5 Easy Ways to Calm Your Anxious Mind

Today I want to talk about five easy ways to calm your anxious mind. One of the things that we run into on our daily trek through life is a surprise of our anxious mind. Moving along, we haven't had anything trip us up in a while, and then all of a sudden, boom, it's there. I often hear from people that they didn't know what to do then, like this just came out of "the blue" and they weren't prepared for it. So I want to run through five little ideas that you might be able to find one or two of these that you can keep in your back pocket to use if you get sideswiped by anxiety when you were least expecting it.

This first tip actually comes from Rick Hanson, who was on the show quite a while ago, and in his book, the Buddha's Brain, he talks about a bunch of different ways to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. One of the easiest ways to do that that you can take with you in your daily life is to touch your lip with two fingers. So when you're stressed, when your sympathetic nervous system puts you in a state of high alert, and you feel that fight or flight coming on, you can feel the hormones raging through your system, and your panic tells you that there's some sort of a threat going on, when that happens, you are really already off and running. That's already started. So you want to be able to find a way to engage your parasympathetic nervous system, your rest and digest system, your state of natural being.

Your parasympathetic nervous system when aroused and stimulated produces the opposite feeling of the panic, the fight or flight. It produces a feeling of relaxation and ease. Like I said, this is our state of rest and digest. The lips contain parasympathetic nerve fibers that make this simple touching of your lips creates a sense of calm that you can use anywhere, anytime. Now, I really ask you to try this. What I have found is that many people do this naturally. See, I think intuitively we know these things. We know how to calm ourselves down. We know how to stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system. So left to our own devices, we may have found this on our own. And many people have because I have suggested this before after I had read Rick's book. And I noticed that I have done this to myself many, many times. The fingers, two fingers, going to the lips.

And again, the lips contain parasympathetic nerve fibers making this a simple approach to creating a sense of calm. To reap the benefits of this, all you need to do is touch your lips. Breathe slowly and tell yourself, "I am safe." Now remember, just thinking, "I am safe," brings the parasympathetic nervous system on board. Just slowing your breath down brings the parasympathetic nervous system on board, and now we're going to add touching the lips. That's the one, two, three punch, should really bring you some ease. I hope that you'll try it.

The second one I want to talk about here is a walking meditation. You can do this practice any time that you're out walking. You may want to find a peaceful place to do this away from a lot of people or traffic. And if you can walk barefoot doing this, it's even better. So it'll give you a sense of connection with the Earth and you'll be earthing at the same time, which is another thing that we will get into another day. But if you can be on wet grass or grass that's just moist, it's even better. So get comfortable with your walking area and then stand straight and tall with your shoulders and arms relaxed and breathe normally. Breathe with a sense of relaxation on the exhalation. That brings ... That sets up the calming effect to begin with. And breathing out the tension. And then as you breathe in, whatever the breath in is, let it be calming energy coming in and breathing out the tension.

So we're just paying attention to our breath here. And we can do this walking maybe on our lunch hour, maybe on our way to our car on the way home. But begin moving slowly forward. And if you can sync your breathing with your steps, like right foot up is the inhale and left foot is the exhale, and use your senses to be fully aware of your surroundings. Let this be a full sensory experience. Feeling the temperature of your surroundings. Feeling the wind or hearing the rustling of the leaves in the trees or the snow crunching under your feet. The goal is not to arrive at a destination, it's simply to be present in the experience of walking. And the reason I like this little, short, walking meditation is because it helps to teach us to be in the moment, not to be thinking of our destination.

And actually, when I learned walking meditation through Vipassana meditations, they ask you to map out an area of so many paces and just go back and forth because the goal is not to get somewhere. Sometimes if we go, "I'm going to go even from here to that tree," we have a destination in mind. So if you can just do it for so many steps and then you turn, it takes that destination piece out of it because we're always forward-thinking. We're always trying to get somewhere. And if we could just be with each step here and there for very short periods of time, it helps to bring us into the present moment. I hope you will try that one too.

How about a meditative shower? How about a mindful shower? It's easy to let go of other thoughts when you're standing under a stream of water. And especially if you set the temperature to your favorite shower temperature, you can just relax right there. Just letting the water run over you and taking this time to tune into all of your senses. Once again, just like when we were walking, use the items that you love; your soap, your washcloth. Have the scents be what you love, using essential oils, and feel and enjoy the sensation of the water on your skin, the temperature that you chose, that you love. Feel the water coming over your head and down your body, all the way down, and the water going down the drain, just swirling down.

Notice when you begin to think about the day ahead or the day behind you. Notice if you're judging. And if you do find that, just notice it. Note it, judging, and then let it go. Don't judge the thoughts or yourself for having a judgmental thought. It's okay. It's what we do. And the more we can catch it and be aware of it in a neutral way, the less likely it is to pop up over and over again. It's when we add to it by being angry with ourselves or hard on ourselves, discounting of ourselves, that it just digs in deeper. Instead, visualize those judgments and odd thoughts going down the drain. And then bring your focus back to the experience of enjoying a few moments in your meditative shower. I hope you will try that one. We certainly get plenty of opportunities to try all of these things.

The next one I have is doing your chores mindfully. I know I've talked about this before, but I want to bring it up again. Whether you're sweeping the floors or vacuuming, dusting, washing dishes is a favorite meditative time, it can be your meditation if you bring your attention completely to the activity and immerse yourself. Washing dishes, for example, like I said this is a favorite, can be satisfying and grounding. You get to feel the water again. Water is miraculous. And whether you're in the shower or washing your dishes, enjoy the warmth of the water. Let it be bubbles on your hands, and enjoy the experience of making dirty dishes clean again. You don't have to think about finishing or how many there are to do. Or what we usually do, thinking about what we have to do when we're done. But you can focus solely on the doing, the doing of the dishes, and see if you can find a sense of acceptance and presence, and doing it slowly and with intention, and doing it well. Again, it's another thing we get plenty of opportunity to try.

And finally, one of my favorites is I've taught this for many, many years, mindful eating. So instead of eating your meal quickly, with one eye on your food and the other eye on the computer. Or back in the day, it would have been a newspaper or a book. But turn your mealtime occasionally ... Obviously, we're not going to be able to do this every time. But this is especially valuable if you have a meal that you get to eat alone, maybe on your lunch hour, occasionally you're eating alone, or your dinner time or breakfast at home, try this. It doesn't have to take too long. So why not put everything to the side and make this a special time just for you. The texts and the emails and the social media and all of that will wait. It will all be there when you're done if you can take a little bit of time for this mindful meal.

Take some time to notice your breath and identify with the different nuances of each item that's on your plate, the scent, the textures, the beauty of what you have prepared and how it's there on your plate. Or maybe it's just coming out of your sandwich bag. It's okay, enjoy it visually. And when you're eating, put your sandwich down or put your fork down in between each bite for this mindful meal. Just put the fork down and think about what you're doing with your food. Appreciate the flavors and the textures that are there in your mouth. Enjoy it, and really see what is happening in there in your mouth. Get into the whole experience of different flavors and textures.

This will help keep your mind in the now again. We're just appreciating through our senses, and eating is a particularly awesome way to do it because it requires so many of our senses to enjoy it fully. So if you find your thoughts wandering to things that you have to do when you're done with your lunch, bring your attention back to your sandwich or your fork and your plate, and have another bite. And then breathe, enjoy, and we're going to do this over and over, and savoring the food that is in front of you. If your thoughts wander, just notice, "Oh, well it's time to take another bite. Okay, right back to the experience that is right in front of me." And going to enjoy this meal one bite at a time. It's really fun to do it. And like I said, if you have the time and you have a meal that you're doing alone, that's marvelous. You may want to take a meal with family or friends and dedicate the first five or 10 minutes to everyone doing this. This is how we've done it in group settings where we have 10 minutes of silence and eating our meal mindfully together.

So experiment. First, experiment on your own and see if you would like to share it with your family. It can be an awesome experience. And it brings you to the now. It takes you out of future thinking, and you get to rest as you are digesting your meal. I hope you'll try all of these. They're kind of fun, and they're easy. And if you can incorporate one of them, you're doing great.

If you're ready for more, go to anxietycoachespodcast.com/group-coaching and join today. I'd love to see you in the group. And now for today's quote.

"Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again." And that's from Thich Nhat Hanh

Be Well and Aloha!

Dealing With Negative And Anxious Thoughts

Today, I want to talk about dealing with negative and anxious thoughts, and I want to talk about it from the angle of happiness, because we want to just fill in the blank space that we create when we begin to erase some of this negative and anxious time that we have, and we want that to be filled in with more of a sense of peace and calm and freedom and happiness. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be happy. It is a good thing, and you can make yourself happier. It's a practice, just as everything else. There are things that we can do. It's all an inner game. Again, this isn't about our external life, this is about our inner life.

I recently read an interesting article from Dr. Joe Mercola, you'll hear me refer to him as Joe. I've read his things so often I think we're on a first name basis now. And this was about following the advice of ancient philosophers and how that could make you happier. Now, this caught my eye, because I respect science and I love that science is showing us more and more how everything about us as a physical being is working. But I know that a lot of my healing came from reading philosophers, from reading about people who had more of a spiritual life, from having that connection to something greater than ourselves. And the ancient philosophers had no direct science as we have today of knowing and being able to "prove" things, but it was evident in their lives. They didn't need and they didn't have a way to prove anything more than that.

And so I wanted to share some of this article with you. And although the article was titled Following the Advice of Ancient Philosophers Can Make You Happier, I wanted to look at it from the angle of coming from an anxious state. And so let's see what Dr. Mercola had to say here. Couple of nice little paragraphs here. Dr. Mercola says, "For many, happiness is elusive at best, and at times near impossible. There's always something or someone pushing our buttons, making us feel less than joyful." And according Barbara Fredrickson, she is a psychologist and positive emotions researcher, she says that most Americans have two positive experiences for every negative one.

And so I wanted to say here if you are living with anxiety, and if you are living in an anxious state as a regular daily occurrence, you don't even have that ratio. You do not have two positive experiences for every negative one, because your mind is telling you way more negative ones. Maybe your mind isn't telling you more negative ones than other people, but you are believing more of the negative ones than maybe someone who is not in an anxious state. Because our minds tell us all kinds of things, but the anxious mind, the person with the anxious mind, tends to believe those negative thoughts much more often.

And Joe goes on to say, "While that sounds good and well, this two to one positivity ratio is barely enough to get by. To flourish emotionally, research shows you need a three to one ratio, that is you need to have three positive emotions for every negative one. Only 20% of Americans achieve this critical ratio, which means 80% do not. Even worse, more recent research suggests nearly 25% of the people experience no life enjoyment at all. The good news is happiness can be learned. Part of the equation is training yourself to view life's events from a different perspective. Inconveniences and more serious troubles are unavoidable facts of life. What many fail to realize, is that these events do not automatically bar you from being happy, unless you let them."

Now, I thought that it was important for you to hear from an article that is not talking about anxiety at all, and it is showing that many people are very, very unhappy. And so since this is something that we can do for ourselves, I think, as you are eliminating your anxious state, you can be filling that space in with more happiness. And so we can just practice it, like everything else. Nothing happens right away.

Dr. Mercola goes on to quote Eric Barker in a recent Time article. Eric Barker says, "You've probably read a zillion articles about happiness online, and you're not a zillion times happier. What gives? Reading ain't the same as doing. You wouldn't expect to read some martial art books and then go kick it like Bruce Lee. All behavior changes must be trained. The ancient stoics knew this. They didn't write stuff just to be read. They created rituals, exercises to be performed to train your mind to respond properly to life so you could live well. And what's fascinating, is that modern scientific research agrees with a surprising amount of what these guys were talking about 2,000 years ago."

Again, that little piece was from Eric Barker in a recent Time article. I will have Dr. Mercola's entire article here, I'll have a link to it in the show notes if you're interested in reading it for the future to remind yourself. So what I'm really impressed with here, is it's really good to see that 2,000 years ago people knew what was good for the mind, what was good for the mind and body. And what's interesting is that we don't need to wait for some scientific breakthrough. We don't need to wait for a new medication to come out. We don't need to wait for a new gadget to be developed, or the proper app to be developed for us to actually find our happiness and our peace and calm yet again. I really want you to know that this inner gain is kind of already know. I believe that there is pieces of you already inside of you that know what to do, that knows what brings you happiness, because that is your natural state.

One of the interesting pieces they talked about in this article was the importance of perception, and I know we've talked about perception here before, and we've talked about how we see life, what kind of filters or what angle we're looking at it, and the wisdom of the ancients, according to this article, dictate that events are neither good nor bad in and of themselves. It is your belief about the event that upsets you, not the fact that it happened. And Ryan Holiday ... He is an author of several books, including The Daily Stoic. But he goes on to say, "Shakespeare and the stoics are saying that the world around us is indifferent. It is objective. The stoics are saying, 'This happened to me' is not the same as 'This happened to me and that's bad.' They're saying if you stop at the first part, you will be much more resilient and much more able to make some good out of anything that happens.

Now, we talk about that here all the time. Remember, we don't want to add judgment to what is happening. When we are sitting with our mind and these thoughts go through, the most important thing after actually seeing the thought itself is to not judge it, and that's what these stoics were saying. You want to come to the place where you are saying, "This happened to me." You don't want to say, "This happened to me, and that's bad." "That's bad" is adding a judgment to it. We want to experience things. We can just experience life. We don't have to add judgment to it, or a second thought, or a second arrow. We are talking about just how we are looking at life and how we can make a difference in how we feel just through our perception, and by not adding judgment to it.

And there is another piece of advice down here, which was to follow your own advice. Dr. Mercola says, "Another potent technique you can use is to increase your positive to negative emotion ratio by asking yourself, 'What would I recommend if this happened to someone else?' And then follow your own advice. Barker highlights this technique with an example." Now, I'm not going to read the example, because it's super long here, and the fact that we already talk about this here. This is when you've heard me say when you're feeling a particular way and you have something really that you want an answer to or reassurance about, you can take that ... I often suggest not just saying, "What advice would you give to just someone else?" I usually ask that you say what you would say to someone very small, someone four or five or six years old that came to you with a big problem."

Because I believe that when you are suffering, and I really mean suffering, if you are not finding your way out of your anxious state, you are suffering. And if you are stuck there, you want to be kind to yourself first, so just offering advice is great, but offering advice as if you were giving that same advice to a small child. You would be kind, you would be compassionate, you'd be understanding. You would want to know more. You would almost just embrace them. And so I want you to, when you are following your own advice, as Dr. Mercola's talking about here, I want you to do it without judgment. I want you to do it with lots of compassion. I want you to do it as if you really were talking to the little tiny you, the little four or five year-old you.

And that is hard for people to do. Often people don't want to be kind to themselves, but they would be kind a niece or a nephew, or a neighbor's child, or their own child that is young. So use that. Think of how you would relate to a youngster that came to you with a really, really interesting little challenge or difficulty or problem, and give yourself that same kind of nurturance. It makes a huge difference.

I want to address another piece that Dr. Mercola on here, which is addressing wants and desires. Dr. Mercola says, "One of the greatest contributors to unhappiness is our wants and desires, regardless of whether they're able to be fulfilled or not. Because as soon as you get the thing you desire, another newer better thing will come along, fueling your desire to acquire yet again. Fulfilling desire is a never ending cycle. Here the old adage to be grateful for what you have is part of the prescription that Barker cites in The Daily Stoic, which says, 'Here's a lesson to test your mind's mettle. Take part of a week in which you have only the most meager and cheap food, dress and shabby clothes, and as yourself if this is really the worst that you've feared.' To which Barker adds, 'And research shows that doing that really works.' Luckily, there's a less painful way to get similar results with something you used to relish, something that you now take for granted. Did that first cup of coffee use to be a wonderful moment, and now it's just something you hastily gulp down? Try going without it for three days."

And you know, here we're not talking about coffee. If you are, it's decaf. And Barker goes on to say, "When I spoke to Harvard professor Mike Norton, he said this is how you can regain appreciation for the things that you've taken for granted. Make them a treat. Deprive yourself a bit, then savor the heck out of it. This is how you can stop wanting and start enjoying what you have."

This piece, everyone, is so important to me, because I see much of the anxiety is fueled by the pressure to get ahead, the pressure to get more, and that drive. It's about future, future, future. So much anxiety is about that. And when we are not driven so hard, we actually can start to relax. We can feel our muscles relax, we can feel our mind relax when we are not driven for more. So I love this idea of you don't have to take a week and dress in shabby clothes and eat the minimum food, or whatever. But you can do the idea of maybe giving up something you really liked, like your morning decaf. Give it up for three days and then go back to it and see. It really does make things different.

And the point is that we do it then more mindfully. What happens is, when we have what we have, we want more because we're not even mindfully enjoying what we do have. We aren't in gratitude for what we do have. And these are very simple practices that can change not your world, not the physical world around you, but your perception of it. You begin to feel so much more alive, and it's just like the old saying that enough is as good as a feast. And that is very true, as long as you are with your enoughness with mindfulness and appreciation and gratitude, so I hope you will give that a try.

And the very last piece here is Dr. Mercola saying that those who feel they have enough are usually happier. "Some even claim that the key to happiness is learning to appreciate enough and embracing a more minimalistic lifestyle. The average credit card debt for Americans who carry a balance is $16,000, and 38% of US households carry some amount of credit card debt. The total outstanding consumer debt in the US in 2016 alone was a staggering 3.4 trillion. Meanwhile, financial hardship and work stress are two significant contributors to depression and anxiety. The answer is pretty self evident. Buy less. Many who have adopted the minimalistic lifestyle claim that they've been able to significantly reduce the amount of time they have to work to pay their bills, freeing up time for volunteer work, creative pursuits and taking care of their personal health, thereby dramatically raising their level of happiness and life satisfaction. The key here is deciding what enough is. Consumption itself is not the problem. Unchecked compulsory shopping is. It's like being on a hamster wheel. You keep shopping, thinking happiness and life satisfaction will come with it. Yet, it never does. Many times accumulation of material goods is a symptom that you may be trying to fill a void in your life. Yet that void can never be filled by material things. More often than that, the void is silently asking for more love, connection and experiences that bring purpose and passionate engagement."

The article goes on, of course, and on, because Dr. Mercola always has long articles, and he goes on further to talk about gratitude, which is something that we discuss here quite often. I will make a link to this article in the show notes if you want to read the whole thing, but I hope that you will take that idea of enough and let it roll around a little bit. Not to add more pressure to your life, that, "Oh, now you have one more thing I have to do." But to actually see that what you already have for right now may be enough. Anxiety tends to live int he future, and so when we are not in the present with what we presently have, we're searching for more. How am I going to get more? It's all in the future. So just pull it back. This is totally good medicine for the anxious state.

I hope that you will take some of that and try it out in your own life!

That's it for today If you're ready for more, go to anxietycoachespodcast.com/group-coaching and join today. I'd love to see you in the group.

"Nothing can bring you peace but yourself."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Anxiety Control and Uncertainty

I wanted to talk about the idea of embracing uncertainty. It sounds like something that you wouldn't want to do, but I want to assure you that being able to embrace uncertainty is key in being able to not only understand your anxiety panic, but to actually be able to let go. When I always talk about letting go, one of the things that comes up is people are wanting to hold on. And why do we want to hold on? We want to hold down because we think we are in control if we hold on.

I ran across an article by Christine Carter last month and I will put her link in the show notes, and I wanted to share some bits and pieces of it with you, because she outlined some interesting ideas about ... She wasn't talking specifically about anxiety, but it is definitely what is going on here. One of the things she brought up in the beginning was the feeling of having that inner turbulence, she called it and looking for outer control. She said here, “The more turbulent I am inside, the more I try to control what's happening outside.”

Some people look away when chaos reigns. I dig in, I boss people around. I am aggressive about what I think is right. Feeling like I am right, like I know what to do delivers a hit of certainty in a world of unending and catastrophic natural disasters. I just want you to take a moment here and reflect on the times when you are dealing with people in your life, your relationships, and the times that you may be bossing people around, the times that you might be insisting on having your way. And I want to reassure you that what's happening is not that you are out of control or trying, just desperately trying to have your way, you are looking for control, you are looking for a place to be safe.

Christine goes onto say later in the article, “Every time I tried to control anything other than my own thoughts, the weather, my husband, my children, I'm sending a message to the world and to the people around me that they are not good enough. This absolutely is perfectionism and indeed, it is a particular form of unhappiness, one that spreads like wildfire.” Yes, that's what happens and we're all … we can all fall there at some point in our lives, but when we are anxious, we are really grasping. Many people use the term proudly that they are a perfectionist and that's why they do things this way or that way, but the reality is we are looking for control when we are doing that.

The article goes on to say that a new study published in psychological bulletin demonstrates that perfectionism is increasing over time. Today's youth are more demanding of others and they are more demanding of themselves. They also feel like other people such as their parents are more demanding of them. Yes, this is definitely happening and it is reflected in the numbers of people who are identifying themselves as having anxiety, and the younger and younger ages that it is happening.

I think that we need to pay attention when we are noticing this in ourselves. We here are dealing with ourselves. We can worry about other people another time, whether they're anxious and trying to make things perfect so they can feel control, but today, let's concentrate on ourselves and what it is that we're doing, and how we can do it differently for our own wellbeing. The article goes on to say like its close cousins, self-orientation, perfectionism, and socially prescribed perfectionism. Other oriented perfectionism leads to nothing good.

Although we often that perfectionism is a cause of success, like people always say, I'm a bit of a perfectionist, is a socially acceptable humble brag. Research clearly demonstrates that perfectionism is often debilitating, a well-studied phenomena, perfectionism is clearly associated with serious depression, chronic anxiety, and a myriad of health problems. Christine goes onto say, “And other oriented perfectionism comes with additional drawbacks. In intimate relationships, it is linked with greater conflict and lower sexual satisfaction.”

“When I get bossy,” she says, “and controlling, the people around me feel defensive or they feel wrong, or they feel a lack of control and nothing anyone ever wants to feel.” As she goes on further into the article, she talks about the answer and what we need to do to get out of this because as she says, being controlling is like a sugar rush, it might bring me a quick hit of tense certainty, but never lasting peace. This is because all control is false. It is temporary at best. Life is inherently uncertain.

We might hate that, but it's true. We can be sure of only one thing. We will die and we usually are not even in control of that. These are very important points. I hope that you can hear that, that being in control is like a hit, like we get a little rush from it, a little dopamine rush and it brings it a quick sense of certainty. And here she calls it a quick hit of tense certainty, that it's really there, we're certain but very short period of time. It is never lasting and it doesn't bring peace. And like she said, this is because all control is false.

When we come to the point where we can actually look at life as being inherently uncertain through our journey here with anxiety and panic, it seems like something you wouldn't want to think about or that you would avoid confronting, but it brings great peace. And this was a big part of my journey to be able to see that I could not take care of everything, of everyone and every possible thing that could happen. When I could let go and see that not only was I having to live in a life of uncertainty, everyone does, this is part of our common humanity. None of us knows what the next day will bring.

Christine goes on in the article to say how to surrender. She says, “Given this, why do I so consistently and diligently resist uncertainty by trying to get the world to do things my way? And what can I do instead of retreating back into perfectionism?” She says, “The opposite of perfectionism is acceptance, not resignation, but surrender to what is happening in the present moment.” “I know, I know,” she says, “that sounds terrible to my fellow control freaks. And I want to say to you, I know you have heard these very same words over and over again as we talk about acceptance, as we talk about surrender, but I think it's important that we keep in mind that acceptance and surrender are not resignation.”

Research shows in this article she is speaking about Kristin Neff's research. Her research shows that resistance increases our suffering and I want to point out that old saying that, and it was really quite true that what we resist persists. And with anxiety, we know that of what we resist fuels the fire of our anxiety panic. And Kristin Neff, her research is showing that resistance increases our suffering while acceptance, particularly self-acceptance is one of the lesser known secrets to happiness.

And I want to point out here that not only is self-acceptance and self-compassion a secret to happiness, it is also a way out of anxiety and panic. And so, I want you to pay particular attention to self-acceptance. Christine goes onto say in the article, “But this idea that we do better when we don't resist difficulty is very counterintuitive. How do we even begin to stop resisting what hurts or what scares us?” The article goes on to say, “Behavioral science and great wisdom traditions both point us toward acceptance. It is strangely effective to simply accept that which we cannot control, especially if we are in a difficult or painful situation. To do this, we accept the situation and also our emotions about the situation.”

Now, this is very important. One thing that it points to is the serenity prayer. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. And when we are in very difficult situations, we can actually do this, and we can also do it in the smaller situations. What happens when we are faced with something great and something very, very difficult that we have no way out of, we actually do surrender easier. We actually accept more easily than on the day to day basis where we still have choices and we have many different directions that we can go. We often do not accept, but dig in, resist and try to make things go our own way.

The article goes on to say, “I could have let myself accept reality rather than fight. We could at some point lose our home in a fire, that she was in the southern California fires, and then I could just let myself feel the fear and the anxiety I was actually already feeling.” What she's talking about here is that we not only accept the situation that we're in, but we also want to be accepting of our emotions about the situation. There's many layers here. We accept the situation and then we need to be compassionate and kind to ourselves, and accept our own emotions about the situation, except that we have grief, except that we are sad, except that we are in pain. But we don't deny it, we actually look at it, we see it clearly and we accept it.

“This approach,” Christine goes onto say, “requires trust. Trust that if I am still here, still breathing, everything is okay. Trust that even if I don't give specific instructions, if I back off from trying to control everyone and everything, life will continue to unfold just as it's meant to. Trust that even if all goes to hell, even if other people make mistakes or do things differently than I would do them, that I can deal with the outcome no matter what it is. Trust that I can handle all the difficult emotions that come up in response to what does or does not happen. Trust that I can handle loss and grief should it come.”

I thank Christine for that article and I want to point out that trust is another issue that we have often lost. When we have lost trust quite often, when we have been struggling with anxiety and panic for a while, we could have lost trust in our ability to make decisions. We can lose trust in our own body, in our own mind, and we can have lost trust that we would know what to do in any given situation. But, when we focus on who we are, how we have gotten to where we are, and all of the things that we have done, we can begin to rebuild that trust.

We can begin to embrace the uncertainty because we know that always in our past, when things were placed right in front of us, that we always did what we needed to do. We always took care of what was right in front of us. We don't need to figure all these things out ahead of time because the reality is we cannot. That is only our desire and our drive to control things and that doesn't take us anywhere that we want to be. I hope that this has been helpful to you and if you have any questions or you would like to give us an idea of what you would like to hear on the podcast, please send us an email; anxietycoachespodcast@gmail.com.

That's it for today

If you're ready for more, go to anxietycoachespodcast.com/group-coaching and join today. I'd love to see you in the group. And now for today's quote.

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace, only that it meets us where we are, but doesn't leave us where it found us. -Anne Lamott.

Be well and Aloha.!