When Anxiety Shows up at Your Front Door

Cartoon image of a dark grey cloud hovering outside a front door

Today’s article was written by Change Coach Kristina Bruce


Anxiety came knocking on my door the other day, and walked right into my house.


It’s still here actually, sitting on my couch, looking quite comfortable. I have no idea when it will leave.


My immediate reaction when it arrived was, “Oh, you again.” Instead of welcoming it in, I started to think of how I could get it to go away.


“What if I breathe deeply, will that work?” Sometimes it does.


“What if I can see that anxiety is just a product of thinking?” That often helps.


“What if I can see it as a messenger telling me I’m believing something that isn’t true?” That tends to make it go away.


But not this time.


Despite breathing deeply, seeing the thoughts, and knowing I’m believing something that isn’t true, anxiety is still here (and apparently it just ordered Uber Eats so who knows how long it will be staying.)


What I also notice is that my irritation with it, my rejection of it, isn’t doing anything to make it go away.


I’m lying on the floor (‘cause it’s on my couch, eating Uber Eats), and I’m doing my best to be with it. I mean really, what other choice do I have at this point?


I’ll occasionally lift my head up and wonder if it’s making any movements, but then I’ll lay my head down again and just allow it to Netflix and chill (it just started watching This is Us.)


I start thinking about what was happening when anxiety showed up. I can recall several things: my mind was naming off the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” of how to spend my time. Fraudulent charges were made on my credit card. And there was that gathering with pre-school Moms, conjuring up old familiar feelings of wanting to be liked.


The mind, always looking for a “reason”. Just wanting to “know” why anxiety showed up, so that it could maybe prevent it from showing up again.


But then some other thoughts come into my awareness. Thoughts that weren’t front and center, but hanging out in the background. Thoughts, like “anxiety is bad”, “it means something is wrong”, “the goal is to only ever feel peaceful” (see it really is all thought!)


And I can see that if those thoughts weren’t there, or if I didn’t believe those thoughts, anxiety being here wouldn’t be a problem.


I see that the thoughts saying anxiety is a problem, makes it a problem. Not the feeling of anxiety itself.


Aside from taking up space on my couch, anxiety isn’t really doing anything. Yeah I feel its presence, and I find myself taking some deep breaths, but when I don’t see it as a problem (as something that “shouldn’t” be here), space opens up.


I have no idea how long anxiety will be stay, but I don’t need to know. Like all other past visitors (anger, sadness etc.) it will leave at some point. In the meantime, I’ll go get it a cup of tea.


But I draw the line at us sharing a Netflix account.


Find out more about Kristina here: https://www.kristinabruce.com/



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