All people experience some degree of anxiety. Like all mental illness, anxiety rests in a continuum from functional to dysfunctional. When the experience of anxiety begins to consume your mind and experience of life, your anxiety is severe and it’s time to seek professional help to serve you as you heal into life. If you are still able to manage your anxiety and are looking for some tools to support you, here are six tips that will help you feel empowered in life.
- Know why you feel unsafe in the world–Anxiety is chronic fear, and as you heal this deep fear it’s important to get clear on the events of the present and past that cause you to feel unsafe in the world. A sense of safety comes from being loved, cared for, and protected. Basic safety needs, like fear around poverty and housing, can cause you to feel unsafe. If you have a loved one who’s ill, the potential loss can cause you to feel vulnerable and unsafe. Similarly, if you have a history of trauma, poverty, or loss of a loved one you can feel unsafe in life. All of these experiences can cause your unconscious mind to vigilantly look for threats to your safety. The more aware you are of the event, the more empowered you are to be present and centered.
- Be curious about any relationships in your life that cause you duress—As social beings, our relationships are important to our sense of safety. If you’re in a relationship where your partner diminishes your point of view, is emotionally closed off, or puts you down in any way, this can cause you to feel unsafe in life. In relationships, people are often looking for a sense of stability. No matter if you are single, married, or dating, find your own stability within. Safety springs from here.
- Get clear on how you look for safety—When you know how you look for safety, you can notice the behaviors that keep you looking outside yourself for your security. Cleaning and organizing are a really common behaviors in trying to create a sense of safety. Control behaviors, stone walling (keeping people out of your heart), giving over your will, spending money, holding on tight to money, and so on. What do you do to keep yourself feeling safe in this unpredictable world?
- Experience your direct safety needs being met—Anxiety is really about a perceived threat to your safety. If you really allow yourself to be present with your current circumstances, you can see that in this moment you are safe. With this in mind, sense into this experience by noticing that you’re surrounded by four walls, that the temperature is comfortable, that you have clean water to drink, that you stomach is satiated, and so on. Come back to what’s real.
- Attune to the goodness–Neurons that fire together, wire together. This means that the more you stay focused on your fear and believe it to be real, the more you strengthen your neural network for anxiety. Shift your focus and attune to the goodness in your life. If you have a pet, snuggle him/her and stay present with the positive flow of energy you get from that connection. Any time you do something pleasurable, focus on it for several seconds to strengthen your neural connections for enjoyment.
- Connect with your own divinity—When we identify with the fear of our mind, we are not trusting the process of life. And when we don’t trust that everything is exactly as it should be, we feel separate from Divine flow. Don’t go small by listening to your fear. Stay BIG by staying connected to your spiritual self.