Hello folks! Sorry for the delay in posting, I was down visiting my cousins in Utah for July 4th. I hope you all had a wonderful long weekend and if you are in Calgary, I hope you’re going downtown and enjoying the Stampede.
This week in our discussion we will be delving into Chapter 5 of Dr. I Rosenberg’s book “90 Seconds to a Life You Love”. This chapter focuses on anxiety and how we can release it in positive and constructive ways.
For me personally, I have struggled with anxiety most of my life and at times it has kept me safe, but at other times it has hindered me and held me back. In Rosenberg’s book, she states “[y]our anxiety need not emotionally paralyze you nor prevent you from pursuing your goals and the life you dream about” (pg. 95). I think this quote is so profound as it can often feel like your anxiety is controlling and reigning over your life. Even though struggling with anxiety can feel frustrating, it does not have to paralyze you.
One way of controlling your anxiety is to fully unpack and assess the situation at hand, and if you truly are in danger (which most of the time, we aren’t). Rosenberg says “anxiety has to do with emotional avoidance” (pg. 95). This rings so true! Often when I feel upset, angry or sad over a situation, I unconsciously turn to anxiety to try and defend myself from my others feelings by overwhelming myself with what if’s, rumination and overthinking. Not a fun ride, unlike the midway at the Stampede.
In your future encounters with any of the eight emotions we have explored in the preceding weeks, I encourage you to keenly observe whether you tend to resort to anxiety as a coping mechanism. Should you find yourself inclined towards anxiety, take a moment to acknowledge this inclination and proactively adapt your response for subsequent instances. Give yourself enough space to consider the emotion UNDERNEATH the anxiety. By doing so, you empower yourself to genuinely experience all of your emotions (emotions are not dangerous rather clues) and may also uncover values or boundaries that may be needed regarding the circumstance that provoked your distress to begin with. Remember, this conscious approach to understanding and managing your feelings will foster personal growth and well-being.
Another thing I notice about myself that I am sure many others can relate to, is that I often default to anxiety even when I am feeling happy emotions. I could have a super fun night out with my friends and feel elated, and then choose anxious habits and ruminate or overthink each interaction in order to avoid the feeling of vulnerability and closeness that my wonderful evening moved me towards. My brain often says to itself “if I come up with every possible worst case scenario, then I won’t be upset or embarrassed if it comes true because I won’t let it, or I won’t stick around long enough for it to happen.” When I go down this rabbit hole, I completely rob myself of the joy I feel being with people that love me and whom I love. This is a habitual response pattern I want to change – the pathway to do so is to:
- Notice when I am doing it.
- Lean into the experience of vulnerability (practice tolerating it)
- Ride out the emotion for 90 seconds (notice and feel it in my body)
Once we can learn to openly embrace our feelings and implement techniques to stop us from the vicious anxiety cycle, we can then get one step closer to living a life we love!
In the coming posts, I will just be doing one blog per chapter, so get ready for next week’s discussion on Chapter 6, Resolving Faulty Thinking.
Madison is a Psychology Assistant; Digital Marketing Assistant at Eckert Centre. She is a university student majoring in psychology at the University of British Columbia. She is our blogger in residence, and we are grateful she is sharing her writing skills along with her mental health journey. May her young wisdom help all of us grow our “Wise Self.” For more information or to book an appointment, visit www.eckertcentre.com or email our team at info@eckert- psychology.com
Rosenberg, Joan I. 90 Seconds to a Life You Love: How to Master Your Difficult Feelings to Cultivate Lasting... Confidence, Resilience, and Authenticity. Little Brown Spark, 2020. Apple Books, https://books.apple.com/us/book/90-seconds-to-a-life-you-love/id1466751090.