We talk too much, often expressing what we think we desire rather than taking time to listen to ourselves… it’s no wonder we fluctuate between anxiety and depression. Our default focus tends to be on the anxiety producing concerns of what others are thinking or doing, on what should be or could be, and on what appears as the accepting consensus. All the while, the depressed soul withers from its unattended cries of purpose, identity, needs, and passions. It’s hard to explain this to the disquieted person. It seems it has become easier to increase dosages and wait in line for a prescription than to address the pressing matter of who we really are, what living is really about, and how to live according to our individual purpose. We live in a sedated society, medicated by detached practitioners who themselves, through ignorance, evade the real issues and causes of anxiety, depression, addiction, and other ailments.
When we want to express our most profound sentiments, our rawest emotions, dreams, fears, or opinions in any given moment on any given circumstance, but fail to do so, we commit the greatest offense to the self. When we’re filled with a passionate idea but bite the tongue out of fear of being criticized or oppressed, it is the equivalency of self-mutilation-a denial of our unique creativity. In attempting to gain acceptance we lose the part of ourselves that earnestly seeks authenticity, the part of ourselves that yearns to find its place in the world. In turn, our vibrancy is diminished and our confidence withers. It is better to be daring and speak one’s mind risking ridicule and ostracism than to keep silent to appease the masses. The former you can quickly recover from, but the latter creates irreparable damage to the soul.
I often emphasize the present moment as a way to get clients away from the worries of tomorrow and the misfortunes of yesterday. However, sometimes there’s too much pain in the present to tell anyone to be mindful of the “now.” Sometimes, there’s too much pain to paint anyone a pretty picture… it invalidates the experience and you render yourself useless no matter how good your intentions may be. Any variation of getting people to look on the bright side of their circumstances can broaden the gap of what stands between their surrounding darkness and hope.
A person who has lost the will to live cannot be coerced to reframe or alter the narrative of the crisis. The crisis, be it the loss of freedom, a child, an illness, or abuse, is remedied through a rigorous validation and honesty. Both the sufferer and helper must bring forth an honesty of the situation that conveys the present reality for what it is- painful and seemingly intolerable. Yet, the future must always be accounted for with just as much honesty and responsibility as the present. While the moment may prove harsh, the future provides an infinite amount of possibilities-hope reigns abundantly in the future- hope of less pain and more peace, hope of reconciling the worst acts, the healing of deep wounds, the regaining of freedom, and the refining of one’s character made possible by difficult times.
I’d like you to try something. I want you to feel your anxiety, the train of thoughts , the hamster on the wheel, the fear, that overwhelming pressure of stress.
Ok, now I’d like you accept it without judgement. This is the hard part.
How is this helpful? What is the point? Did a therapist really just tell me to be anxious?
Well, acknowledgement of your feelings can allow you to regroup and refocus, to better react. Our amygdala is about the size of pea, and it’s responsible for all those things that keep us up all night, going over the lists of what was wrong and what was right. But, if we can take the time and step outside of the abstract picture of thought and see the frame, we can better see the painting.
I have been a drummer for about 17 years. Occasionally, in my new band ( no this isn’t self promotion) I need to play a drum solo. It can be nerve racking and stressful , especially in the middle of an intense show where I am drenched in sweat. Benny Greb, a drummer once said: ” If you can step outside that zone, the zone of thought , and regroup and refocus yourself , you can perform better because you are not on autopilot mode.”
So the next time you are feeling anxious, the next time life hands you a drum solo of anxiety, take the time to regroup and refocus. Mindfulness, isn’t just some new age meditation. Through controlled breathing , visualizing with hope and slowing your thoughts down, you can control how you want to approach a situation at work, at home or on stage.
Is it really possible to make meaning out of every moment? Some people may say that their lives are characterized by a general sense of design and meaning but to say our daily occurrences and experiences are filled with purpose may seem like a spiritual ideal-an inspirational quote at best. If life contains order and perfect design, why are our daily routines lacking purpose? The problem lies in distorted roles. We have become infatuated with our stance on receiving and have neglected the natural life sustaining approach of bestowal. At every turn of our waking hours we are bombarded by someone or something attempting to sell us a product that will provide gratification. As a result, this has increasingly become our default mode in which our innate drive to give and love altruistically has withered under the illusion of ‘receiving equals fulfillment.’ The obsession to have is a subtle addiction producing apathy and indifference towards others. Many times than not, the cause of depression and anxiety stems from an existential crisis where purpose is lacking and the individual finds no meaning. Once the distorted belief that attaining ‘things’ is broken (switching mindset from receiving to giving) and the individual begins living a life of service in which love, elevation, and healing is bestowed on to others, the meaning of one’s purpose is drastically enhanced.
The greatest determinant in overcoming anxiety is not based on the type of pill we ingest, but on the type of perspective we choose to acquire and maintain throughout our lives. Change is occurring at every moment whether we desire it or not. It is as present and with us as air, and yet we often resist it. The degree of resistance to any circumstance equates the degree of anxiety experienced. Often, the onset of anxiety serves as a signal indicating that change is occurring.
Reframe your perspective on change and anxiety. Change is natural and necessary for all of creation-often occurring for the benefit of the individual and the greater good. Anxiety is the sign that this is happening to us. Embrace and enjoy the experience!
For steps 1 and 2 on anxiety click below:
Anxiety: Step One
Anxiety: Step Two
Nothing adds more to stress and anxiety than suppression and inauthenticity. Roles are important as we need to adjust limits and traits accordingly to our surroundings. But when we constantly keep the true self hidden, we deprive the soul of nourishment and freedom. The soul finds peace and acceptance through remaining true to itself. Concealing our beliefs, feelings, desires, thoughts, quirks, etc. is a falsehood leaving the soul to grumble in search of expression.
Make a decision to gradually step away from any presumed role. Meditate on the analogy of roles being likened to garments we switch on or off at anytime while the body (soul) being essential, takes precedence. Eliminate any doubt, bureaucracy, and past messages of the person you should be. Trust that being you is the way you were meant to be.
For Step One on relieving anxiety click link below:
For Step Three click here
The first step in resolving any ailment is through reduction, never addition. Adding medication to the root causes of anxiety is a temporary quick fix that leads to seeking more of the medicine to sedate the underlining issue. Medicine can be beneficial in some cases but if you have not taken the step of removing falsehoods from your life, anxiety will always fester and find it’s abode within you.
Step 1: Stop people pleasing.
Learn to say no and set boundaries. While this may initially create feelings of discomfort, over time it produces a sense of fulfillment and honor for one’s self and outweighs the inner turmoil of saying yes when we really want to say no.
click below for steps two and three:
Anxiety: Step Two
Anxiety: Step Three
Meditation will not rid you of inner turmoil, being completely sincere will. Do this often. Then meditate.