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Why Worry? - Part 1
Posted: 10/10/2011 | Personal Development Comments
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It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.  ~K.T. Jong

In these tumultuous times, most would agree it’s easy to worry. With so many difficulties around us, why wouldn’t we feel anxious? There are natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes on the rise. Then there is the financial crisis, stocks plunging, outsourcing of jobs, company cut-backs, banks dissolving, and 401K’s disappearing. Then we face personal difficulties like aging, addictions, physical challenges, raising teens, caring for elderly parents, etc. How can we feel calm? 
In everyday life, everyone feels anxious at times. It’s easy for us to worry when tense situations arise, or when we’re uncertain how to resolve a problem. Whether it’s a deadline at work or an important presentation–some nervousness can also be excitement that keeps us alert and helps us prepare more efficiently. But when we are overwhelmed with worry, or our worry seems greater than the situation warrants, it’s time to pay closer attention.
Although anxiety is uncomfortable and difficult for everyone (when we aren’t overwhelmed by it) we can grow from the content of what is scaring us. With the ability to work with, understand and release low levels of anxiety we can live largely with an even keel.
What is anxiety, exactly? It’s a reaction to what we perceive as a difficulty or a stressful situation. It’s degrees of fear. Anxiety is our alarm system, triggered when the mind and body perceive a threat. Our bodies may react with a faster heart rate, shallower breathing, sweaty palms and upset stomach. The physical symptoms vary in intensity and from person to person. It’s all part of the flight-or-fight response as our adrenals release hormones preparing us to respond to danger and get out of harm’s way. This is an important function to have when a tiger is chasing you, but not so appropriate when your boss is simply preoccupied today and you feel scared this means something bad. 
Some people feel perpetually anxious and unable to relax, and could be experiencing an anxiety disorder. The DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) identifies 12 different types. In part 2 of this blog, I’ll discuss the three most common anxiety disorders and how to recognize when we need greater support. 
While anxiety can be at best uncomfortable and at worst debilitating, it can quite possibly provide an empowering lesson, too. All of our difficulties can give us great insight, understanding and compassion toward ourselves and others. When we face our challenges and heal them, we’re led in new and exciting directions. Anxiety can be our teacher. With our attention, it is an opportunity to look within and transform ourselves.
Mild anxiety can be the catalyst to help us see that something in ourselves or our circumstances needs to change. When we practice observing our anxiety, we start to recognize what is asking for our attention. We can view our anxiety as a helpful red flag, aiding our process of self-discovery and awareness.
Anxiety can also lead us to powerful practices that benefit us for life. Meditation is an excellent and proven method of reducing anxiety, as well as a way to help us develop and deepen our internal connection. We learn to calm and soothe ourselves while expanding our awareness and supporting our growth.
We tend to resist our fear and try to avoid it or make it go away. When we allow our anxiety to inform us, we can see we are so much more than our feelings. We can learn to relax and trust. We drop anchor in that place deep within us where we can experience real peace. Anxiety just might be the key to a new and joyful way of life!
Have you experienced a lot of anxiety in your life? What have you learned from it? Your comments make a difference for all of us!
(image: Matty Christo)


Joel       Posted: 10/17/2011 2:15:31 PM

Hi Jennifer!

I agree with what you have to say about anxiety. I think people who experience frequent anxious thoughts sometimes feel isolated, like they are unusual, or that something is wrong with them. It has been part of my life''s work to let people know that hearing "alarms" from you body is normal, it''s how you decide to interpret those alarms that''s important. Do you dwell on warning messages? If you do you''re making a big mistake!

I''m certain that many people who took the time to read this blog were hoping to hear what you recommend one do to stop feeling anxiety. While meditation is one tool I suggest, there are many more. Maybe you will discuss other tools to regain peace and joy in part 2? I wrote a book called The Complete Anxiety and Panic Attack Cure that has helped many people, and I would be glad to share more ideas with you or your readers.

best regards,

heathero       Posted: 10/13/2011 8:27:03 PM

I''m not a big ''fan'' of anxiety, but when I do experience it I try to recognize it as a clue to "move!" ie. do something different, change something, etc...

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