I wrote previously about a great creative exercise to help transform the meaning and shape of anxiety, from a place of overwhelm where it feels like our entire being, to a place of clarity, where anxiety has reason, shape, and purpose.
This article takes it a step further to explore our relationship with anxiety, just as we would any other person in our life, with hope that by re-framing and re-defining anxiety, more options will open for a life with more peace.
The type of anxiety I am referring to in this series of articles is anxiety that has been present throughout most of your lifespan, in varying degrees. And, if anxiety has been with you all throughout your life, perhaps it is time to really gain an understanding of it.
One way we could begin learning about our relationship with anxiety is to determine the quality of it, which focuses on a deeper understanding, or meaning, of your relationship with it, rather then simply calling it ‘anxiety’
Lets take a moment to step back from our anxiety and take a look. What can be seen, or felt? Give your imagination permission to create an image, and then think of your relationship with anxiety as if you were thinking or your relationship with someone currently in your life. Is it frightening? Or is it like an old friend: a comfort because it’s something predictable that has always been there ? Does it keep you safe? Is it always with you, quietly lurking in the shadows, ready to make an appearance, or does it pop out of nowhere? When your anxiety comes to you does it rush up to you, or sneak up slowly? Is your anxiety happy, sad, angry or apathetic? Does it hang around for awhile or does it stay only for a short visit? Does it bring anything with it like thoughts, or ideas? What does it focus on? Do you think it’s trying to get you to pay attention to something?
Take an examination of your relationship with your companion anxiety. Gaining insight about the quality of our anxiety can assist us on the path of recreating our relationship with it. By becoming an active observer of your anxiety you can begin to transform your relationship into one that truly works for you. Rather than be reactive to it and allow it to control your life, you can learn to predict it, manage it, and work with it.