Do you ever have too many things going on in too many different directions, where you feel out of control?
Ugh. Me too.
I recently got through a fit of anxiety and in the middle of it, I wished I could transport back in time to Saturday, when there wasn't a care in the world: I was with my husband, in a beautiful landscape two hours out of Los Angeles, watching our best friend compete in a riding competition with her stunner horse love-bug, Roxy (both Roxy & my friend did GREAT by the way).
That anxiety I mentioned? Well, in case you're new to my posts, our feelings always come from our thinking, and I was in a thought storm of things I needed to accomplish: Two important phone calls needed to be made, a workshop inquiry needed to be tended to, I was needing to write this blog post (which brings on alllll the thoughts about which experience or insight I should share with you all that would make the most sense or the biggest impact on your life); I had thoughts about my friends, my family, and the fact that I needed to schedule the following day (which brings on alll the thoughts about what needs to be done: exercise, pay that bill, pay for that class, post to social media, email that client, outline that workshop, call that friend, GO to said class you have to pre-pay for... oh shit! you haven't listened to that audio you were supposed to listen to FOR that class... ugh, be sure to fit that in too!) and so on...
And then I remembered...
"You're in your thoughts, Jessie. You feel nauseated, anxious, and out of control because you're in your thoughts. Look around, what's happening? Oh, it's a lovely afternoon with your husband, listening to music while he drives us to Target. Jesus. Come back to the moment, Jessie. Aaah, hello again." And then the anxiety dissipated, like magic. Out of all fairness, because I am constantly holding a candle to my life experience so I can put my work to the test and share with you all the results, I was able to see my thinking for what it was VERY quickly. That muscle is quite strong, and I expect it will get stronger every day for the rest of my life. But guess what? So can yours (yup, you heard me right... I am NOT special, to say the least, we're alike in every way).
If you suffer from overthinking which leads to anxiety or panic, hear me out on this (and if you're one of the lucky few that never feels an iota of anxiety, please send me the results to your latest blood test, I don't think you're human). Knowing that our feelings come from our thinking, I had this insight while my anxiety veil was being lifted. Name your anxiety. Literally give your anxiety or panic attacks a name - not the name of someone you hate in life or someone that has treated you badly, but a generic name that brings a smile to your face. Like Bruce or Liam - Ashley or Veronica (I have no emotional attachment to said names, so forgive me if I've listed off someone that's important to you!). It dawned on me that when my thinking is going around in circles so badly that I get anxious, it's not just because of the thoughts I'm thinking, but the thoughts ABOUT the thoughts. I can allow the list of things I have to do tomorrow to show up in my head and move through me, no problem. But it's when I start getting concerned ABOUT that list of things, therefore having thoughts ABOUT my thoughts, that the anxiety begins. SO if I'm beginning to feel the side effects of anxiety before I'm actually aware of the thoughts in my head, I can next time go "Oh hey Bruce, haven't seen you in a while, I don't feel like dealing with you today, thanks!" and I can go on about my day even quicker than going into the thought storm!
Ok so I have something to admit, after I had the insight, I realized I had heard of this technique back while I was in college for Psychology. But it was never as clear to me as it was when it came through my wisdom today. I want you to be able to recognize thoughts for what they are - that they're an energy of your own creation, a story of your own telling - that you can choose to believe, or not. But on your journey to gaining this understanding on a deep level, if it takes you calling out your feelings of anxiety by name so you can recognize it for what it is, as opposed to analyzing each and every thought going through your head (making the anxiety even worse!), then I say do it. For me, all I have to do now is say "Ugh, I'm having anxious thoughts," I check in with the reality of what's going on around me, and it passes. You will get there too. In the end, all it is is choosing to stop believing what's going on in your head as truth. But dammit, life can be hard. I understand. So let's grab a tool box and fill it up together.
Have a wonderful week and I'll see you on the next go-around ~