Close your eyes, take a deep belly breath, exhale!
As simple as these instructions may sound, they are not always that easy for so many individuals who suffer with anxiety to follow. Many of us avoid our feelings because they scare us, cause flashbacks, make us feel vulnerable and are unmanageable.
It was Lily’s first session with me, and as she attempted to do some deep breathing exercises, she closed her eyes, placed one hand on her heart, and just after taking her first breath yelled out, “I can’t do this please stop, I’m losing control!” My heart ached for her because like Lily, I too was once afraid of feeling and I recalled being terrified of all the sensations and thoughts I would experience whenever I was triggered by an unpleasant memory, guilt or shame.
The fear of feeling is one of the worst curses ever!
I see anxiety as fear caused by our inability to control the outcome of a situation. The symptoms of anxiety can be crippling because it is a package deal, and may include: chest pains, muscle tension, sweating, a lump in the throat, nausea, trembling, rapid heart rate, restlessness, stomach issues, problems sleeping, and fatigue. While we can hide the symptoms, they will eventually start to interfere with how you function and leave you feeling stuck.
Remedy for Anxiety
The good news is you can you can control the symptoms of anxiety, you recover, you can heal! Please understand that it is normal to experience anxiety; it is what makes us humans and helps to protect us from danger. However, for some of us, trauma caused our systems to go offline which has caused emotional and physiological dysfunction.
- Accept that control is an illusion
- Start small and commit to doing the work
- Write down two things you want to work on to improve yourself this month
- Set aside five minutes per day to focus on breathing
- Exercise, even if it is for 15 minutes per day
- Take the risk, find support, a friend, a therapist or a support group
- Volunteer-it triggers empathy, gratitude and gives you a sense of fulfillment
- Use positive affirmations
I can’t promise you that the feelings you experience will be pleasant or that they won’t scare you, but I can guarantee that if you do the work, it will be worth the outcome. “Dare to Emerge!”