I know anxiety all too well. At one point, I was riddled with so much anxiety that I wouldn’t drive on the highway, elevators seemed like coffins and commuting into NYC on the train became impossible. I was constantly on high alert for a panic attack, equipped with protein bars, electrolyte water and some form of homeopathic or Xanax in my purse at all times for rescue.
Of course, I know that my experience isn’t unique. Way too many people are trapped behind the fear of anxiety. Why? And what can we do about it?
One thing I’ve learned is that anxiety is the symptom and behind it, lurks an unresolved emotion. To heal and be free of anxiety forever, we need to have the courage to face what’s real in our hearts and minds. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We need to locate and accept the unresolved, underlying emotions and issues.
Here are three steps you can use to remind you how to stay connected and how to be mindful. The more you become aware and engaged with your authentic feelings and the reality of your life and stop running from difficult emotions, the more you can strengthen your trust in yourself and stay happily present.
These self-care practices are your emotional workouts and they will strengthen your self-love and build a foundation of trust in yourself. In time, you will be better equipped to handle stress and anxiety and heal from life’s sufferings. You will not to attempt to “let go” or detach from real experiences which causes detachment from reality and self, but to stay present and allow your emotions to teach you, move through you and to transform you. This is the way to true happiness and peace.
3 STEPS TO RIDDING YOURSELF OF ANXIETY
Step 1. Speak Your Truth
Learning to speak up for yourself is an important part of self-care and unclogging stuck energy, which creates stress and anxiety. Concealing your feelings and denying who you are is only damaging to one person. You.
Finding your genuine and appropriate voice is a balancing act. Blocking your voice may appear due to yelling, lying, or negative talk to self or others. Ignoring your true feelings traps energy in your body and can develop into a variety of emotional symptoms and patterns such as gossiping, fear of ridicule or judgment, shyness, stubbornness, verbal abuse, manipulation, inability to express thoughts, social anxiety and fear of public speaking.
One of the main reasons we don’t speak our truth is to hide our pain and suffering. We often do not realize the lies we tell ourselves. To heal our emotional wounds, we must practice saying what we need, what we desire. You will feel free, unstuck and connected when you do.
Step 2. Accept Your Authentic Feelings
Accepting your feelings is different from clutching onto your past. Honoring all of the emotions that an experience evokes is what allows us to stay whole and healthy. Although the phrase “let it go” is popular in pop culture philosophy, it’s based on detachment. While detachment is a reasonable practice in some areas of our lives like from material possessions, it’s not a healthy approach when it comes to your emotions.
We are scared of our feelings and fear is the guiding force behind detachment. But the truth is we need to connect to our authentic feelings in order to actually process them and move forward, otherwise we feel disconnected from ourselves (and others) which breeds more anxiety. We need to learn to allow our true feelings to come through and sit with them—even if it’s uncomfortable at first.
To deny ourselves the acceptance of our feelings, even the nasty, gnarly ones, is to deny ourselves a full life. We miss the opportunity to express humility, feel empathy, or ask for forgiveness. If we never fully know anger, how can we ever fully know forgiveness, compassion, or peace?
Don’t waste your energy trying to “let it go.” Instead, work toward accepting what is real—your authentic emotions—and challenge yourself to stay present in the midst of unpleasant emotions.
Step 3. Risk Love
To return to peace and a life without anxiety, you must learn to trust yourself and love yourself.
Grief, anger and heartache can drown you in emotion if you are not practicing self-love. By reassuring your inner self that you are present, capable and willing to take care of your emotional health, you are taking steps on the fearless path to healing and away from disconnection and anxiety.
The heart is capable of processing emotion if you give it support it needs. Perhaps you didn’t have a strong and supportive environment when young, Maybe you don’t have it now. It’s imperative you work to build that foundation for yourself. Find your secure harbor to ride out a personal storm.
Leah Guy is author of The Fearless Path: A Radical Awakening to Emotional Healing and Inner Peace. She is also a transpersonal healer, survivor and media personality.