I have been extremely fortunate that I have had some great teachers in both undergraduate and graduate school. One of my favorite teachers who was a dynamic female psychologist who made the statement that "she was an anxious person, but she wasn't nuts". I clearly knew what she meant by being anxious, but not exactly sure what she meant by being "nuts", I could relate to her experience, That was me, yes I was excited to hear her make the statement, I can relate to experiencing varying degrees of anxiety throughout my life, and the truth is that it is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it is just that we are in touch with ourselves. I always assumed that she meant being "out of touch with reality".when she talked about not being nuts. There are all types of disorders and most people fall in the group of having one of those disorders. Most of us are just plain "neurotic", and we know who we are. As I mentioned before many of us don't believe we have any issues, and that is likely to be a bit more serious. Today, however, I want to talk about anxiety. We experience levels of anxiety. The best way to deal with anxiety is to accept it and not criticize ourselves for having the experience. In addition we can choose go into it and explore it, however, sometimes the anxiety is too much and too intense, we may be traumatized and frozen. When the anxiety is too intensified it is not likely that we can explore it at that moment. There are some techniques that we can use to lessen the intensity a bit, and from that place we can begin to look at what the anxiety is about, if it is covering up some other emotion.. Sometimes the anxiety is there for a good reason and it is our system telling us there is danger and we need to listen to it. Sometimes it is a mask for deeper feelings such as hurt, sadness, and anger, or some other feeling we don't want to have or acknowledge. As we try to be present with the anxiety we can discover the deeper feelings. I heard Sara Brach talk about a concept called, "The Window of Tolerance". If we can get the anxiety to subside enough we can enter this place, this window from which we can start to be more present with the anxiety, and explore the emotions that lie under this mask. At that point slowing our breath, and maybe asking ourselves what we are feeling in addition to the anxiety might be helpful. I will talk more about this in the next few posts.
The Challenge of Dealing with Anxiety
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