How familiar are you with your own anxiety? What do you feel beyond the layer of anxiety that envelops you during an attack? What thoughts go through your mind and with what intensity? And how about the bodily sensations you get as a result of experiencing anxiety? Are you fully aware of everything that your anxiety is?
If you’ve been struggling with anxiety you may feel like you are fully aware of it, after all you’re the one experiencing it.
Anxiety is a powerful emotion that oftentimes turns into a state. Due to the fact that anxiety has the potential to affect many different parts of ourselves (mind, affect, body, and behaviors), when dealing with anxiety we don’t function at our best.
With anxiety comes a lot of self-doubt, a vision/perception tinted by the most prominent of emotions: fear, and a deep sense of helplessness that keep us stuck and inert. Because of this massive gap created between reality and our perception of it, it seems little possible to be objective and rational with ourselves and our emotions. Still, not all is lost.
One of the best tools that you can use when you’re dealing with anxiety is a conscious engagement in self-awareness. Only by becoming self-aware can we truly get to see and understand all the aspects of anxiety, the mechanics behind it (triggers, internal dynamic, etc.), and with these the best strategy to use to work through it and resolve it.
It is little likely to succeed in the battle (with anxiety) unless you truly know your enemy (anxiety). By actively seeking to engage in self-awareness you are making a conscious decision to help yourself take the reins of anxiety.
In the moment, an anxiety episode can make you feel like nothing is under your control. It feels like the hardest thing to stop for a moment and just breathe, and you are able to do that.
Start with one moment at a time and ask nothing more of yourself but one deep conscious breath. With practice, you’ll be able to do this for more than one second at a time, and once you’re able to breathe at your normal rate (for small spurts of time) you’re able to engage your self-awareness and start observing what happens with you in the moment, the emotions you feel, and the thoughts that seem to spiral out of proportion.
Comment below and share with us whether you use breathing as a way to calm yourself when anxious and to engage your self awareness.