I am noticing that when I feel anxiety it is because I have stepped out of the present now. It can be something as simple as wanting to take a shower and worried that the delivery man will come while I am bathing. That snippet of worry creates an anxious feeling in my chest that is uncomfortable and unsettling. It only takes a small future worry for me to slip from my peaceful state of being.
If a small future worry like missing a delivery triggers a feeling of anxiety, imagine what big worries trigger. For many of us a constant state of anxiousness has become the normal. We call it various names like overwhelm, stress, nervousness, restlessness, or tension. It doesn’t matter what label we give it the feeling of anxiety is hard to ignore.
Many of us try to justify our anxiety. We have excuses for why we hang on to that feeling-work pressure, kid worry, marital stress, time conciseness (or lack of time usually). But, if we are honest with ourselves anxiety doesn’t really help us. I find that anxiety clouds my judgement and makes decisions even harder to make.
So, what can we do about anxiety?
- Breathe. When I am anxious I forget to breathe. So, the first step is to inhale and allow my body to relax into the rhythm of a big deep breath.
- Awareness. I become very aware of my now. I find that I have to become very present. Sometimes I do this by looking around my space or feeling something tactile like the chair I am sitting in. I orient myself to the here and now.
- Remember. This may feel like a big leap, but it is truly just the next step. I have to remember that my life is unfolding right here in this moment. Not in some future scenario that I have created in my mind, but right here.
Step 3 is the most important step because we believe that our life is happening out there before us. We believe we have to work, effort, and control what the future brings to us or push against what we don’t want it to bring to us. This is a false belief. It is one we are ready to let go as a human species.
Our experience is being written by us as we take the next step forward. With each step the next step is revealed and step by step a path is unfolding for us. We do not even need to worry about what the next step is because it appears as we bridge the space from the last step.
This can become a way of life. It can become a way of being. Until it feels natural it might be helpful to call on your courage to trust. You don’t need to trust that the next step will appear for you that is a given. Your courage is required to hinge the space between the known and the unknown. The courage to lay down your crutches of fear, anxiety and worry. You no longer need them.
It is time to step out my friend. Step out.