How I learned to use anxiety as a tool to get back on track
Feeling anxious in a situation is our first indication that something is not right. There was a time in my life where I was anxious and in limbo almost everyday. I was in this phase for at least four years and I remember feeling helpless that my health was not good, I felt exhausted and fatigued, I was in a job I did not enjoy and I felt totally disconnected from my family and friends because I could not fit into their conversations. I had no idea where I was going. I was feeling meaningless and there was not one day that passed without the thought “What am I here for”. Even though there were no real disasters, every day felt like it was pregnant with disasters.
I sorted out for help to understand what was happening. Over a period of four years I went in all directions picking clues and looking for guidance that could get me to a solution. I read a gazillion articles related to the topic. My doctors surgically removed fibroids that were causing me havoc due to hormonal fluctuations. My physical trainer taught me daily exercise routines that help with focus, attitude & mindset along with mental preparedness. My counselor gave me practical tips on meditation, mindfulness, self-love, going out in nature and taking small actions everyday. My naturopath gave me a good picture of my hormone, DNA and gut profile and gave me herbs and healthy eating tips to keep my hormones and anxiety in check. My chiropractor helped me with chronic pain and anxiety relief through breath and touchpoints. My energy healer and spiritual guide helped me clear my energy pathways, clear negativity and create new neural pathways. My coach helped as a sounding board and gave me the right messages I needed to hear at the time to stay in control and helped me see things differently.
Every individual I went to was an expert in their field. They opened my world to some great, significant knowledge which I am very thankful for today. In many ways, I started getting better with these tools and knowledge I had. However, the thing is, the anxiety did not stop from happening. It continued in its full glory — kicking and screaming.
Thankfully, I had read about so many highly regarded personalities with anxiety — Adele, Mel Robbins, Marina Abramovic, Stephen Colbert, Oprah Winfrey — and how they found their own ways to deal with it (through medication, meditation, prayers, physical movement, energy work and many others). But no one ever said how to stop it from happening. Anxiety happened to the ones who had great health, relationships, career success, money and wonderful, happy children. In many of their cases, anxiety was the progeny of a trauma or bad experience from the past. In many other cases, it just appeared as a crisis in the form of feeling inadequate, dreadful or nervous (the “I can’t do this” feeling) and meaninglessness (like a mid-life crisis).
I started piecing all this information and looking at giving anxiety a meaning rather than something to fix, cover-up, deny or resist.
It is commonsense that if something is repeating, it is trying to tell me something. So I decided to keep all the knowledge and what the experts said aside for a moment, and just look at anxiety as a 5 year old child who is ‘kicking, screaming & crying’ and ask in the most loving way “What do you want?”
The moment I asked that, I remember very clearly, something rearranged somewhere in my….. brain or pyshe. I do not know. I suddenly felt like there was some new space created. I felt space in my head and in my heart and my body went into relaxation. I remember it felt like as if someone living inside me stepped out and suddenly there was enough space in my body for me to live in.
It was as if something was out of alignment and now it found it’s way back. Everything related to my job (which really was not news to me) and this time, it showed me with clarity that I was going to be safe without a job. In the next few days, I created a viable financial budget and quit my job. When everyone was hanging onto their jobs during the pandemic, I quit mine. The big question “What am I here for” was back but this time, I was not asking out of desperation but rather out of more love for myself.
After I tweaked my thinking and started asking anxiety (each time) “What do you want from me?”, it started guiding me into simple things that puts me in the flow. Being in the flow was something I had lost touch with for many, many years. After few months of being in this state, on the hindsight, I understand now that anxiety was always asking for me to either “adapt” to something existing that I like or to “create” a new change which you I would eventually like to adapt to. In short, it looks like :
Anxiety is a mechanism that indicates that you are out of alignment with something in your life that you should learn to adapt to or change from “lovingly”.
“LOVING” is the keyword.
We all are intelligent beings and most of us have (strangely) learnt how to adapt to our environment even when it is toxic. The thing is adapting to an environment where we are constantly fighting with ourselves is never going to help. That is where anxiety kicks in and asks for a change. Slow down when it gets heavy and create an environment where you can nourish, relax, rejuvenate and get back to being in the flow before you decide on what next.
The more you adapt and change in a manner that shows more love for yourself, the more you are on your aligned path. It is huge how the world opens up when you are on your aligned path. It is like following breadcrumbs. One leads to the next and to the next. Now a days, when anxiety kicks in, I try as much as possible to keep it low key and slowly settle into the nasty feeling instead of fighting it as I know it is a little wise child trying to tell me that I am out of alignment and I have to just think of what I should I do to stop the resistance and move around it (which is a whole another topic) in the most loving and gentle manner.
Anxiety is not asking you to take the things and fight it out all the time. Anxiety is asking you to stop the things for which you have to constantly fight for and find a way to get into alignment with who you are & what feels right to you at the time and continue taking that path. I truly believe anxiety has everything to do with bringing you back on track.
Hence why, anxiety does not happen to you, instead it appears for you.