Is anxiety getting the better of you in these uncertain times?
Times of transition and uncertainty! They're no one's favorite. But they're especially hard for those of us with high sensitivity. Anxiety and depression brain responses are easily set off and it can be easy to have our lives spiral into one big, dramatic, high-speed or do-nothing reaction.
In the last few weeks I've been stepping into many new possibilities (re-starting my memoir after a year plus off, enrolling my women's experience that starts October 5, beginning a new opportunity at Simon Fraser U and a new school year at WWU, and allowing myself to grow my relationship with our new land in the San Juans).
So many amazing openings…..it's almost unimaginable that these are all unfolding right now.
And yet these all come with uncertainty and so much I can't figure out or know ahead of time. And they all represent experimental steps towards greater joy & fulfillment.
Which means I'm experiencing a lot of anxiety & depression brain.
WHAT?! You might not expect this to be the case, but it is…
AND THIS IS NORMAL…AT THE SAME TIME AS THERE'S A WAY THROUGH.
Times like these --where we're letting go of the old and stepping into something new--are filled with uncertainty. And they're why we practice! So we can surf the waves in big storms and heavy surf, not just in times of ease.
Here are a couple of my favorite new ways to support myself through bouts of anxiety & depression brain response as I create a new story that hasn't taken form yet, and let go of the old story that's been driving my life:
- Anxiety is extra energy. It's a simple idea but one I've been appreciating. While there are times I need to understand the messaging behind my brain's anxiety response, digging into anxiety can also intensify it depending on the moment. So, thinking of it as extra energy makes me ask myself a simple question: Well, how can I use this energy? My favorite ways of moving and using this energy are simple--exercise, connecting with friends, singing and dancing to music, and taking action even when I'm facing resistance, which gives the energy a creative outlet and something to do with itself.
- Learn to see anxiety so you don't get dragged down by it. If we can see anxiety then we can use it instead of be abused by it. We can do some hard scrubbing rather than follow the have-to-figure-it-out-and-know-NOW thought train. We can stick with our creative projects rather than being swept up in the there's-a-problem-i-have-to-address-now stress response, which usually just creates drama or spins us out emotionally. And we can acknowledge the anxiety as if it were a little, scared child and give it some compassion instead of resisting it or hating on ourselves for feeling it, which only makes things worse. Yea! This is really scary. And you just really wish you knew what was going to happen or that you were going to be ok. If we can see anxiety in all its forms, we can allow ourselves to feel it without becoming it. And we can continue feeling it while we do other things that help us use it so we have choice about how stress influences our day.
- Give your brain extra structure and yourself extra grace if you want to veer from it. A part of me loves structure. And a part of me rebels against it. So, part of me REALLY wants to be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want with NO boundaries around it. If I feel like doing it, I'll do it. If I don't, I won't. But in times of uncertainty, this isn't always the best way to support myself in feeling good. And it's also not a great way forward if I want to do something new and challenging and creative and vulnerable in my life because I'll always be staring down a stress response to doing it.So, I've been practicing creating structure for myself one day at a time--creating a schedule with and hour by hour layout of what I'd like to do the following day. This gives my brain something to hang onto when it gets overwhelmed by staring down empty space and the unknown. And, as long as I allow myself to flex with my schedule rather than getting down on myself if I need to course correct or adapt during the day, this helps to keep anxiety from spiraling.
Living into lives we love means we have to become masters of working with our anxious & depressive brain responses. AND times of uncertainty. Otherwise, we'll never choose to step into what we love because of the freight train fear response we encounter.
If you'd like to free yourself up to move towards what you love, feel confident moving towards it, and be encouraged and supported by a community of women on a similar journey, please reach out for a free discovery call to learn more about my 10 week learning journey for women ready to live wildly beautiful lives that fulfill all of you, deeply. Starts Tuesday October 5, 2021 at 5:30 PST (online). Space is limited.