We live in a hyper speed world. I feel the frenzy of it everyday, and I am totally caught up in the whirl of it. While I’m pretty good at keeping up, I desperately need downtime to recharge my battery. Down time is something I do not give myself a lot of, and it’s taken a toll on me. This is when anxiety creeps it’s evil little head into my being, and my world feels like its been turned upside down.
Living in Los Angeles is a far cry from the life I was raised in. In those days all we had was time. My life was definitely much simpler and moved at a slower pace. Now that I’ve lived in Los Angeles for twenty plus years, this fast pace life isn’t new to me, it actually feels normal-ish. As I have gotten older, I feel the foundation of my roots becoming more relevant. The balancing act of what my body and mind need vs. what I do with my time are at odds. Anxiety seems to be the symptom of this disharmony.
The frenzy of the kids activities, their emotions, their school, my hectic schedule and my husbands busy life, fling me out of balance almost daily. Life is a balancing act, and learning how to balance is no easy feat. If we don’t fill up our own cup regularly, the well will surely run dry. Turns out I’m not so graceful at this balance thing. For so many years I have pushed those feelings of overwhelm deep down into a place where you can’t physically see me struggling, but deep inside I feel like I’m drowning. I know that those are big words, but that’s my ugly truth. I feel it in my gut, I feel it in my neck, I feel it in my back, and it causes great pain in my body, among other things. I have suffered with major GI issues, horrible headaches, and most recently lower back issues. I am certain that these are all manifestations of repressed feelings.
The best advice that someone gave me was to just sit with these feelings. Fully experience the feelings of fear, overwhelm, sadness, self judgement, etc. without distraction. It’s a scary experience to really let those things come up and out. I have recognized that all of my frenzied “doing” is a diversion from addressing all of these repressed feelings of mine. I mean who has time to deal with all of that junk right? Unfortunately, we can only distract ourselves from the truth for so long. My distraction of choice is massive busyness, others might use a substance, the list goes on of what we do to shield ourselves from the root of our hurt.
In my quest of self healing, I have incorporated working out at least twice a week to expel some unwanted energy. I also write and I play the piano, which lower my heart rate and push me into massive presence. These experiences, in many cases, have taken me down off the cliff. Phew. In all seriousness, finding things that bring you joy, or in the very least, neutrality, can really calm ones nervous system. I also dove into the practice of meditation, which slows the breath and stretches you into learning how to have dominion over your mind. Imagine that ! Actually controlling the noise in your head and deepening into your heart instead. What a concept. I am also reading actual books, which transport me into another framework, giving my own a well needed break.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who was also trying to find something tangible to help relieve her own anxiety. I suggested she write down on a piece of paper things that bring her joy. When you can write down those things that make you happy you can go to that space in those moments of overwhelm. They will serve as an anchor. In addition, we cannot forget that many of our children are dealing with anxiety as well. Their little bodies and minds have a much harder time processing all that is expected of them in this frenzied age. All of their emotions need love too. As we learn to master our own healthy coping mechanisms, we can share them by example and as offerings to our little loved ones.