Anxiety has many of the same characteristics as fear. It often pulls our minds and awareness out of the present moment into worry about the immediate future. Here are some physical symptoms of anxiety:
- Speeded Up And/Or Pounding Heartbeat Or Irregular Pulse
- Shortness Of Breathe
- Shaking, Nervous Trembling
- Fear Of Going Crazy Or Dying Or Losing Control
- Abdominal Discomfort
Sometimes anxiety grows to the point of a Panic Attack. A comprehensive program of Anxiety and Panic Management can have several components as described here. These include training in relaxation skills, thought challenging and reframing skills and desensitization practices (where anxiety is associated with a place or activity).
Meditation for Anxiety
I've found that a unique form of meditation called Agni Yoga Meditation can be particularly useful for reducing anxiety and panic. But most forms of meditation can help calm and relax the mind and body.
The Gift Of Anxiety
When anxiety is not going away it may be because it is there to teach us something about our lives and our situation. One of the differences between anxiety and fear is that fear often has a clear target, we are afraid of something. But with anxiety, it's often much harder to identify the cause and get to what we are supposed to learn.
Questions to ask yourself:
What is the threat to me?
What is missing in my life?
What am I denying? Hiding From?
The gift, hidden in the physical symptoms of anxiety, tell us to pay attention, rather than avoid or suppress.
But attention to what? That may require some exploring, such as looking into your dreams and fantasies and what is out of balance or missing in your life. Here, psychotherapy can be helpful.
Our retreats, either the Grief and Loss Retreat or the Shalom Retreat, can be especially helpful, because they help us go way beyond the physical symptoms of anxiety into the deeper issues of our lives. Rather than avoid uncomfortable feelings, we learn to open to them and find out what they have to teach us.
Anxiety often points the way towards something that needs to be changed in our lives. But when we are caught up in it, it takes us away from ourselves in the present moment, and instead, we experience a variety of uncomfortable symptoms.
As we work through the anxiety and discover its gifts, we return to the power and love available to ourselves in the present moment, with more awareness, compassion, courage and wisdom than we have ever had.
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