Anxiety is caused by a constant fear of the unknown, often linked to traumatic child-hood experiences. Anxiety continues to play out in our lives, triggered from various sources, until we gain the understanding and expand our awareness around it. For me personally, it started early on from childhood experiences combined with growing up in uncertainty. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety along with a few other things at an early age, as mentioned in Parenting Tips for ADHD. Overtime, it started impacting my health and that’s when I decided to make changes and face it through a daily practice of silence. This led me into the source of it, which allowed for me to understand and release it for deeper healing and change.
Helping children with anxiety
As children, conflict in the home such as yelling, abuse, or violence, can have a dramatic impact on their anxiety. Any experience that causes children to feel unsafe or threatened in their environment often leads to struggles with anxiety. Things like excessive yelling, fighting, tough love, manipulation, control or suppression, and emotional distancing, to list a few. In many ways children mirror their environment. They are like sponges and absorb the energy of their surroundings, so it’s not always the verbal or physical actions that cause anxiety, but the underlying feelings that they pick up from their surroundings. As children we don’t really understand what is going on. This lack of understanding causes them to act out in frustration due to the disconnect they feel within.
For parents that struggle with anxiety, work on being more centered and present within yourself. Children often mirror or reflect their parents inner state of being. As you change, your children will follow in time. For parents that have children with anxiety, work to be more present and engaged with them. Help your children communicate by being patient with them as you inquire about their thoughts and feelings. They may not have the words or understanding to convey what their going through, as anxiety creates all sorts of confusion. Be soft and inquire in a way that does not cause them to feel cornered or pressured to provide a response. This will help you hold the space for them which helps them shift to a safe calmer way of being, allowing for understanding. Anxiety creates mental blocks which impacts our ability to think, communicate, and feel. Exercise compassion and empathy as you work to be present with yourself and your children. Ask them questions casually while playing a game or doing something they enjoy, so they do not feel like they are being put on the spot with expectations.
Struggles and lessons
Every struggle that we have contains a lesson within it. I’m convinced that once we learn the lesson and gain the understanding, our awareness expands beyond and our struggle becomes a thing of the past. We might still get triggered but we notice it from a higher state, which grants us the ability to release before getting emotionally charged. We can prevent emotional reactions or flashbacks of past pain. This starts by becoming more present and mindful of our thoughts and emotions. We must learn how to get grounded and centered within the self. Meditation, a daily practice of silence, is crucial for this. We build up our mental muscles by embracing silence daily. This allows for us to remain in power of our thoughts and emotions, even if we become triggered. As things come up, learn how to observe without judgment. This is where a coach might benefit, as you can reach out for assistance to help you create that space on getting grounded and centered within yourself. As adults we can face these challenges and transform them. As children we are at the mercy of our parents until we are able to gain the necessary awareness ourselves.
Anything is possible, inner change begins with belief in yourself and your abilities.
Anxiety is a gift
Anymore, I see anxiety as a gift of freedom, as it brings us back to our true self when we come to understand it. That place within us, that is in complete acceptance with what-is. This inner space is where one finds guidance and security that remains undisturbed in a world of constant flux. In this, understanding arises around the source of the cause and trigger. Some are quick to label anxiety as a disorder or something that we have to live with for the rest of our lives. When we do this we continue to replay that story. We do have the potential to improve our lives for the better. The mind is pliable and can be changed as noted via neuroplasticity. We can improve any situation by becoming mindful of our thoughts and the stories that we tell ourselves. It does require effort, but only at first. Like any mental change, conscious effort leads to unconscious shifts in our mental habits.
How to release anxiety
The first step of releasing anxiety is by checking to see if you have attached to it as part of your identity. This starts by looking at our stories. When we attach to anxiety as a part of our story it becomes a part of our identity. When this happens, we block ourselves from healing. Anything that we attach to as part of our identity causes us to get triggered when we attempt to release it. This is because the ego freaks out when it shifts from the “known” to “unknown” – if we are still living from a place of control. Once we let go and bring awareness to the moment, it’s no longer an issue and we find freedom from attachment.
Do you find yourself talking to others about your struggles of anxiety? Is it something you use as a card when faced with challenges? Prior to me writing about my early struggles, very few people ever knew it was a struggle of mine. I rarely ever discussed it, as I released it as being a part of my identity a long time ago. This was a start of my healing, as it allowed me to stop replaying old stories in my mind so I could create a new stories of freedom. As I continued to dive into myself, I learned how to sit with it, reflect upon it, and surrender to it.
Surrendering to anxiety
We release anxiety by surrendering to it, by surrendering our thoughts and fears. In doing this we release the resistance we have to life and change. One of the challenges with anxiety is that we attempt to grasp onto things for a sense of security and safety, not realizing that leads to emotional triggering. So it’s important to learn how to sit with the self and surrender to what is. This is enhanced by releasing any critical judgment we have towards others and life, for our reactions to life perpetuate our struggles. Life is about change, and by learning how to become centered within we naturally embrace it. Learning where we are reactive to live displays our level of resistance to change and growth. In order to expand beyond, we need to see with clarity how we are resistant to life and change. We no longer fear the unknown but remain open and child-like to new discoveries and experiences. Meditation is huge for this and a daily practice of just a few minutes a day will drastically expand your awareness around it. Be easy on your self and learn how to have fun with this game called life.
Until next time,