Love All, Serve All

The closest of my friends and family know this about me already, and now I want my blog readers to know. I don’t have a habit about sharing these kinds of things openly, but I need to. I need to because there are other people who struggle the same. Somebody needs to know that they are not alone, and I need to know that I’m not alone.

I’ve struggled very much with anxiety. How to describe my anxiety? Words cannot give an accurate or literal description. The more literature I consume and the more I continue my education in communications, then the more I realize the value of metaphors, parables, and similes. They describe that which cannot be defined in perfect accuracy. Keep that in mind.

Outwardly, my life is so great. I don’t confine my personality. I don’t confine my thoughts. I don’t confine my actions. I manifest how I want. I have many friends, many opportunities and much to involve myself in. My life is in fact quite unlimited. That is the reality.

Here is the un-reality part…

Anxiety is like an infectious disease. It rots my spirit and soul, and poisons my mind. It spoils my thoughts. It lies to me. It manifest itself outwardly as panic and mania. It high jacks the drivers seat. It makes me feel nervous all day long. There is nothing to be nervous about, but I can feel it sitting in my chest. It prevents me from focusing. It puts me on one track. It sits on top of depression. When I’m suffering from anxiety, I react by distracting myself which is far from how I want to live my live. It will be with me when I fall asleep and wait for me until I open my eyes in the morning.

Because of all this, it affects the way I plan for the future. I often cancel plans because I don’t feel well. Because of this, I avoid making solid plans at all. If I give in, it will become a self feeding loop. The anxiety gives me fear, and the fear feeds the anxiety. Something that feeds it is the thought that other people don’t understand. I look and behave normally on the outside, but on the inside, I’m not okay.

Here’s what I do. I shift my attitude by counting my blessings. I remind myself what I’m grateful for. I don’t want to write this blog without giving my secret antidote. Here’s a list of things you remind yourself of. These are things that I personally remind myself of often or every day.

  • My breath. Listen to your breath
  • My heartbeat. Feel your heartbeat
  • The sunshine. Feel the sunshine
  • My senses. Check in with your senses. Close your eyes. What do you hear? What do you smell?
  • The warm temperature inside. You could be freezing, and we all know how uncomfortable it is to be freezing. Being warm feels nice. Be grateful for that.
  • Conversation. This might be a distraction method also, but if you have conversation, than it might bring you back home.
  • Books
  • Good times. Think about your worst time. What distance have you come between then and now? Be grateful for that.
  • Coffee. Taste the richness of the coffee and the warmth of the liquid.
  • Music. Music can transport you to a different place. Take advantage of that.
  • A cigarette. Smoking is a terrible habit. But, if you are in crisis, a cigarette can be very relieving.
  • Your hands. This may be strange but try to get in the habit of feeling all the feelings in your hands. There’s a lot to notice.
  • Nature. I could write an entire blog about this one. First, look at the sky. Look at the trees. See the grass. Study the intricacy of a flower, or any plant for that matter.
  • Meditation. Always. Meditate
  • Marijuana. Yes, Marijuana. It has a very calming effect.

Be kind to yourself and others. I’m not a Mormon anymore, but if there is one thing that I remember well from the teaching of their leaders, it is that you must loose yourself in the service of others. Eastern teaching tell us the same. You must forget yourself. Gandhi reminded us that we must reduce ourselves to an absolute zero. This is a value that I try and live as often as possible.

This is all a mindful practice. I hope something here can help you come back to planet earth if you are suffering anxiety. Learn to make peace with the anxiety. You cannot fight it to go away. You have to make peace. You’ll see that when you make peace, then it looses it’s power. Sat Nam!

Erik H.

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