Since childhood, I have been anxious. I’m not the only one. Almost every woman I work with in my coaching practice has some form of anxiety. It can look like chronic worry, nervousness, overthinking, replaying scenarios in your head, overreactions to small things, maximizing the negative, minimizing the positive, people-pleasing, over-apologizing, fear of saying or doing something wrong, being distracted or unable to make decisions. All of which can lead you to feeling powerless unworthy, scared, and stuck.
Rates of anxiety and depression are about four times higher right now than they were in 2019, with close to one-third of US adults reporting symptoms of anxiety. You might also notice that your anxiety is rising due to the heaviness and ongoing pandemic. Are your demons—the ones you thought you’d dealt with long ago—slipping back out through the cracks? Are you finding it more difficult to push through and pretend you’re okay?
We have been taught to seek out the quick fix in our society. We’ve been taught to manage symptoms and problems. This is like trying keep a huge cork submerged in water. It requires constant effort and work—and almost all of our energy. The cork will pop back up if it is let go!
To really heal anxiety, I believe you have to redefine anxiety. You must learn to look at anxiety from a completely new perspective. It will help you let go of the proverbial “cork”, restore your energy, and regain control over your life, even when everything around is changing, uncertain, or unknown.
That is what my work and everything I do to help women with anxiety is all about. It’s about helping people take control of their mind, because that is where we actually live. While you interact with the outside world, most of your time is spent in your own mind, repeating the same thoughts, narratives and outcomes as yesterday. This is what leads to anxiety and feeling stuck.
The solution is spiritual. You must learn to have a deeper relationship with yourself. You also need to learn a positive system to navigate this always-changing world from a deeper place of wisdom, not just relentlessly trying to accomplish the impossible task of controlling other people, places, and events. Until you can solve the spiritual hole in your life, then you will continue to push down cork. Believing that if only that darn cork would stay under the water, you’ll be okay. That mindset gives power to corks, not you! It gives power to the circumstances and not to you. It gives power to others, not to you.
Your beliefs are what shape your reality. They influence how you see and experience everything. Your beliefs are not facts. This is one of the hardest things to grasp, because if you’ve been believing something for a long time you also have an emotional charge or home base that you live in. And your emotions drive your behavior and consequences—which perpetuates and reinforces your belief.
But here is the good news: Although your reality is your reality, you can change it. Change your relationship to your beliefs and internal reactions to it.
Here is a quick step to get you started. Although there are several proven steps to the framework I teach, for now, I want you to focus on this one action. It will help you get more insight and clarity about who you really are and what you can do to get unstuck to become the best version of yourself, without having to endlessly focus on problems, or just manage symptoms.
Write down the answers to these three simple, but profound questions on a piece of paper. Before you begin, sit quietly and take a few deep breaths. This exercise can be repeated seven days a week for a total of 10 minutes. Write down everything that comes to your mind and heart. There are no wrong answers. You will find that so much wonderful wisdom will come forth the more you open your heart and mind, and just do this:
- Before I was afraid to be me, who was I?
- Who was I before I was told by the world who I should be
- What is the one thing I can immediately do to bring this part back into my life?
You, my friend, are beyond powerful. It is the most rewarding work you can do. You are a better person and the world is a happier place. You are more likely to show up and serve others when you are happier. Taking your power back will not only positively and profoundly change your life—it transforms your world!