Notes To My Younger Self:

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Some choices you make in your life will result in you feeling anxious. Career choices, relationship choices, word (or lack of word) choices will likely trigger anxiety at different times. Although it may not feel this way while knee deep in the angst, anxiety doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative experience. Similar to most things, though, how you think about your anxiety will dictate how you’re affected by the trigger. At the first hint of angst if you catch your reeling thoughts and approach the event with curiosity—maybe like huh I’m being triggered how interesting or hum I wonder what’s going on here for me—you will have the opportunity to shift an emotional reaction ie. full body jitters, the desire to run, the temptation to shut down or blow up, to a more cognitive approach to processing what has triggered the anxiety. The trick is to stop, take some deep breaths and gather factual information. Your feelings are real and need to be validated. After reassuring yourself, understand that when you go from feeling calm and relaxed to shaking like a rainstick, you are not just reacting to what has happened in this particular moment, but may also be processing feelings from similar situations, ones that look and smell and feel like this moment. Ones you’ve encountered in the past that you haven’t allowed yourself to express, play out, finish. Back to the idea that anxiety isn’t always bad; choose to be open to the possibility that when you feel anxious your body is nudging you to let go of feelings you’ve walled off inside that are not in your best interest. Left unaddressed, feelings that will continue to push their way out anytime you’re triggered going forward. Anxiety, with all its challenges, can be an opportunity to become aware of and release old stuff that’s interfering with your happiness in the present. I’m not saying this process is easy but if you stay after it your anxiety will lessen. As always, it’s up to you; you get to pick how you react to everything you experience.

E.L. Chappel author of Spirit Dance/Storm Makers/Coming very soon: The Surge

“Unfinished feelings never go away. They will keep coming up until they’re dealt with.” ~Dr. Robert Kaufman

aka The Glamorous Wife

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