything wrong with promoting relaxation, I swim, walk and run because I not only enjoy it, but also believe that exercise and the outdoors is a great stress buster.
I used to be a searcher when I felt anxious, by this I mean I would search for ways to ease it, make it go away, my reaction to anxiety was, ‘This is bad, so it must be fixed’ so each time anxiety was seen as the enemy, the horrible thing that had ruined my life and must be eliminated. I would read book after book, search around the internet, look through the yellow pages for someone who could make this horrid thing go away, my life was consumed by finding the secret to making it go away.
But wait, why did I always feel worse when I reacted to anxiety? Why did trying to find a way out always make me feel worse? This is because I was entering a cycle. I would feel a rush of anxiety either mentally or physically and fight to feel right instead of letting myself naturally come out of it. By trying to relax or talk your way out, you are trying to force something, you cannot force yourself out of anything, it’s like trying to force yourself to be happy, force yourself to sleep, you cannot.
I came across a website last week that said ’10 ways to cope with anxiety’ and then went on to list ways to keep it at bay. I am so against this approach, I only freed myself of anxiety when I allowed every aspect of anxiety to enter my life. I hid from none of it, no longer tried to keep it at bay, to talk my way out of it. To be free of any negative or painful emotion, then we have to feel them, not suppress them, supressing them rarely works and if so, just brings them back stronger another day.
Feeling anxious is testing, it is a pain in the backside at times, but if we lose the need to control it and let ourselves come out of it naturally, then we may find far more peace and no longer enter the cycle of constantly trying to find or force a way out.
Anxiety feeds on your dislike of it, which leads to suppression tactics and the constant search for answers, it feeds on your fear of it, which leads to you hiding away and letting it make decisions for you. Take its fuel away and allow it to be there without it dominating you and what you do. To recover from anxiety, you truly don’t need anything, no 10 ways to cope, no mantras, no safety behaviours, no techniques. You just need to have faith that your fine with anxiety in your life. The only thing that changed with me was my attitude, there was no magic tablet or formula. I just stopped fighting myself, I stopped trying to escape my current state, I did things and trusted I would be fine, I had faith that time would heal me. Letting go of control actually gave me control. I got to the point where it did not matter how I felt and that was true acceptance.
Hope that helps in some way