Saturday, July 21, 2012

What am I going to do?

What are you afraid of? What is causing you to feel anxious and stressed? Many times when I ask clients what is causing them to feel anxious they are unable to identify the source of the feeling. I have heard it described as a rushing feeling of "what am I going to do?" but when asked "about what?" they can't pinpoint anything that is wrong. This is called generalized anxiety.

In my observation, there are a few things that seem to occur along with generalized anxiety. Being very busy seems to accompany it on many occasions. I have found that busy people can lose touch with a few basic needs. I believe that if we stop and examine these few things we can begin to calm the anxiety that seems pervasive in our society.

When focused on everything that "needs to be done", and over-extending ourselves, it is easy for us to forget to breathe. Really? Too busy to breathe? Absolutely! Take a slow, deep breath. Really focus on drawing oxygen deep into your lungs. Feel the gift of the nourishment it brings to your body. When is the last time you really noticed how wonderful it feels to really BREATHE? A few sessions a day of being really present with the breath can make a world of difference in how you feel.

Another thing that I notice is that people who report generalized anxiety don't seem to be able to identify the things they do that nurture their spirit. They lose sight of what brings them joy. Is it taking a bubble bath and lighting a candle? A walk in the woods? A few minutes spent playing with a pet? Pinpointing and actually doing these things can cause anxiety levels to lower naturally.

The last thing that I see in people with generalized anxiety is a burdensome sense of responsibility. I am not suggesting that you abandon your obligations, however when I sit down with clients to distinguish the "musts" from the "shoulds" it is very enlightening. People with generalized anxiety seem to have a sense of having to take care of everyone and everything. I propose that there are things that you have to do and things that you may chose to do. Just because you can do something doesn't mean that it is always in your best interest to do it. Mindfully choosing things to commit to above and beyond your obligations is a way to significantly reduce your overall anxiety level. 

Anxiety does not have to rule your life. Begin examining how you are living to see if there are things you are doing or not doing that are contributing to your uncomfortable feelings. Take back your power by implementing a few simple steps that can increase your quality of life immediately!