Anxiety: what is it and how does it affect us?

Someone asked me today if I ever had anxiety, I was about to respond by saying no and realised that actually maybe I have, and considered that maybe it’s more prevalent that any of us care to admit. What are we talking about here? In many areas of our lives we can feel uncomfortable, perhaps we feel tense and stressed, worried about what is coming up in our day or week, worried about how we will manage life and our relationships with the people in it; what will they say, what will we do, or is that that we plain and simply feel like our bodies are about to explode with the intensity? In all honesty, don’t we all feel the pull of such tensions at some points in our life? I know that I have felt these without doubt and have used a number of healthy, and sometimes not so healthy, ways of dealing with these stresses and tensions.

Whatever our ways of dealing with this looks like for us, all too often we will be wanting to go somewhere or do something to get away from what’s going on. The sheer discomfort of how we feel can seem overwhelming and we want to stop what we don’t want to feel.

What do our responses or reactions look like?

Perhaps we hit the larder, using the biscuits, cake and or chocolate to dull the intensity, or perhaps we look for alcohol to numb us; perhaps we leave the kids with a friend and go for a run, play some sport or go down the pub. Do we think about contacting our GP for help, or just lying down in a darkened room until it passes? Whatever we try, it is clear we are looking for relief from those feelings that feel too much to manage.

For example, if we eat biscuits to dull the tension, we will need an awful lot of biscuits on hand to dull what we don’t want to feel, and, need to keep eating them constantly to ensure relief, even then it’s a bit hit and miss, we can feel stuffed full of biscuits and still feel the tension.

We can easily come to the conclusion that there are not enough biscuits in the world to actually stop the tension.

Are we looking in all the wrong places for help with our anxiousness? All eyes are on something outside of us to sort out this dilemma. Perhaps our eyes are fixed on what has not worked and will never work, as opposed to being open to exploring other options?

There are no biscuits or cakes that are going to give us a feeling of steadiness and being settled with our life. Feeling settled as a feature in our lives can only come from inside us.

Can we stop long enough to connect to our own gentle breath and our own sense of our innate love within, that nothing and no one can take away from us?

It is with our innermost connection that we find ourselves feeling settled. Our connection with ourselves is everything and can support us to come home to ourselves.

Practical tips to start and build this connection:

1. Come back to the body, your body, and feel what’s going on. You may wish to run away but just come and feel what’s going on.

2. Go for a walk

- Feel your feet moving, one step and then another, each foot moving and keep walking

- Walk at least 15 mins every day

3. Feel your gentle breath

- Feel your breath in your lungs

- Connect with the super gentleness of the breath, no trying to achieve anything, just feel the breath in your body.

4. Make feeling and connecting to the body a super important thing in your day, because it is. Your body will honestly tell you what is going on.

5. Just feel. Sometimes that is raw and exposing, sometimes it’s lot of fun, it’s all okay either way, nothing is wrong.

You are okay, far, far more than okay in fact, you are incredible and amazing.

Further reading

Our internal bully

We don’t live in isolation

Falling in love with appreciation

How a spec on the wall becomes a super-giant monster


Sleep is your super power

Photo: Gina Dunlop