Last week, I expressed some radical ideas about the root of anxiety. That article was intended to offer some solace and comfort in the knowing that you’re not alone in feeling anxiety and all that tends to come with it.
We’re living in challenging times, and there are many things generating anxiety on every level.
Still, with greater awareness and practice, we can begin to navigate this world of uncertainty and find a sense of peace that mitigates anxiety.
I certainly don’t have all of the answers, but I’d like to share five things that I’ve been doing over the years that have made a huge difference in my capacity to deal with anxiety and stress.
1. Consider, What’s the Worst that Could Happen?
When I get anxious about something, I often ask myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” More often than not, this question alone is enough to bring calm. Even though something before me feels very uncertain, as I’m able to consider the worst outcome of the situation, I find myself feeling more relaxed and more aware of my circumstances, i.e. less uncertain.
For example, if I’m feeling anxious about meeting a deadline, I ask myself what’s the worst that could happen if I don’t meet it. Of course there are consequences, but most of the time, in asking this question, I realize that the consequences are not so extremely dire that I can’t deal with them if they were to happen. If I lose a job, I’ll find another. If I upset someone, I’ll make it right. If I miss an opportunity, another will come. This question reminds me to have more faith, and to remember that throughout my life, even when things haven’t worked out as I wanted them to, and even if things were super challenging to move through, things always worked out. When I remember this, I’m much better able to do what’s needed in the moment to ensure the best outcome, rather than feeling anxious.
Most of the time, when we feel anxious, we’re worried about something other than this moment. We’re thinking about the next thing to come, wondering what will happen. This puts us in the future. Or, we’re feeling worried about a decision we made that perhaps we regret, or thinking about something that happened and stewing over that. This puts us in the past. When we presence ourselves, we return to this moment. The quickest way I’ve found to do this is to say to myself, “Feel your feet.” Feeling our feet on the ground immediately puts us in the moment. From there, we can tune in to how we’re feeling in our bodies, and then tend to what is needed in this moment.
I also do things like tune into my breathing, meditate, or take a warm bath to presence myself. Pausing and taking a moment away from the hustle and bustle of life is so important to maintain our balance and sense of peace.
3. Return to Nature
This is probably the number one “go to” source for me as a balm to anxiety. To return to Nature, for me, is about tuning into the natural world and how it works in perfect harmony. I can do this by physically spending time immersed in Nature, or by simply contemplating Nature and Her magnificence.
Nature doesn’t get anxious. She doesn’t worry about uncertainty. Nature adapts. Nature is self-healing. Nature honors the cycle of death and rebirth. She sprouts when it’s time, blossoms when it’s time, bears fruit when it’s time, and let’s go when it’s time. She bends and flexes with the winds of change. Nature is pure, working with what it is given without believing it needs to do better than that. Nature is firmly rooted while reaching for the stars.
When I remember I am part of Nature, I’m able to pay more attention to how my life expresses and models Nature. It reminds me to pay attention to the food I’m eating, the rest I’m getting, the tension I’m holding, the emotions I’m feeling, the movement I need, the stillness I’m craving and the relationships I’m fostering. I’m much better able to mitigate anxiety when I’m staying true to Nature and my own natural needs by cultivating purity, balance, harmony and flexibility in these areas of my life.
Of course in a world in which everyone wants the “quick fix” or the “magic pill” that’s going to miraculously make all of our troubles and ailments disappear, it can be challenging to go slow and stay the course toward being anxiety free. This is why I believe connecting with other like-minded souls is so important. We each have our unique path to travel, and challenges to face, but we don’t have to go it alone. Find a friend to have regular outings with. Join a local Meetup group. Connect online with groups that nourish you and reach out more within them.
While we need to connect with others, and aren’t meant to be isolated beings on this Earth, the most important connection you can make is to yourself. When you connect to yourself and remember who you are, you can then tune in to what truly matters for you in your life, and be far less likely to feel anxious about all of the other things that inevitably become less significant in this connection and remembering.
5. Creatively Express
We’re here to be creators. I find that creativity is the best way to channel my feelings of anger and anxiety toward something effective. Whether I’m creatively expressing through writing, drawing, crafting, dancing, singing or designing, I always find that creativity is an outlet that supports me in moving through challenges and blocks, as well as channeling potentially negative emotions into positive expression.
We can create for ourselves, our family or the world. If we tune into the deeper messages of our emotions, often our creating serves a higher purpose. It serves to unveil our gifts, to solve problems, or to heal. This can happen for ourselves, our families or for the whole of Humanity and the Earth. And in reality, when we’re healing ourselves, we are healing the whole, so keep it simple and know that even the littlest creative expressions are important!
You may have noticed that none of these things take away the anxiety. They allow us to deal with it and keep it from running our lives.
Anxiety and stress can be catalysts for change, and they are not going away.
It’s how we work with them that is critical. Change cannot come if we’re stuck in the worry, impatience or unhealthy patterns we’ve been stuck in.
I hope these tips allow you to make anxiety your friend and inspire you toward the change you are seeking in your life.
If you’d like support with mitigating anxiety and moving toward the life you know is possible beyond the stress, I’d love to have a conversation and see how I can support you. Schedule your free discovery session with me by clicking here and choosing a time that works for you.
You know there’s a better way, and you don’t have to find it alone!
Awaken Your Inner Power,