Giving ourselves the “permission to pause” is an important tool in shifting our anxiety to spiritual opportunity. It provides time and space to gain healthy detachment in any situation that arouses a physical, mental, or emotional reaction.
When we push the pause button, we can step away from the person or situation, take some deep breaths, and drop into our heart space. This helps us refrain from reacting from our fear and responding with love. Besides interrupting our knee-jerk reactions, we can consciously observe the situation from a more expansive spiritual perspective.
Taking such a purposeful break affords you the opportunity to explore the root of your negative mindsets, beliefs, and the self-destructive patterns that they trigger. Keep in mind that the trigger is usually not the emotional root of your anxiety.
In other words, “the thing is not the thing.” Sitting with and diving deep into your feelings of anxiety allows you to tune into the spiritual information that it is showing you. Your anxiety lets you know what unresolved issues need to be healed and what feelings need to be released. This healing and release process can lead to personal transformation and making healthy life changes.
Let’s take my client Chris for example.
Chris came to me suffering from severe anxiety including panic attacks. For most of his life, he had been tormented by anxiety especially around the issue of being able to provide for his family.
Recently, he had been concerned about facing possible financial ruin because of a bad real estate deal. His feelings of anxiety haunted him at night as he had trouble sleeping and paced through his house while his family slept, asking himself, “Why am I allowing fear and anxiety to run my life?”
Over several sessions, I showed Chris how to recognize that his anxiety was a “flag” that there were unresolved emotional issues. His anxiety was alerting him to his negative mindsets that stemmed from a lack of trust in himself and his connection to source. In his mind, “I don’t have enough” translated to “I’m not enough.”
This negative mentality was triggering a self-destructive pattern of scarcity, fueling his need to control everything in his life and perpetuating his role as a victim of circumstances.
Then I encouraged him to observe his anxiety and see it as part of his spiritual guidance system, and ask himself, “What is my anxiety telling me about myself and any unresolved issues?” From this viewpoint Chris’ anxiety was not trying to upset him or make his life miserable. On the contrary, it was trying to get his full attention.
As a result, he began to see how, if left unaddressed, his unresolved pain would continue to cause him anxiety and undermine his sense of well-being. He also saw how his anxious reactions could assist him in realizing that he was stuck in a fear-based pattern and needed to make a choice, any choice to get unstuck and move past it.
Another tool for preventing an emotional reaction is a visual cue, such as a stop sign, comma, or pause button. Envisioning such a cue, or having it displayed near a phone or desk, or on a computer screen, where situations may arise that provoke reaction or anxiety, can be an automatic reminder to stop, release a reaction, and then respond consciously.
Finally, watching yourself as if in slow motion will give you more time to become aware of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Slowing down moves us into a more present state and ultimately, supports the release of these emotions. It is difficult to release anxiety when, on an emotional scale of one to ten, you have already moved to a nine or ten.
Shifting our anxiety to spiritual opportunity allows us to become more proactive instead of reactive, shifting our energy from negative to positive. In this way, we can view our anxiety, as excitement and a reminder that something new is on the horizon and an opportunity to transform our lives.
** Do you or a loved one struggle with anxiety? Watch for my new AnxietyRX: Balm for the Soul coming this spring. Don’t miss the announcement. Become a part of the Soul-Hearted Living family by registering here. As a welcome gift, you’ll receive my 4-part Soul-Hearted Living Sacred Meditation Series.