A Mindful Response to Anxiety

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Anxiety is a feelings I have experience at various times in my life, occasionally it has made it's presence known in loud and intense moments of panic, but most of my life it hovered as constant background buzz.  Sometimes anxiety was related to a specific event or situation, and yet other times it seemed to come up as a surprise without much context or warning. These feelings were sometimes so strong and overwhelming that they propelled me into a internal chaos, and where my body would try to get my attention through a nauseous stomach.  Through out the past number of years I have become deeply aware of how much constant energy it take to ignore this constant anxious buzz. Upon deeper refection about the sources of my anxiety, I soon realized that it almost aways centred around a deep fear. A fear that “I am just not good enough”, or that “I must be perfect or else others will reject me”. For a long time I told myself that ignoring these feelings was the best way to handle them, and that if I tried hard enough, or was strong enough, they would eventually go away. Unfortunately that is not how it works. Often my choice to ignore these feelings only made them louder and more insistent presenting themselves as stomach aches, headaches, tight chest, and social avoidance.Things began to shift for me when I allowed myself to gently inquire about what was happening in my body when anxiety/panic were visiting. Victor Frankl suggests that “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.” This practice of gentle mindfulness and turning toward my feelings instead of ignoring them began to change my experience. Through my continued commitment to mindful compassionate inquiry I am on my way to developing a new relationship with my anxious feelings. “You may not be able to change a situation, but you can mindfully change your response to it. You can choose a more constructive and productive way of dealing with stress rather than a counterproductive or even destructive way of dealing with it.” If you want to learn more about mindful breathing the the article below includes a few suggestions for developing a mindful breathing practice. - L http://www.mindful.org/calming-rush-panic-body/