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The Lesser Known Truth About Anxiety

The truth is that all humans experience anxiety. There, I said it! Truth be told, this McLean article said it before I did! If you want to know stuff about anxiety that’s everywhere on the internet today, go to that article, or any other article on Google.

If you want to know what exists beyond the common misconceptions and see a different perspective (non-western), then read on!

The Truth About Anxiety

Anxiety, anxiety everywhere I look! Isn’t it? Here’s the thing though, your anxiety isn’t the real issue here. It is how you feel when you are anxious that causes the major chaos! So then what do you do?
You can either try to “treat” anxiety – which will be you trying to solve the symptom and as you may already know symptom solving doesn’t help. Or you can read this short article to build a deeper understanding and awareness around the root of your anxiety and learn some simple-to-use techniques to change how you relate to anxiety.

Understanding Anxiety

Let’s think about this for a moment. However, to think, you’ll need to let go (as much as possible) of any notions you may be carrying with you about anxiety.

Most people who struggle with anxiety are caught in the impact that anxiety has on them – so they’re caught in the loop of feeling anxious and are unable to see what might be going on underneath.

Stereotypes and Misunderstandings:

1. I’m an anxious person.

No. You’re not an anxious person. You’re a person who’s experiencing anxiety, and who doesn’t have effective skills to deal with it. Period.

2. If I’m anxious, something’s wrong with me.

No. If you’re anxious then there’s something that’s calling out to you for attention. But there’s nothing “wrong” with you.

3. Maybe I have an anxiety “disorder.”

No. Anxiety is never the root. It’s always a symptom. And so, in my opinion, “anxiety disorders” don’t exist. More on this later.

4. I should be able to handle this, I’m weak!

If you could have handled it, you would have handled it. If you “failed” a class you never studied for would your takeaway be you’re weak, or that you need to go and study?

Hopefully, it’ll be the latter. And so, like everything else, it’s a skill to work with anxiety and all other “difficult” emotions!

P.S. This will be a good read to understand the 8 Difficult Emotions!

5. Just take the meds!

Sure, by all means, take them if they’re helping you in this moment. AND, also please don’t delude yourself into believing that medication by itself is the answer to resolving it.

6. Et al!

I can go on quoting such thoughts and statements I’ve heard from people. The idea is for you to start seeing that all these are misconceptions that formed because we never took the time to understand Anxiety.

A Survival Mechanism

A core part of why anxiety is universal and why everyone feels it is that it’s part of the survival mechanism!

What’s that you say? We’re all living beings, yes?

The only purpose of a living being is to continue living. And so when the mind thinks the body might be in danger, it tries to tell you, “Hey! We could be unsafe! Do something about it!”

This message is sent in the form of certain body sensations like heart rate increasing, mind racing, restlessness, etc.

We’ve termed this communication as “anxiety.”

The Evolutionary Perspective

Now, back in the day, it was simple. You’re out in the jungle. You see a lion. The mind says, “Hey! We could be unsafe! Do something about it!”

You run/ hide/ fight. You live or die. Whichever one of these happens, it results in anxiety leaving your body once you’re safe, or well, dead.

Modern-day Implications

Today, there are no lion dangers in the world you and I live in. Since there are no dangers to alert us against, the mind’s like, “How can I be useful to you now?”

And since we didn’t teach our mind how it could help us, it just continued with its internal model of, “Hey! We could be unsafe! Do something about it!”

Except, since there are no lions, it started catching onto anything it perceived to be “unsafe.”

Depth Seekers_Complete Path to Healing, Growing, Evolving in Life
ROOTED IN CHAOS: Find Your Anchor Within You | Heal-Grow-Evolve

A Non-Western View

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali says, “Yoga chitta vritti nirodha.” It means yoga (not the asanas, or the poses) – the whole yoga way of life – stops the fluctuations of the mind.

In this one sentence, Patanjali is telling us two things – there are fluctuations in the mind, and these are the nature of the mind.

He doesn’t say these are “disorders” or “diseases.”

He simply says such is the nature of the mind. To calm these fluctuations that cause us disturbances we need to learn the yogic way of life!

I want to explicitly state – I’m not asking you to adopt the yogic way of life.

All I want to bring your attention to is that there’s a view out there, which has stood the test of time since time immemorial (v/s the western view that’s pretty young in comparison) that states loud and clear that this is a pretty normal thing for the mind to do!

“Treatment”

Oh, my dear friend! No “treatment” is needed for there is no “problem” here. I mean, the problem is not with you feeling anxiety.

As we’ve read above, anxiety is a pretty normal human/ mind thing to feel.

Unfortunately, the “modern” world we live in is a world of convenience.

And in such a world, we don’t try to look for the truth, we try to look for the shortest, fastest, easiest, most convenient thing that we make ourselves believe to be the truth!

That right there’s a hard truth for you!

Reframing Anxiety

Anxiety is a friend. Befriend it! It’s a friend that’s coming in with the message, “Hey! We could be unsafe! Do something about it!”

Your usual reaction to this is, “Oh my God, oh my god, oh my god!”

If you’d instead try, “Oh, I see. You think we could be unsafe? What makes you think so?”

Anxiety might then tell you, “You know, you’ve been procrastinating that work assignment, it could lead to the boss getting pretty upset.”

Or it might tell you, “I don’t think this person’s safe. I don’t think you should be here.”

Once you hear what it’s saying to you, then you can choose what you want to do.

As you make your choice, after listening to it, it’ll leave you be!

A Double-Edged Sword

The problem happens when over some time the body and the mind have been trained to run in loops of discomfort and overwhelm when anxiety knocks at the door.

That’s when the struggle with anxiety begins.

That’s when anxiety “disorders” begin to be diagnosed.

That’s when anxiety, having become chronic, starts to negatively affect your health and well-being.

So then what do you do?

Befriend Anxiety!

If you struggle with Abandonment Fears, the video above shares 8 signs of abandonment issues in relationships.

Mind through the Body

Your mind races, and/ or becomes blank because it’s trying to figure out a way to keep the body safe.

What if you show your mind that your body IS safe?

Many different simple body-based practices allow you to soothe your body, thereby, calming your mind.

The video above shares my top 3 strategies that are very effective despite being super simple!

I also share in the video the 3 key elements to know and practice for these, and any other strategies to work for you.

Make “friends” with your Anxiety

Once the mind can start relaxing, then you can start developing your skills of truly, and deeply understanding what your anxiety usually communicates to you, how it communicates, how you can communicate with it, etc.

This is an important step to reach the root of the symptom, anxiety.

It might take a few, or it might take many, conversations with your anxiety for it to trust you enough to allow you in and let you see where it all originates from.

Stay with the process – believe me, it’s worth it!

Interdependence

While I’m a strong advocate for building skills to become your coach, therapist, and guide within, it’s a journey.

And on this journey, it’s important to ask for support – from family, friends, and those who’ve walked the path before you, and have that deep inner understanding that comes from having done your inner work.

Reach out for support so you learn effective skills, and can practice them so that you eventually hone them and become your coach, therapist, and guide within!

P.S. If you’re ready, Rooted In Chaos is for you if you are not just looking for superficial solutions but are ready to dive deep into your emotional and relational complexities.

Find out more about Rooted In Chaos to see if it’s what you might need right now.

Conclusion

  • Anxiety is natural and universal.
  • There are many misconceptions around anxiety – it is important to break them to resolve anxiety.
  • The issue isn’t with your feeling of anxiety. It is with your lack of skills to manage anxiety.
  • You can easily learn to “befriend” your anxiety.

I hope this was a helpful read! Another article you might find beneficial is Can You Trust Your Emotions?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below – how this article landed with you, and if there are any questions or suggestions you have for me!

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