How to move through anxiety

How many days have you been home? I lost count. How about you?

Yesterday I went for a drive and experienced freedom and joy while out on the road, listening to music. I also felt sad when I saw small businesses closed and restaurants open for takeout only.

The uncertainty of our current situation is challenging. I have found silver linings and have had moments when I’ve completely forgotten about the quarantine. I have also experienced anxiety.

Experiencing anxiety is human – it keeps us safe in times of danger. Anxiety shows up when we’re not in danger too and this is the kind of anxiety I’ve been experiencing.

My anxiety has been showing up in my chest – like a weighted blanket – and at the base of my throat, like I want to say something and can’t think of what to say.

What helps me work through anxiety is acknowledgment, acceptance, breath, and movement.

Acknowledgment

Acknowledging a feeling gives our brains and bodies space to process information. The more we stuff or deny our feelings, the more they build or fester. It helps to say, “I’m experiencing anxiety” out loud.

Acceptance

Accepting feelings creates room for growth. Being embarrassed, shy, or ashamed about feelings keeps us stuck. Having feelings is part of being human. Acceptance doesn’t mean we have to like it, it means we accept our experience.

Breath

When experiencing anxiety, focus on the exhale and the inhale. In an anxiety attack, the breath comes in but doesn’t go out. Meditation helps with breathing. It also helps to consciously remind yourself to breathe when stressed.

Movement

Getting out for a brisk walk helps release anxiety. Any kind of movement that gets the blood and breath flowing will help. The exercise doesn’t need to be extreme – work with what you have available.

This week I had a conference call. I popped in my earbuds, put my phone in my pocket, and walked during the call. I came back feeling refreshed and clear-headed.

This time may not be what we want all the time. We may experience more feelings during this time and that’s okay. We’re presented with a brand new experience every single moment.

We will get through this. The opportunities and possibilities available to our growth are abundant. I invite you to experience one moment at a time with grace.

 

 

 

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