Anxiety doesn’t exist in tribal cultures, yet here in western societies it is almost an epidemic. Most people will suffer with it in certain situations, while many others have it with them at all times. A huge percentage of the population has anxiety related disorders, and many major sicknesses can have underlying anxiety patterns.
When someone is anxious, they are clearly not at ease. They have lost their centre, and their power is diminished. Simply, they are not ‘themselves', and in this state may make decisions they wouldn’t make when they are in a calmer state of being
Modern medicine does offer help to those who suffer anxiety, and if you find value in that process, continue, but consider the following advice below to assist you even more. Medication doesn’t address the underlying issues, but can have value in helping manage the anxiety, which if left untreated, can lead to a multitude of health problems: depression, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, even certain cancers (while there may well be other issues within such diseases, anxiety often plays a role in their development).
Looking in the reasons for anxiety, I see three probable main causes or contributing factors: sensitivity, not living in the moment, and the past.
The first cause - Sensitivity
This includes those with extreme creativity, artistic and gifted ones who need the sensitivity to be able to do what they do. These individuals may find life difficult to balance and often have varying degrees of anxiety. They can also overreact to every day situations and find living in the world challenging, generating further anxiety.
- Try steer clear of people/ situations that you don’t like and or people who treat you poorly. This should be done when you have extreme anxiety. But be mindful that people and situations to which you react strongly have within them seeds of what you have within your own self - they mirror you. When you have got to the point where you are managing your anxiety, be aware that the very thing that you see within the person that upsets you is within you. You need to deal with this in order to move on and may need some help with this.
- Do something that you like. These activities will enrich, empower and bring you calmness.
- Don’t try to be free of your sensitivity - it is a blessing - but learn to understand it and manage yourself in better ways.
The second cause - Not living in the moment
If you suffer from anxiety, you will be living in the future, not in the present.
- Practice being present. Train yourself to embrace the moment. Hardly anyone who lives in the western world lives in the moment all the time, but most will experience fleeting moments of being 'in the moment'. Many are often living ahead, thinking ahead, planning, scheming, and at times manipulating situations to get the best for themselves (the business world thrives on future planning, dreaming and scheming). Overthinking can develop. Once this habit pattern becomes set, it is hard to break. When your mind doesn’t stop, you are never in the moment; you are always somewhere else. Those who are never present are anxious, the anxiety only varying in degree.
- Spend time in nature, among trees, plants, insects and animals. They all live totally in the present and will help to ground you. Pay attention to them and they will show you how to get into the NOW.
- Spend time with children. Their whole world revolves around being in the moment - that is until the adults around them drag them out of the moment (for example, telling them to grow up and stop believing in things like fairies and Santa Claus).
- Meditate. Meditation, more than anything else, brings us into the moment. That is its purpose. In the moment, there is peace and no anxiety.
The third cause - The origin of your anxiety/the past
Every condition has a seed, a beginning. Think back - when did you first experience anxiety? Most cannot answer that question. The answer will lie somewhere in the past and will now be buried in your unconscious mind (that hidden part of our minds where we bury our old thoughts and emotions).
- Find the source of your anxiety.
- Heal it.
A meditation exercise to find the beginning of your anxiety
- Find a quiet place to meditate. Sit on a straight backed chair with your feet uncrossed on the floor and your hands palms upward, resting on your legs.
- Close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths, long slow breathing with a pause at the end of each inward and outward breath. Continue to breath slowly focusing intently on your breathing and, bit by bit, quieten your breath until you reach the level of breath that is exactly the level of depth that your body needs.
- Visualise yourself walking along a forest path, with a bright silver star above you. This star is your guiding light, enjoy this journey along the star-lit path.
- Soon you will come to a tall fence with a gate in it. The gate is locked and you need to find the key and it will be nearby. Decide that you will find it and you will.
- Open the gate and step into a beautiful garden. Close the gate and place the key in your pocket.
- Walk down a clear white path between magnificent flower beds. Find yourself walking toward a fountain. You will notice a child sitting with their back to you, on a wall, that surrounds the fountain.
- You will notice that the child is you. They will be the exact age that you were when you first became anxious.
- Tell the child that you understand why they are anxious and if the child wishes, you can help them. The child will realise that only you understand and only you can help them.
- Take the child by the hand, then picture a golden thread linking your heart to their heart. Place a further thread between your throats, and another from the point between your eyebrows and the same point on the child. Your hearts are now linked, through love, your throats connected in communication, the eyebrow centre represents understanding. You are now connected to each other, they are safe and so are you.
- Your anxiety and the child’s anxiety has fallen away. You are now whole, you are now one.
This exercise done regularly and with true intent, will go a long way to help you lessen and manage the anxiety that has been with you since that time as a child.
Be aware that anxiety can be a major issue within you and you may need some help from a competent therapist or counselor to walk beside you until you find you feet again. This can be of tremendous benefit, so don’t feel it is a weakness to ask for help.
Anxiety can be extremely challenging to deal with while you’re walking through it. But there is a way forward and out of it. Start with the above to help you centre, ground yourself and learn to be in the moment, be disciplined to practising them - you will find there WILL be a shift.