9/19/16 ANXIETY

Anxiety is the subtle and pervasive destroyer of our happiness. It depends upon our thoughts of past and future. It cannot exist in the present. In fact, anxiety is so pervasive in our culture that people often don't notice it until their mind becomes quieter and more present.

Each person has different sensations in the body that signal anxiety; the heart may speed up, breathing may become shallow, muscles may tense. each person also has different thoughts that accompany anxiety; "I'm no good at this", "this is a hopeless situation"," nobody likes me".

When you are able to recognize and observe episodes of anxiety, you will begin to see patterns, certain types of events or situations that are the seed from which anxiety begins and quickly grows.

It is important to learn to recognize anxiety in its earliest manifestations, and to develop tools to dispel it. As we see anxiety creeping in we need to turn the mind away from thoughts of the past and future and toward a wholesome practice such as deep breathing to bring us into the present moment. The breath can also move us into our bodies and get us out of our minds. In this way, we are not thinking thoughts in our minds but instead moving into our bodies.

Gradually we learn to detect and disarm our anxiety earlier. The habit patterns are weakened, and anxiety no longer has such a strong hold on us. One thing follows another in perfect order, and our worries and anxiety melt away.

Excerpt from " How to Train a Wild Elephant", by Jan Chozen Bays