Anxiety, the vicious beast and how I tame it.

The familiar heaviness of anxiety slithers down my spine and into my heart.

"What am I to do now? I do not want to be a bundle of nerves for the rest of the day. It's too early for me to get out of bed, but I know this anxiety will keep my mind churning and speculating if I don't do something about it," I think to myself. 

So I gave it away. I remembered a Taoist saying I read in my World Religions course book back when I was at JMU. 

Let anxiety be dispelled and harmony between the mind and its cosmic source will come unsought.
— unknown

Typically, when I'm feeling anxious the root cause is fear. In the past, I would let this fear build up so much I would run around with a toxic attitude, which would cloud my day. More importantly it seeps out and pollutes the world around me and then bounces back to me. It's a vicious cycle. It affects the people around me and the way they treat me. 

We are connected

I believe there is something that connects us because we are alive and we are human. We are wired to cooperate, show compassion, and feel empathy. I think for most of us, at our core, we are good. Sometimes we just get ensnared in our minds and forget to tap into this connection, this cosmic source. We forget that we're connected and that our actions and attitudes impact those around us and reverberate back to us.

For me, I'm learning that this connection is the basis of my life, why I'm alive, the electricity that powers my mind and body. The energy I project with my thoughts. Most importantly, it's the connection I have with the earth and with you and every other living being on this planet. It's the sunrise and the birds chirping. It's my mother who's passed on into that abyss of nothing and everything. 

I practice Small Acts like volunteering at the homeless shelter, giving a homeless guy a few bucks outside the CVS, choosing Organic food, shopping at small local stores for Christmas gifts, and anything else I can think of at any particular time during the day. I do these things because it helps me tap into that connection, and feel good about the things I'm doing rather than feeling apathetic or even guilty. I know I'm perpetuating good, so good is going to come back to me. Almost instantly I get that good back because I know what I'm doing, even though it might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of the things, is helping promote a positive shift in our world and that, itself, curbs my anxiety, my fear. 


Tools for Alleviation

My fear, and subsequently anxiety, stems from thinking I will lose that connection, but it's always there, and it can never be lost. Sometimes it just takes a little more effort to "realign" with it. I might always have these onsets of anxiety because that's the way my brain is wired, but I found some tools to help me ease it or cease it altogether by tapping into this connection. 

  1. Giving it away to my cosmic source - call it whatever you want - If I truly can't change what's causing it, I do my best to let it go and ask the universe to work it out for me.
  2. Meditation on elsewhere - focus my thoughts and energy on something other than what's causing the anxiety.
  3. Exercise - Specifically for me, yoga. Even when I'm down or anxious, I go through the motions because exercise releases endorphins, which make me feel good. 
  4. Time - remind myself that in a week I probably won't even remember that I was anxious over this.
  5. Friends - if I absolutely need to, I have learned to talk with someone about why I'm anxious and often times that immediately relieves it.
  6. Small Acts - finding a way to contribute positively to our world makes me realize the reason I'm anxious isn't really as important as my mind is making it out to be.
Emancipate yourself from mental slavery,
None but ourselves can free our mind.
— Bob Marley

Sometimes my cause of anxiety is just silly. I woke up earlier this week with anxiety about whether or not I should get out of bed and go ahead and just start working or continue to sleep. I gave it up then too, and asked for some kind of sign or message. I saw the sunrise peaking through the curtains, and I knew getting up to enjoy that miracle was the choice to make. The Small Act of appreciating this beauty made my day.

Sunrise in C'Ville