Anxiety is an emotion people feel when something they care about is in a state of uncertainty. People often associate feelings of anxiousness as a detractor to their lives when anxiety can be a powerful emotion that invites us to ask more profound questions of ourselves. Avoiding anxiety or wishing the feeling of anxiousness away creates tension in the mind and deepens the emotional cycle.
Like all other emotions a human experiences that also share an apparent physical manifestation, the idea of becoming anxious makes people anxious. Humans are motivated away from anxiety since it aligns more closely with pain avoidance motivation.
Begin to learn to work with anxiety.
- Notice a feeling of anxiety.
- Are you breathing? Focus on relaxing enough to get breath; it will help give the mind space as you work through the event.
- What do you care about at this moment? Be honest with yourself. Is it our sense of well-being becoming compromised in some way?
- What is happening now that confirms this value is at risk?
- Is there personal work that we can identify to reduce our emotional response in the future?
My “sense of belonging” was an idea I had worked to notice as my anxiety trigger. It took me several months of practicing this routine before I dared to admit that to myself. Once I felt free, to be honest with myself, I was then able to begin to do the work of noticing what events in the world would connect with a feeling that my sense of belonging was in jeopardy, which led to my sense of entitlement which helped me unravel some more profound trauma.