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How to Rein in Anxiety
and stop the spinning
Welcome to a new week!
Well, we survived Tropical Storm Hilary here in San Diego. Yesterday, while I was down at the beach, I overheard a 20-something say to his friend, “That was such a lame hurricane.” They went on chatting about how underwhelming the whole experience was. Oh, to be young + clueless again. LOL.
Personally, I felt a whole different sort of feeling after it was all over.
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The morning after the storm passed through, I went out for my morning run. All I could feel was an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
Gratitude that we didn’t experience extreme flooding or strong winds.
Gratitude for the emergency preparedness efforts of so many different utilities + city services who were on standby + ready to respond.
Gratitude to live in such a beautiful place.
Gratitude to be so blessed.
Just straight-up gratitude.
Preparedness is never a waste of time.
And, I feel like this was a sneak peek of what we will see more of in the years to come. So, going through the motions last week got us a bit more prepared for future weather events. The next tropical storm will not be our first (or our last).
Did you know that gratitude + anxiety cannot co-exist?
Research has shown you cannot be stressed + grateful at the same time. That’s helpful information because if you’re feeling a lot of anxiety, you can tap into gratitude for some help.
I have certainly felt my share of anxiety over the last few years. Some of it I relate to the hormonal shifts of perimenopause. Turns out estrogen feeds serotonin (the happy chemical), so when estrogen drops it can trigger anxiety.
I had never experienced anxiety until I was in my mid-40s. And, no one mentioned it might be related to perimenopause so I wasn’t really prepared for it.
Of course, that wasn’t all of it.
I was in my late 40s when all of the political turmoil was going on back in 2016. And, I was in my early 50s in the pandemic. That’s a lot of anxiety-producing stuff. Put that together with the hormonal chaos of perimenopause + who knows what triggered what.
I have come to terms with the fact that there are certain things these last several years that I will never really know whether it was perimenopause or all of the other stuff going on.
I actually think it’s pretty cool to be going through ‘the change’ at such an amazing time of massive change.
As scary as everything is with climate change, institutional change, technological change, economic change, social change, physical change - I see opportunity.
Opportunity to be of service.
Opportunity to do things differently.
Opportunity to witness what before seemed impossible.
Of course, it’s easy to get caught up in the overwhelm of all of it because it feels like everything is changing all at once.
Where do you anchor yourself?
Gratitude for impermanence. Gratitude for change.
The bad news is nothing stays the same. The good news is that nothing stays the same.
The point is nothing stays the same. So, maybe we should help change along, not hold it up? Just a thought.
Yes, it’s terrifying to let change in. We try to keep things the same. We feel like we have to ‘fight’ for + defend what we know works or what worked for us.
I get it. And, we do have to ‘fight’. Advocate. Stand up. There is a place for that.
But, more importantly, we have to get busy NOT fighting. Instead of spinning anxiously with all of our concerns, we need to be out there helping, creating, discovering, innovating, giving + sharing.
We’re pretty lucky to be here right now.
There’s a reason don’t you think? You. Me. Here. Now.
Let’s use every ‘storm watch’ that comes our way as an opportunity to prepare, not to ignore, not to freak out, but to take some action.
We have work to do. Change is on its way.
HOW TO REIN IN ANXIETY
Anxiety has momentum. To move from a place of anxiety to one of gratitude is not easy. That’s why I always say practice gratitude first. It will help keep anxiety at bay.
A gratitude journal is a great place to start. If you can go to sleep + wake up filled with gratitude for something in your life, it will become a habit + will keep gratitude front and center in your life.
But, if you find yourself in a cycle of anxious thoughts + can’t get yourself out of the spinning, I loved these simple tips from the Cleveland Clinic.
Don’t ignore your anxiety. Face it head on.
Do some deep breathing.
Focus on what you can do vs. what you can’t.
Give it some perspective. (Are you worrying about something that hasn’t even happened?)
Soothe your system. (Yoga stretches, gentle movement or massage)
Talk it out. Don’t keep it inside. Sometimes just saying it out loud can alleviate the spinning.
Rule out other causes. (It may be menopause! LOL. Seriously, though. Sometimes anxiety is caused by health issues that need to be addressed.)
Wait it out. Anxiety is like waves. Don’t hold on. Let it go.
Be mindful. As much as you want to run away from it, try to stay in the moment. A lot of our anxiety is because we take our mind too far into the future + project. Come back to now.
This week, when you find yourself anxious, take a few deep breaths + see if you can guide yourself back to gratitude using some of these tips.
READ: 9 Ways To Calm Your Anxiety and Anxious Thoughts | Cleveland Clinic
I truly believe that each of us is here right now for a very specific reason. Everything that happens is designed for our own growth. It may not make sense in the moment. It might not feel good. But, it’s part of what makes this thing we call life such an epic adventure. There is no such thing as a ‘lame hurricane’.
See you next week?
Meanwhile - you can read thru the archives here. And, please reach out to me anytime!