Today’s post is an excerpt from my book “Unwinding Anxiety: Free Your Mind, Get Your Life Back.” It is currently available on Amazon Kindle as an e-book. I’ll be sharing chapters from all my books here so be sure to sign up HERE for fresh updates and the 5 Day Mindfulness Challenge so you don’t miss a post!
Click this link to pick up a copy of the book: Unwinding Anxiety
Chapter 1 Excerpt:
Free Yourself from Anxiety
Tranquility. Peace. Ease. Calm. Are these just ideas or is it possible to break free from anxiety? Is it possible to dissolve anxiety and overwhelm in our lives as it arises, or for it to decrease? Yes. It takes effort and curiosity as well as willingness to explore the edges and crevices of your life. I wish I could tell you “do this one thing one time a day and it will be gone forever from your life.” I can’t.
Instead, what I offer is that the mind and body can work together through various mindfulness practices and questions to give you immense relief and drastically reduce the frequency and intensity of anxiety in your life.
It’s like anything else in life. With curiosity, you peel back layers and layers to get to the core. When you’re in the midst of an anxiety attack, or even chronic overwhelm, all you want is for it to stop. The troubling and often excruciating feeling that goes with anxiety begs for relief. Within this book, I’ll share with you the practices, techniques, methods, and exercises I used to get control over chronic anxiety that was beating me up daily. The process is simple on the surface, but it requires dedication to exploring your mind and a willingness to stay with the discomfort, even if only for moments at a time. Those moments begin to add up, and just by staying with an open mind and open heart towards the anxiety, you will begin to understand and see through it.
This process starts with three things: curiosity, willingness, and a journal. Getting to know what is happening in your mind and body when it is anxious, whether the condition is fleeting or every day, is the kindest thing you will do for yourself. Become familiar with its edges and temperature.
There are many ways I share and more that you might come up with as you start working with the experience of anxiety. Try them out, work with them, and most importantly, write about them in order to explore.
A few years ago, I started having chronic, out-of-control anxiety. I didn’t know how to rid myself of it. I’d meditated for about five years. This wasn’t supposed to be happening to me. And yet, there it was: dread, panic, and terror nearly every day and every night.
Then I decided to use my meditation practice along with contemplations, journaling and diet to understand this thing that had taken over my life. For many months, I sat with it and watched it, even as it tore out my lungs and heart, sent my gut into a nauseous, hot whirl, and felt unbearable.
Where does it start?
Is it a physical buildup of hormones or adrenaline in your body?
Is it a story you’ve spun wildly and now feel stuck in?
There is work we can do to trace back to the beginning or the trigger of the anxiety. But even before you know the causes, you can begin to find relief. Each effort offers a glimpse and release, like slowly letting the steam off a pressure cooker.
There are many ways to bring anxiety to a more manageable level: therapy, medication, herbal remedies. Diet and exercise, massage, and stress relief techniques will also help. You have to find the way or ways that work for you.
Throughout these pages, I’ll share what I’ve learned, and help you explore mindfulness as an avenue to relief from anxiety. The key to all the exercises and practices is to observe the experience, notice in your mind, reflect about it.
So, let’s begin.
Thank you for reading. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to leave one in the comments area.
Peace to you,