a neat anxiety trick #2

A while back I shared that I live with anxiety and hey, you know what, so do many of us. Quite a few of you shared with me that you too must accommodate this unwelcome and messy guest in your lives. Which I thought was kinda nice... that you shared and that we can share, not the anxiety bit!

via pinterest

Anyway, today I want to share with you a little something I was taught by a mindfulness expert to help quell the rising worry. It’s something I turn to when I feel the gut wrench or the heart pang or the stomach turn and it’s all getting too much. It works by creating a sense of space between you and the worry, so that you can kinda sit back and watch it and say “hi, you again. Look, you’re here, I’m here... that’s cool, but let’s not get in each other’s way okay”.

For me, this trick stops my worry from consuming me. At times when my anxiousness is so strong that I can’t work or think or remember, I turn to this.

Sit in a quiet space (although I’ve done it opposite a cement factory on a busy road). Close your eyes. Mentally scan your body and pinpoint where you’re feeling the anxiety. It could be your stomach (butterflies), or your chest (heavy heart), or your neck (tight as f**k). Pinpoint the spot and focus in on it. Imagine the anxiety as a material object floating in that spot. Give the object a shape, a colour, a texture, a size. Give it as much detail as you can. Does it have a smell? Get to know the object as best you can. Sit with it for a while. Next, notice a space around the object. Begin to visualise the space slowly expanding. Don’t touch the object, don’t try to squash it. Let it be and focus instead on the expanding space around it. Breathe into the space. See and feel it expand. Sit with the space for a while.

Do this for as long as you need to.  About 10 minutes is what it takes for me.

The point of the trick, of course, is to create a space between you and the anxiousness so you can continue on with your life. Trying to stop the anxiety by telling it to bugger off doesn’t quite work, I find. But giving it some room, saying to it “okay that’s your space and this is mine” does work. A little like this poem:

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
Where I left them, asleep like cattle...

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
And the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.
      - Wendell Berry

And this drawing:
by jewelweed

I hope you find this neat little trick as useful as I have. Have a meaning-full day. 



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