Responding to anxiety (rather than reacting to it)

Anxiety provokes an instant reaction “get me out of here”. This is called aversion. The appearance of anxiety feels like a set-back but fighting it is much worse. Beyond anxiety lies acceptance which is the greater gain.

We feel fear, even a sense of panic as we sense the arrival of this familiar uncomfortable visitor, we feel it rising  from the abdomen to the chest or throat. We notice our desire to move away from it but instead of reacting with avoidance we respond with our attention:  we observe, and accept our body and mind ─ just as they are in that moment;  no running away, no believing that it should be different ─ simply watching with open curiosity and kindness. We do this because we understand that suffering only deepens if we try to avoid it.

When we do this we stop yearning for an anxiety-free life. (Ironically, yearning for an anxiety-free life, itself becomes a source of anxiety!) Instead we grow in our capacity to simply accept this as it is right now ─ simply a visitor who that has arrived but will also go.

We don’t have to fight, nor struggle. The anxiety is not who you are; it is never more than a visitor who just as surely as he/she arrives will also go. It is just passing through. We simply allow it space to do so: “Hello, welcome and goodbye be seeing ya!”

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