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The Anxiety Free Fall

Anxiety. Sometimes it leeches into your day like a Ninja, its stealthy entrance unnoticed until you see the blood. On other occasions it is like a rowdy toddler, raring to go when you wake up and demanding your attention. At other times, it is a constant companion, a steady buffer between you and peace.

The physical sensations cannot be ignored. The tightness in the chest. The pit in the stomach. The hands around your throat. The racing mind that feels as if it’s been injected with rocket fuel.

I woke up with it the this morning. Good old-fashioned, free-floating anxiety that if ignored would morph into panic. Greeting the day this way is painful. Over the years, I’ve discovered several ways to deal with it that don’t involve a prescription or a crack pipe.

Since the core of all anxiety is thought, and thoughts can only be about the past or the future, I find it helpful to remind myself that I’m in the now. By affirming “I am in this moment” over and over, the anxiety lessens. This method is helpful for general anxiety, but requires constant and continual focus. It works best if you can take the time to be alone with an affirmation like the one I use. The illusions of the past and future presented by ego feel real, but are not. Consciously practicing the “being” of the moment leaves no room for anxiety.

I’ve also used the Action Jackson method – just move. Go for a walk, immerse yourself in tasks, run errands. There must be movement involved for this to work. Sitting at the computer or in front of the television has rarely mitigated anxiety for me. It may feel better for a little while, but inevitably the automatic pilot kicks in, leaving the rest of my brain free to ruminate. Eventually, the anxiety returns stronger than before. Even movement won’t permanently eliminate the anxiety, but it will allow you to function until you’re in the frame of mind necessary to unlock it.

Facing anxiety head on reveals the lie that created it and provides the opportunity to know the truth. Diving into the anxiety and asking for guidance in understanding what fear is bubbling beneath the surface allows me to tick off the possibilities one at a time until I hit the mother load. If you’re lucky, you can see the absurdity of the thought or belief that created the anxiety and it disappears like fog in the sun.

Often times, however, the realization of the lie is just the beginning, like finding the strand that keeps the entire spool of thread in place. I am continually amazed at the lies I’ve told myself and the havoc they wreak in my life. It seems to be a life-long process to come undone and return to the state of grace in which we were all born.

When I find myself in this situation or perhaps even one in which the lie doesn’t appear right away, I use the emotional freedom technique to calm my mind and body. Corny though it may seem to some, this method has brought me peace when nothing else has. I highly recommend it.

Anxiety comes along with having an ego that wants you to live in the illusion of the past and future. There are times we are more susceptible to it – when we’re experiencing change or preparing for a transition. A milder form of fear, we can’t avoid it, we can only transcend it. And every time we do, it makes the choices a little more clear for the next time.

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