How to Break Anxiety's Power Over You and Enjoy Your Life Again

When you befriend your anxiety you free up all the energy you once used trying to shove it away. And so you'll feel lighter and more vibrant because you won't be constantly on guard wondering when the fear will ambush you, grab you by the throat, and choke the joy from your life.
01/21/2016 03:24 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017
Woman closeup covering his eyes with his hands.
Woman closeup covering his eyes with his hands.

You gnaw your fingernails while you pant like a dog shut in a car on a summer day.

Your mind skitters through countless scenarios.

What if they make fun of me?

What if they tell me to get lost?

What if there's a spider in my room... a snake in the toilet, I saw that on TV once my friend doesn't like me anymore my daughter gets hurt I crash the car IGetFired OMG OMG OMG!

And on it goes until you clamp your hands over your ears to keep your brain from exploding out of them.

Another day, another blast of anxiety. You want to shove it away; banish it to the outer rings of hell, because you're convinced if you could then it wouldn't torment you anymore.

When actually that's the opposite of what will make your anxiety stop persecuting you.

Why Telling Your Anxiety to Go to Hell Only Strengthens It

When we tell part of ourself to take a flying leap it lands in what psychiatrist Carl Jung called the shadow. That dark side of your personality; the one you feel pressured to hide, particularly because you're bombarded with relentless pressure to be positive no matter what's happening.

Seriously? Like pretending everything's ducky will somehow make your life as magically delicious as a box of Lucky Charms -- all rainbows, pots of gold, and frolicking leprechauns. And if you're anxious it must be your own damn fault, right? Sucks to be you!

Time to call bullshit.

Because pretending your troublesome parts don't exist doesn't lessen their power. Instead, their hold on you intensifies. As Jung said, "Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is."

So be kind to yourself. Ditch the pathology of fake positivity, acknowledge your apprehension and do something most people would never consider: Welcome the anxiety and bring it fully into your life.

How To Melt Anxiety's Power Over You

Use the power of mindfulness to face your anxiety and welcome it into the light of your awareness.

With a regular mindfulness meditation practice, you'll discover how to immerse yourself in the anxiety, yet stay calm while it's erupting. If you get shook, you'll be able to steady yourself. If you feel tense, you'll be able to soothe yourself and carry on.

And instead of getting down on yourself for feeling anxious, you'll change your relationship with anxiety to one of friendly curiosity. Even if you can be curious for only a moment, that's progress! The moments will string together into longer periods of time until anxiety becomes your frenemy; then, with regular practice, it becomes your ally.

Ten minutes a day will get you started. Commit to just 10 minutes a day for one week. You'll notice a difference.

But if life happens and blows you off your mindfulness practice, simply start up again. And please, no beating yourself up or feeling like a failure! As Julia Child once said, "If you drop the lamb you can always just pick it up. Who's going to know?"

Get Ready to Enjoy Your Life Again

When you befriend your anxiety you free up all the energy you once used trying to shove it away. And so you'll feel lighter and more vibrant because you won't be constantly on guard wondering when the fear will ambush you, grab you by the throat, and choke the joy from your life.

Instead, you'll discover that when anxiety comes a-knocking you'll welcome it like you would an old friend who showed up at your door. Then you'll fling the door open and invite your anxiety inside for a visit. You'll delight in its company, because you'll have discovered how to transform it from the shadow into the light.

Now take the first step. Start a regular mindfulness practice.

And be ready to enjoy life's sweetness again.

Author Bio

Lynn Hauka teaches meditation to people who want to let go of life's craziness.

Get your free 10-minute guided meditation at QuitTheCrazy.com and discover how to be calm even when life happens. It's like having your own personal meditation coach whenever you need one.

You'll also get practical tips and real-life stories that will inspire and move you. So come join the Quit The Crazy community and discover the many benefits of mediation! Because life's too short to be nuts.

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