Some Lessons from Anxiety

Anxiety or feeling overly nervous is a reality for many people. For some it is worse than for others. I have struggled with anxiety for most of my life. My first remembrance of being so nervous that I wanted to throw up and run was when I was in the fourth grade. It was embarrassing, scary, and exhausting. Here are some lessons I have learned though personal experience and wisdom from other writers.

When we experience anxiety the tendency is to quickly determine that what we are feeling and thinking is either good or bad, right or wrong. Sometimes we can quickly identify what has stimulated the anxiety and sometimes we can't; it just is. The tendency is to RUN, somehow, from those scary feelings and symptoms. The symptoms can be as simple as a tingling in your hands, a rapid heart rate, or perspiring profusely. The top of my head starts to burn or feel really hot. The desire to RUN or ESCAPE is a reaction. We can learn to slow down and respond.

Running from the anxiety is like running from ourselves. It increases the nervousness and also that awful sense of shame and vulnerability. Slowing down, breathing deeply, and observing the anxiety instead of reacting to it, is a response that will help all of us to cope more effectively.

It's not just one symptom. When we are experiencing the anxiety we may also feel that awful sense of shame and vulnerability. Along with the anxiety, there may be a collage of other thoughts and emotions. Stuff like jealousy, sadness,loneliness, regret, and even anger. It could be that the driving force of the anxiousness is something other than just the anxiety. As weird as it may seem, open up a dialog with yourself and become curious about what's going on inside of you.

Focus on what you know. What is that? Well, the last time you had an uncomfortable experience like this, you lived thru it just fine. Now, when you start recognizing the other thoughts and emotions that are a part of your anxiety episode(s), you will have the information to help you cope very well this time.

Allow yourself to redefine what anxiety is: maybe it's nervousness or being overly excited. Remind yourself that life is really a roller coaster of emotional thoughts. Talk with your counselor.

Adapted from Psychology Today ~~Rick B.

Being Genuine

When we admit the truth about our limitations we create fertile ground for growth and change. If we wallow in hopeless belief that our limitations are just our nature, i.e., "That's just the way I am,", we have an built in excuse (not reason) for a lack of desire for growth and an almost sick commitment to the limitation.

The above is not the same as being powerless over our addictions. It is like hopelessness. Recovery doesn't begin with hopelessness. It begins with the belief and admission we are powerless over the addiction, which is about control and that lack of control is negatively affecting our lives. When we accept our powerlessness and then stop making excuses about our limitations, there is a certain wisdom we get to apply to our lives. We still will never be perfect. We will be willing to let go of what we really can't control and be willing to actively address what we can.

"God grant the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change what I can. And the wisdom to know the difference."

Being stubborn can be an asset when applied appropriately. Many times, being stubborn only ends up leading to resignation and hopelessness.

Written by a past AALCT patient. Used with permission.

That's Not Fair!

Yep. When I was a teenager my dad gave me a book called "The University of Hard Knocks". The major theme of the book had to do with life not being fair. At the time I probably blew the lessons of the book off. Well, I was 16 at the time, and knew just about everything that was worth knowing. Anybody related to that teenage perspective on life? I still have that book in my library.

Actually, believing that life really isn't fair and that no one owes you anything, can be liberating; it can lead to an excellent attitude about life that is displayed in our daily lives. For instance, you won't ever feel sorry for yourself, if you believe that your work ethic is responsible for all that you earn to provide for yourself. Personal responsibility goes a long way to feel a sense of satisfaction in life.

~~Rick Bingham LCDC

"A great many people think they are
thinking, when they are merely
rearranging their prejudices"
William James

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