I know how scary it can be to dig into your anxiety. Many of us try to ignore it or distract ourselves when it kicks in which can be an effective short term solution, but it won’t bring us long term relief or understanding. Having lived with it most of my life and been hit by it in the most intensive way last year, I can tell you that befriending it is the best way forward.
Anxiety is complex. Period! It’s messy, uncomfortable, fucking terrifying at times and makes us feel like we are loosing it. There are two things I want you to remember from this article. First is that anxiety is just energy and energy always moves and changes. Second is that anxiety is your system trying to communicate something to you. Which means that all you need to do is listen to it and know that it will move on and away.
From my experience, I’ve learned that my anxiety is caused by one of 4 things below. At different moments of my life, it has served different purposes, but every time it has been my best guide. It’s ALWAYS telling me the truth about something. I hope this helps you better hear what yours is trying to communicate to you in this moment.
1) You have creative energy
Something inside of you needs to be birthed or released. I have ALWAYS said that anxiety is creative energy looking for a purpose. This doesn’t necessarily mean that if you’re feeling anxious that you need to sit down and write a book or paint like Picasso BUT it would be in your best interest to find a constructive and purposeful channel for this energy to flow through. It’s just about helping it find its flow into something constructive. The more I learn to give this energy a constructive place to go so that it settles, the easier it is for me to work on bigger creative projects or simply be efficient. Often times my best channels are activities like these: sitting down to plan my week in my planner, doing my budget for the week or month ahead, Marie Kondo-ing ANYTHING, doing laundry, cleaning my house. Anything that brings order, structure, planning and organization into my life. If I do that, the anxiety transforms into grounded, inspired energy. Give it a place and a purpose and it will work in your favour!
2) You need to empty the trash!
I remember Wayne Dyer once talking about how excited he was about the trash button on his iPad. He was so excited that anything he didn’t like or need could go straight to the trash with the click of a button. Sometimes anxiety comes in the form of a warning sign that you are on the verge of overflowing. You have done too much, taken on too much and are tending to too many people but yourself and your needs. Your system is screaming for air. In this moment you need to really slow down (no matter how uncomfortable it is) and take the pressure off of yourself and your life. In number 1 above, it will feel more like a low-grade anxiety just hanging out with you but in this example, it could look like an anxiety or panic attack. Heart racing, left arm hurting, difficulty breathing, sense of loosing your marbles and feeling like you are about to get eaten by a grizzly bear. Or the sense that you are having a heart attack. Stop, breathe, cancel some appointments, social events or anything that feels like an overload in your schedule. Order out for dinner a few times. Say NO. Ask for help. Book a massage or a Therapy session or Coaching session. You’re just before boiling point and the anxiety is trying to tell you that it’s TOO MUCH. Listen…
3) Red flags
We are such wise beings and this system that we are in (our body) that is carrying around our amazing little soul really does know what it’s doing. 2019 for me was a year of anxiety showing up as red flags. WARNING! “I wouldn’t go there if I were you.” guidance. Or “I told you so” or “take one more step in that direction and you’ll see what happens!” We have so much wisdom inside of us and a system that is guiding us every step of the way, but if we ignore the red flags, they will get bigger and bigger. Think little red flag on the beach, reminding you that the ocean is not safe. Then a stop sign telling you that if you don’t stop another car might hit you. And finally a magical brick wall that suddenly appears in front of you while you are walking – aka you crash right into it and smash your face and end up bloody-nosed on the floor. Sounds exaggerated but this is how it feels when you don’t listen. By the end of 2019 I felt like a 10 wheeler truck had run over me like 100 times, because I did not listen to the red flags. Instead I had a massive nervous breakdown in June which led me into fetal position for 6 months and having to put my pieces back together like Humpty Dumpty. #Fuckmylife became my favourite hashtag of 2019! Don’t underestimate warning signs or the things that feel wrong in your body. The reason you have a physical body is so you can feel things and get clues.
4) You’re going the wrong way…
Have you ever been driving in a city or country that you don’t know, turned down a street and all of a sudden had another car come face to face with you with no space to go around it? Yes you just drove down a one way street in the wrong direction. In simpler terms, you are out of alignement. We do our best to make the right decisions in life, take the right jobs, find the right partner and that really is all we can do…our best. After we’ve taken action, our job is to pay attention. To listen deeply inside to see if what we chose is the right thing for us. How is it making us feel? Is it leading us to where we want to go? Is it aligned with our values? Is is honouring who we are? My nervous breakdown this year, if I could put a picture on it, looked like Oprah going to a Marilyn Manson concert. I was NOT in the right place at all. I was so out of alignement that my system said to me “Adios amigo, we’re closing for the season” and crashed on me. I knew with every cell in my body that I was out of completely alignement but I didn’t listen. I ignored the red flags and kept driving down the one way street, face on with the other cars and crashed! The car was totalled by the way LMFAO. I laugh about it today and I’m left with so much wisdom and lessons that I can thankfully share with you to hopefully help you avoid this, but during that chapter, it was excruciating. Our gut will tell us when we are not aligned and if we don’t listen it will turn into intense anxious energy that is simply trying to get us to pay attention.
The good news is, from my experience, no anxiety lasts forever. It comes and goes like a wave with its messages for us, trying to tell us what we need, wether that’s to find something constructive to do, to take a load off, to look out for danger or to change directions. Once we listen, it leaves us for a while and will come back when it has something else to tell us. Some of us are highly anxious and sensitive beings, that live with anxiety more than others, which means that we need to take a bit more care of this energy. I like to see it like training a puppy. You need to consistently reinstall good habits. Anxiety, if you treat it like your guide, can help you create a purposeful and creative life!
Wishing you peace, creativity and a life aligned with your desires.