Being mindful of our anxiety, means paying attention to it, noticing it, without letting it take over. You can be aware of how it makes you feel, but you don’t have to listen to, or believe that anxious voice within.
My anxiety tells me I am lazy, useless and no good, that I am going to fail, that I am going to upset others, I am going to make things worse. It tells me I’m not going to be able to cope, it convinces me I am going to feel overwhelmed, that I will have to stop what I’m doing and look a failure in front of others. It says people won’t like me, they will judge me and leave me feeling hurt and afraid. It tells me I have to hide my true feelings, because if I tell anyone they will hate me.
Anxiety tells me not to try things, it says why bother? It’s not going to work out anyway. It reminds me of all the times I have failed in the past and all the times I have looked stupid in front of others. It reminds me of panic attacks and times I couldn’t cope, the times I was overwhelmed.
Anxiety is very convincing, it comes with a wave of thoughts, emotions and very strong physical sessions – stomach cramps, heart palpitations, nausea, fatigue and more. It stops me sleeping and prevents me from thinking clearly. Anxiety keeps me feeling fearful and afraid, it tells me not to do all of these things, but at the same times says I should do more, I am not doing enough, I am not enough! It even does all this before I have even done anything. It really tries to make me feel ashamed of my feelings.
But what if we are open and share and talk about all of this?
What if we don’t have to listen to what it’s trying to tell us?
What if we just notice it’s there, wait for the strong waves to pass and decide to thank it for trying to keep us safe and continue our journey anyway?
The more we treat ourselves with kindness, the more we settle into where we are now, the more times we notice the stillness, the more we are able to stay calm.
Jon Kabat Zinn says in his book ‘Full Catastrophe Living’:
“When you next find yourself in a period of suffering, try listening for a calm inner voice that might be saying, “Isn’t this interesting? Isn’t it amazing what a human being can go through? “Isn’t it amazing how much pain and anguish I can feel or create for myself or get bogged down in?” In listening for a calmer and clearer voice within your own heart, within your own pain, you will be reminding yourself to observe the unfolding of your emotions with wise attention, with a degree of non-attachment.”
It is important that we bring a sense of kindness and compassion to our experiences, be with them without judgement or criticism. By taking a moment to listen to ourselves with gentleness, we can start the healing process and begin to feel more at ease.
Instead of listening to that negative self talk, why not spend a moment and listen for the quiet voice within, as the waves of anxiety settle, you can start to notice the moments that are soft and peaceful and with practice we can learn to feel soothed and relaxed.
For some simple guidance on looking after yourself through mindfulness, have a listen to my ‘3 Simple Steps to Wellbeing’ talks: