Let’s talk about anxiety. I am well versed in this topic with several years of personal experience. It can be up and down, comes and goes, really depending on what is going on in life and how I am coping with things. One of the things I make a strong effort in, is not to label myself as, “I have anxiety”. I am more on board with saying “I experience moments of the feeling of anxiety”. Let me explain why.
Our perception on things and how we label ourselves will literally shape our world. The stronger you attach to something, the more frequent you will notice it. Anything you say after the words “I am..” become your identity, like your coding as to who you show up as.
Not attaching strong labels to how you are feeling is not the same as ignoring how you are feeling. As humans we will regularly experience an array of emotions, ups and downs, pleasant and unpleasant. One of the keys to helping yourself with these emotions is acceptance. Accepting what is in the moment.
I really love the metaphor of treating your emotions like guests in your house. They are not permanent, they come and go. Welcome them in, have a conversation with them, allow them to just be and you may find they will not have as strong hold on you without you resisting them so much.
When you label yourself as an anxious person, you then go about your life trying to avoid things that are going to set off your anxiety, creating a stronger awareness of the exact feeling you are trying to avoid. When you accept it and allow it as it is, you can find a way to be at peace with the way you are feeling because you know this moment too shall pass. Just like all the other emotions you experience daily.
What does it look like to sit with an emotion? Create silence, breath, have some time to yourself where you can give yourself some space to feel into whatever is going on inside of you. Sometimes this may take a while. I can try this 3 or 4 times over a couple weeks before whatever is churning inside actually comes to the surface to be fully felt.
As with all thing’s mental health, when things feel like too much and that you cannot cope, it is time for you to reach out to a professional. Even before you get to that breaking point, it can be time to reach out for support. I am a massive believer in seeing a psychologist, I will talk about it the same way I will talk about going to see a doctor. A standard practise in life for when your mental health needs a check-in. There is no shame in it, humans are wired for connection and when you are going through a hard time that connection is needed the most.
What emotions do you resist the most? How can you start to allow them into your space as if they were a guest in your house? What can you start doing this week to be more accepting of the array of emotions you experience?