Anxiety – from the low background type to the intense panic type – is part of the human condition.
So is the desire to get rid of it.
And so is our capacity to access peace, purpose, freedom, and connection in its presence.
We always have the choice of encountering our discomfort gracefully and seeing it for what it is, or being a slave to it and longing for the day it will cease to exist.
We can become victims of our habitual strategies to resist or indulge our anxiety. Many of our efforts to avoid feeling anxiety can significantly diminish the quality of our lives.
Ironically, the more aware and accepting we are of its presence in our lives, the more choice we have in our response, and the less powerful and pervasive it becomes.
We can use 2-20 minutes each day to practice mindfulness – to intentionally bring awareness and acceptance to whatever is going on internally. This practice builds a foundation that we can return to when we are visited by discomfort.
This practice begins with a commitment to bring our attention to a sensation such as the breath. We notice and accept whatever we find.
When our attention wanders to another sensation or to a thought (it will), then we simply notice this and bring it back.
When we find ourselves resisting something we are feeling, we notice and accept that, and bring our attention back to the breath.
If we find ourselves caught in a story about the past or the future, then we simply notice and accept that and bring our attention back to the breath.
Over time, we find that we can accept almost anything that is going on internally. And when we can work peacefully and purposefully with what is going on inside us, we can work peacefully and purposefully with whatever is going on around us.