On Monday I mentioned how last week I was really struggling with anxiety. This perpetual, chronic sense of body tightness and chest discomfort just wouldn’t go away, no matter how much I tried to stretch or focus on my breathing. When I have a lot of anxious thoughts, I feel almost as if I’ve pulled muscles in my chest. And my solar plexus turns to rock.
My mind was steadily racing to fill thoughts of “what do I need to do?” ” What should I do?” ” What needs to be done?” “Oh right I need to do that – I better write it down.” “Oh and that too…”
Nothing external was really going on or stressing me out, so its a mystery as to where this anxiety was coming from.
Sometimes my body felt hyper. Was I hungry!? Was it caffeine? I went back to decaf half way through the week and the body anxiety still continued just as strongly. Was my body protesting from the long hours spent sitting each day!? Or was my mind protesting and messaging my body to react….? Was it all more physiological? Or mental? ….
Questions I will forever be asking.
So then one night I got thinking…
What if I just…chose…to start living a stress free life?
Just stop everything that makes me live with this anxiety?
Just let it all go?
I wonder if I could?
The Labyrinth is a slow meditative walk to the ‘centre’ and to a place of inner quiet.
This thought is continuing to stay with me. What IF I just decided to stop it all? What IF I just decided to, right now, make the choice to live with relaxation and peace? Just stop letting in those thoughts. Stop listening to them. Just stop the cleaning. Stop the counting. Stop the perpetual productivity. Just let go and be.
Sometimes it is simply a walk that slows the pace and calms the chaos…
I know, rationally, it is not as simple as that and you probably think I’m crazy. Maybe I’m dreaming. But I also know that after living in this way for years, as I have, there comes a point where you are just so bloody tired of living in this way.
At the beginning, when your anxious coping mechanisms are just growing, they are too new for you to know what you think about them, know how to deal with them, or to tell apart the good from the harmful. But after time, you’ve experienced the good side of things – the life you feel when you do not feel anxiety – to know that this is not the way you want to live.
And so then.. then… maybe it becomes a choice.
… and sometimes it reveals a surprising insight.
Of course there will be discomfort. There will be some fear. But where does that fear come from?
I guess it comes from the notion that if I do just… drop… all those things that are making me live in perpetual anxiety, I would have to find a new way to be okay. I’d have to find a new way to fill my time and my thoughts. And what if I couldn’t do that? What if I didn’t like it? What if I didn’t know what to fill my thoughts with!?
But then I ask myself, “What’s the worse that could happen?’
…I feel sad. With the extra time. With more space to feel my feelings. With loneliness.
…I gain some weight. By letting go of all food restrictive thoughts.
It is an ancient practice of walking and pilgrimage.
I’ve been there before. And I know I’d take “feeling sad” over this chronic stress and anxiety any day. Sad is something I can see and see the world through. Sad is something I can coddle and show compassion for. Anxiety is something that keeps life a prison, and keeps me separated from the both the outside, and inner, world.
So here is my pledge. To, when I see those thoughts arising – those thoughts of productivity, numbers, food, and irrational fear – I am letting them go. I am telling myself, “I am choosing to not have these thoughts.” I’ve been garnering this practice since last weekend and I have noticed a significant change in my spirit. A change for the better. A change toward the life I want.
Its going to take a lot of practice. A lot of discipline and determination. But, as a friend always says….
….it will get easier…
Thank you to Amanda for helping me Think Out Loud. All pictures were taken at Toronto’s outdoor Labrynth in Trinity Square park, a place hidden behind the city’s largest mall. It is a secret place. A lovely place. To anyone struggling with anxiety, know that there is no shame in seeking medical assistance. Sometimes we need a little loving push to get started.Anxiety: Is there power in mind over matter? #mentalhealth #compassion #letitgo #recovery Click To Tweet
Have you ever just “put your foot down” and stopped including something in your life?
Do you feel anxiety? Where do you feel it? How have you learned to over come it?
Do you believe in the power of “mind over matter!?”