If you wish to read about anger, then please read: "How Do I Deal with Anger & Anxiety? Part 1"
In Part 2, I will be answering this question regarding how you can deal with anxiety.
In an attempt to put anxiety into a perspective that is less threatening and even funny, I will use my anxiety metaphor to explain what you’re experiencing, along with some options for dealing with the sensations you feel when anxiety is present.
Close your eyes and imagine a soda bottle. See yourself reading the label of ingredients. Some of those ingredients, as you know, are worse for you to consume than others. Some of these ingredients, when mixed together, can even create a lot of pressure when mixed up or agitated. Yet, when you separate the ingredients they don’t produce the same reactions. The same can be said for thoughts and emotions.
We all have many experiences or memories, some good, some funny, some bad, some just plain embarrassing and some horrifying. These are all organized by our thoughts and the meanings we give each thing, person, place, smell, sound, touch, experience and observation.
Now visualize that soda as it has been sitting on your counter for hours, untouched. All the ingredients appear to be calm or inactive. Yet, what happens when you shake that soda bottle up vigorously? What will happen if you twist the cap a little bit? What happens if you unscrew and remove the cap as fast as you can?
When a moment in your life shakes everything up inside of you, all at once, you’re like that bottle of soda ready to explode. Depending on your surroundings, you can choose to fight to hold all that pressure in and resist its desire to explode until everything settles down again. The problem with this choice, however, is you know that every time that soda bottle is shaken, the pressure will come back. It will keep happening until: the pressure is either released; the ingredients are altered; or over time the ingredients become less active, flat or dead. This could translate into you coexisting, becoming despondent, isolated, or numb.
Another choice you can make when the pressure is so high, is to let a little of that pressure out at a time, making sure to tighten the cap quickly so that none of the contents come spilling out before you are ready for them to flow. This choice can lead to a lot of time consuming twists and turns until all the pressure you need at that time is released so you feel safe enough to finally pour yourself into whichever of life’s glasses is needing to be filled first.
Your last option is to choose to open yourself up fast and let all the pressure out all at once, but this as you know can be very messy. This choice requires you to be willing, ahead of time, to prepare yourself to clean up whatever mess is created. Another reality when making this choice is that no matter how well you prepare, you know that someone else can shake everything up without you even knowing and an explosion can be a huge unpleasant surprise.
Knowing this, it really is no wonder why people resist pressure or spend so much time and energy trying not to ever shake any emotional soda bottle up. Yet, like with soda, some people are addicted to that fizzy sensation, the sweet taste, the burst of energy and the comfort that they get from this supposed thirst quencher. The same can be true for experiencing any emotion that helps you get your needs met. Emotions and how you deal with, or fail to deal with them, can become a pattern or a bad habit.
For example, if you don’t get the attention you want or need from your loved ones, friends or boss, when you complete your tasks yet you do get attention when you fail to complete them, it won’t take long for you to make a choice that gets your needs met by being less productive. I know this may sound silly but it happens all the time. We get addicted to taking on roles or positions in our lives that get our needs met, even if these conflict with who we know we are or want to become.
Think about your past decisions, actions and any response as a result of them. Have you ever gotten more attention from someone you liked or loved, for being needy or confused about a task…than you have from being independent and competent? Did you like how this person chose to take time out for you, to help you solve your problem? Did you feel like you mattered? Did their actions make you feel as though they cared about you? If you did, you have a need for significance, love and connection. This is a good realization. Now, list out all the ways you can feel and achieve these things. Choose to think thoughts, use language and take actions that produce the results you want in positive ways, going forward.
Going back to my soda bottle metaphor, you can see how anxiety is basically built up pressure, an energy source that your body wants and needs to let out. So, the best way to get rid of anxiety is to let it release. The risk is in how you can do this in a healthy way. A healthy release does not mean misdirect your emotions and lash out at someone or something. The healthiest way to reduce and get rid of anxiety, the right way, is to do something physical.
So……..Drop and give me 20!
Seriously, it doesn't need to be push-ups. Any physical activity that allows you to release energy is what you’re after. You can jog in place, jump on a rebounder, go for a brisk walk, dance to some loud music, do some sit-ups or jumping jacks, scream, sing loudly or laugh. Do anything you physically can do for a few minutes. You’ll be surprised at how fast the pressure is released and how good you feel, and I will add…organically.
The sad truth is that many people are prescribed unnecessary drugs so they can deal with their feelings of depression, panic and anxiety. These medications often cause more problems and side effects that can result in taking more medications causing even more symptoms to mask. People could benefit far more, if they were only educated on how they can feel, face, understand and manage their emotions in ways that would create a fulfilling life; a life that would produce feelings of happiness, pride, success, growth, love, gratitude and connection.
On that note about natural healing and human nature, I’ll leave you with one last thing to think about regarding anxiety...
Think about how you feel when you’re anxious. Generally speaking, research has shown that when you feel anxiety the following can happen: your muscles tighten up, your heart rate goes up, your breath is more restricted, your hands shake, you have trouble focusing, you fidget or pace, your words come out all jumbled up at times, you’re uncertain about what’s coming, your stomach gets upset, you go to the bathroom more frequently, you perspire more. These are all the SAME sensations and physical reactions that someone can experience when they’re excited.
Interesting, isn't it? If this is true, then wouldn't it make sense to say: if you choose to perceive what you’re experiencing as being exciting rather than you having anxiety…you could choose put yourself into a much better state of mind to deal with the energy that needs to be released. After all, everything you experience and how well you handle it does come down to the perspective you choose to have and the meaning you assign to any experience, person, place or thing.
Please take note that people with extreme cases need help maneuvering through anxiety or a state of panic with support. Many people, however, can take and apply these coaching tips and achieve great results in decreasing the amount, and frequency, of their anxiety.
These bottled up emotions have tremendous power and pressure. In time, they will either come out forcefully, little by little, or settle back down and eventually fizzle out. Regardless, it’s up to you to decide if you need assistance, which perspective you will adopt, and which process you’re going to take to address and manage your personal soda bottle of emotions.
To review my answers regarding how you can deal with anger, please read:
"How Do I Deal With Anger & Anxiety Part 1", of this Q&A.
BSG Event Answers For Healthy Woman Members
by CJ Harlan
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