Anxiety! ….. just the word alone, can make us feel – well, anxious! With all the pressures that come along with our world today, it is no surprise anxiety rates are way up. Often times, it can feel like the only way to deal with these feelings is to push them away, avoid them by filling our time with constant activity, tv binging, food, shopping, or using alcohol/drugs. When we resist difficult emotions, we are actually disconnecting from ourselves. This disconnection from ourselves is what can often leave us feeling alone. When we can work towards acceptance of these feelings, we can begin the process of moving through them.
Sarah Wilson, author of the book First, We Make the Beast Beautiful, believes that anxiety can serve as a kind of ally to us and that it is often a sign that something needs to change. “It forces us to do the journey- – it guides us home.” (Wilson, 2018). It may sound odd to think that some of our most difficult feelings can also be our greatest gifts.
Accepting anxious feelings for what they are- thoughts that pass- allows us to invite our anxious feelings to walk alongside us without having to change or judge them. Anxiety may be a part of our lives but it does not have to define who we are. Practicing self-compassion, meditation, and connecting with others are ways in which we can lessen the impact of anxiety.
So the next time you are feeling that familiar flutter in your chest or lump in your throat, try turning inward and saying, “I see you there – and I’ll take care of you today.”
Written by Nancy Prescott, MS Ed., LPC
Wilson, Sarah. (2018). First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety. HarperCollins Publishers, New York City, NY.
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