One of Energy Healing Institute’s recent students is anticipating a major life change – he’s moving across the country to complete his college degree.
He wrote me about his upcoming move, stating that his head plays games with him when he contemplates big changes, causing him to feel anxious, overwhelmed.
It made me smile, not because I’m happy that he’s anxious, but because he innocently sits in the place most of us sit when contemplating a big change. He sits in the anxiety seat!
Another example – last year I put initial plans in place for a big change in my business model. As I contemplated the changes I’m making, I mentioned the anxiety and overwhelm I was experiencing to a consultant who assists me with the strategic redesign of my business and its offerings. You know what he said? “Well good. Then you know it’s worth doing.”
Yeah, I was annoyed by that remark, but with further contemplation, I realized he was directly on point. A large change in the trajectory of life doesn’t happen without butterflies in the stomach, perhaps a pounding heartbeat and even sweaty palms.
It’s the body’s way of registering magnitude, of taking in the change and taking up the charge – galvanizing behind the big picture plan. Those butterflies are worth it, because they sharpen and hone awareness and create alignment to enable a well-thought out transition to whatever new plans are in place.
So where does anxiety become a problem? It’s a problem when it becomes the focus of the transition. When we take the awareness that change is a comin’ and focus only on what might go wrong or how it might not work out, or that it’s too big a leap, or that we’re not fully prepared, or that we can’t guarantee a soft landing, or, or, or.
That’s anxiety running amok, running you over, running away with you – it’s running! That’s a problem, and it’s within your purview to address.
First of all, anxiety is a useful emotion. It denotes magnitude (you’re moving across the country, you’re redefining your business model), it can signal a need for heightened awareness (navigating unfamiliar streets in the dark), it can spur one on to perform with excellence (SAT’s, final exams, certifications, races).
Second of all, no one should live awash with anxiety. We all need to learn to regulate and own our emotions. Anxiety is one of them, and we may not actually need to medicate as much as we need to learn to educate ourselves about ways to manage and mitigate anxiety.
When the head is running so far ahead of the body and its actions, then the emotional body is joining forces with the mental body and hijacking the physical body and its ability to be present, in the moment.
Do you see where I’m going with this? By becoming aware of the disproportionate amount of emotional and mental energy tied up in anticipating what might go wrong with what’s not even happening yet (are you smiling just a little bit here, registering amusement at what the mental and emotional body’s are doing?), it’s possible to reclaim space, place and time through the body and its ability to be in the here and now.
So what to do?
- First, be aware. If someone came up to your car and forced his or her way in and said ‘drive me to Kansas,’ you’d know you were being hijacked. If you’re way ahead of yourself and full of anxiety about what’s not even happening yet, you know you’re being hijacked. By your mental and emotional energy.
- Second, you have a body and you know how to use it. So do something. Active. Jump up and down. Pat your body from toes to head and back again. Get physical and amp up your physical energy. You’ll begin to create a balance between the mental, emotional and physical.
- Third, have a giant laugh. As John Friedlander says, ‘have some amusement, and if you can’t be amused, be amused that you can’t be amused. And if you can’t be amused that you can’t be amused, then be amused that you can’t be amused that you can’t be amused.’ Eventually you’ll feel so silly about the levels you’re climbing to find amusement that you’ll crack a smile. Amusement can be gently overlaid any strong emotion and bring clarity, balance and perspective.
- Fourth, release the anxiety. Imagine you can ball it up in your hands and send it down your legs and out your feet. Use gravity as a force for evolution. Down and out with the anxious energy and onward and upward with your life’s trajectory.
Anxiety is an emotion within our vast repertoire of emotions. Choose to see it as one of many, not as a pervasive means of operating and experiencing your life. Use your body and your core intelligence to support you right-sizing anxiety. It’s a tool, not a toll.
And keep your vital energy flowing!