Whatever you resist persists?

There are many ideas on how to ‘treat’ anxiety but do they work? Have the ‘tools’ you’ve been given worked for you? Breathing exercises perhaps or prescribed drugs, going to a happy place, withdrawal from what makes you anxious, addiction, self medication, going for a run, telling yourself you’re irrational….

Anxiety originates in the body from a response to fear…the chemicals released empower a response so the body can remove itself from danger, but do we need anxiety now? Why can’t we prevent it or stop it when it’s happening?

Often we want out from anxiety, we’d try anything to not feel it? We then become anxious about being anxious… Anxiety can be like a pipe with water gushing out, we try desperately to prevent the rising flood, standing on the pipe, burying it, blocking it up, trying to stop it at source. But after a while out it gushes and we’re in overwhelm again.

What if the water coming out was okay and didn’t need stemming? What if anxiety is okay? To allow our physiological response to fear and sit with it as the chemicals are released in our bodies and our physical response happens, we can’t prevent it, but what if we didn’t fear it, what if we can ‘surf’ it, tolerate it, not be frightened of it but wait till it subsides…. What about the thought of befriending your anxiety? A little like holding an anxious child, who is anxious for good reason but you (as the adult) know they’ll be okay and the feelings will pass….or putting the pipe of water to good use and watering a garden….

Neuroscience (Ron Siegel) has evidence that sitting with anxious feelings and befriending them is more doable than stopping them, that we see it as feelings to ‘just notice’ and ‘surf’ not to be overwhelmed by and drown in. Through mindfulness we get used to those feelings and understand we can manage them, they are okay to feel. Not to fear anxiety and it’s physical reaction but accept our response, not resisting but surviving the feelings, knowing we can master them…. We can use multilayered consciousness to simply notice what’s going on inside….this creates courage in us (courage is feeling fear but not being overwhelmed by it), resilience, inner strength….all by using anxiety.

What do you think?