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Stress, Anxiety & Fear

Welcome to June!

I love all seasons of the year, yet if I were to choose one month as my favourite, it would be June. I came into the world in this month and love the light, the birdsong, the promise of being outdoors more, the fact that it starts in Spring and completes in Summer, and much more….

What do you love about this month?

Its always a breath of fresh air to focus on what you love about something, rather than what’s going wrong or what is problematic, isn’t it? (Clue: It will change the course of your day if you let it! 🙂

June is also the month we have the opportunity to pause for Solstice; the day we experience the most hours of light from our sun. And the moment of pause before the days start to shorten again (if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere and the opposite of course otherwise – hello to those of you south of the equator). It’s also the time the energy lines around the earth come into harmony with each other.

If you are unaware, there are lines of energy that circle the earth, in all directions. They run in pairs, parallel to each other, and some are more powerful than others.  Some people may have heard of “ley lines” which are related. Birds, fish and other creatures migrate and move along energy lines in the air and oceans. Energy lines run across the land as well and apparently come into harmony with each other around the times of Solstice and Equinox. Harmony… doesn’t that sound like a breath of fresh air? I understand from Rory Duff, a geobiologist and expert in this area, that the lines are starting to harmonize over longer and longer periods. 

Now, to this month’s topic and that is: managing stress, anxiety or fear.

The good news is that there are many ways to manage stress, anxiety and all ways that fear may show up. The bad news (for some) is that it does take focus and energy.

And so that we are all on the same understanding, when I use the word “fear”, it includes everything that is of a contractive nature. There is physics behind this, however suffice it to say that in the duality or finite world in which we live, move and have our being, we experience energy as expansive or contractive – in the form of thoughts, feelings or otherwise. 

Love, happiness, peace, joy, fulfillment, purpose and meaning are all examples of expansive energy. Stress, anxiety, fight/flight fear, blame, shame, judgment etc. are all examples of contractive energy.

Most of us want more expansive energy and less contractive energy! Or, at least that is what we believe we desire.

So why doesn’t that happen?

We currently live in a world of duality that demands response and relief. We’ve been trained to expect that and get it from the outside. However, the way we react to stimulus of any kind is a patterned response that involves thoughts, hormones and other chemicals in the brain, and actions. 

Within the context of duality, changing that is physical change, and that is why it takes focus and some energy or positive effort. 

Now, if you read that as “hard” or “challenging”, it isn’t what I said 😊. The outcome from our focus and efforts can be very rewarding, and it can be a fun process. Consistency is, however, essential. I’ve included a suggestion later in this newsletter on what you can do for immediate relief (depending on what you’re experiencing). However, for real and sustainable change in your life requires an evolutionary shift in addition to changing some thought patterns and behavioral habits.

I was recently speaking with a client, and shared a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. It comes to mind here and goes something like this: All the water in the world won’t drown you unless you let it inside.

Many people believe the way they are is going to be the “way that it is” and always will be. We therefore content ourselves with learning the “tools” to bail the water that’s already inside – the water being contractive energy such as negativity, blame, shame, fear, anxiety, stress – choose your own “go-to”) in this metaphor. Tools and suggestions are wonderful, yet do you really want to have to use them?

The goal or vision is to have a boat or vehicle where we don’t let the water or negativity or blame, shame, fear, anxiety or stress etc. in, and therefore don’t have to bail in the first place! Certainly, that’s my preference. 

I love to canoe, and particularly to white water canoe, yet the thought of a life of constant bailing doesn’t appeal! 

Yes, techniques are helpful and may be required until you get to the point where you no longer need them. However, know that you don’t have to live in a leaky boat!

Many of us don’t even know we’re doing that. 

So, let me ask you a question:

What is your concept of yourself? 

How do you define yourself? Do you ever hear yourself saying: I’m stressed, or I’m always or tend to be an anxious person, or I’m just a ____________ person?

If so, and you’ve adopted a condition or pathology as part of your identity, then I invite you to reconsider that decision. Now, you may be saying I had no idea I was doing that. Most of us don’t. Yet by saying “I am_________” you are reinforcing that energy ad decreeing it to be so. 

We will own an element of identity or illness with beliefs such as: “my anxiety” or “my pain” or my [condition], rather than understanding that is an experience that you may be having and is in the body. However, it isn’t who you truly are.  

Now, that does not mean there are not certain facts we may be experiencing, were born with, or circumstances we may be negotiating and dealing with.

It’s a relationship – our relationship to, perceptions about and experience of the content that matters.

________

To deal with stress, anxiety or any fear, it’s helpful to understand the basis for it, then create a vision of what you’d love instead, make a decision for it, and then take action in support of the vision or goal.

A wise man I know, named Mikhail, once said: if you are in a workshop, with chairs in rows from back to front and you want to get from the back of the room to the front of the room, you don’t have to move all the chairs in the room. You just have to move the ones in your way.

So simple and so profound.

Yet, the only way we know what chairs are in our way is to know our “destination”. That is why I talk about vision a lot, and give workshops and webinars to help people start to think in these terms. Few of us learned to think this way as we were growing up. Yet it can make all the difference – it can lead to choice.

Vision is destination – and from there we can orient ourselves. For either we are living on the path of our destination and need some support along the way, or we’re wandering about, perhaps feeling lost or confused and wondering why on earth we’re here and why it matters…

 ___ 

Back to dealing with stress, anxiety and fear…

Perception’s law is that what you “see” reflects the mind of the perceiver.

Our minds, emotions and bodies are patterned or programmed through repetitive thoughts and experiences. For example, if you have a good experience with dogs as a child you are more likely to be neutral or enjoy being around them. However, if you had a bad experience, that memory will trigger certain chemicals in the brain we call fear, and you are less likely to want to interact with them.

I was out walking while ago along the country road where I live. As I was passing one of the houses a dog broke from its leash, and bounded across its property and onto the road where I was walking. Thankfully the owner heard the barking and ran out to hold her dog. Now, I’m an adult, and have had mostly good interactions with dogs. Yet this dog was in attack mode and my body responded and went into fight/flight mode – I could feel the cortisol and fear in the body. I haven’t felt that level of survival response in quite some time –

I have a healthy respect for wild animals, and up until then mostly good experiences with domestic dogs. That was a first where someone’s “pet” came after me and was positioned to attack. It has changed my behavior in that I no longer walk that route. 

I know it was that particular dog, rather than dogs in general. Yet, a child or someone else might have been imprinted to be afraid of all dogs. Every time that person comes across a dog, the cortisol and fear would arise. Over time, that generates a mental, emotional and physical pattern of experience. 

Know what I’m talking about? Consider for a moment, where you may have had an experience which then became a patterned response – it might be an emotion pattern, a mental pattern or a physical pattern:

  • Perhaps it was falling from a crib or high chair when you were a baby, and you’ve “always” had a fear of heights.
  • Perhaps your first love left you and broke your heart, and you’ve had a certain perspective or way of dealing with relationships ever since.
  • Perhaps you have a tendency to get angry every time someone does something specific, or you feel like the world is against you when [fill in the blank] or …

Every thought we have generates a chemical reaction in the body. When a situation triggers fear, cortisol or other hormones will start to flow through the body, and we have a response or reaction. 

We each have a “go to” reaction to stress, anxiety or fear.

I’ve noticed that this phenomenon is playing out on a collective level this past year. From my experience, and what I’ve seen, human beings are now somewhat conditioned to avoid others out of fear. Many of us aren’t even looking at each other. When you think about it, that is rather weird from a human level.

Now I’m not saying don’t take precautions. I’m not saying don’t follow guidelines. So, if you read that into what I wrote, consider asking yourself how you made that jump to that attack or defensiveness. What triggered that in your brain?

I only use this example because I see that we are in the middle of a shift, where people are unconsciously disconnecting from each other, so awareness can be valuable.

We, as human beings, have the power to think. What can think has choice and therefore we can be shown that different thoughts can have very different consequences.

____

One way to deal with stress, anxiety or fear, as mentioned at the beginning, is to focus on the destination – the front of the room – where you want to “go” – your goal. We can’t change others. We can only change ourselves and watch others adapt in response.

So here is something you can experiment with this month. 

1.    Ask yourself the following: What are 3 words to describe who I want to BE in the world?

  • What do I want to experience?
  • What kind of day do I want to have?

2.    Take a blank page of paper and put a line down the middle.

  • On the top of the left side write: My normal or “go to” reactions to stress, anxiety or fear.
  • On the top of the right side write: The way I want to BE.

Then fill in the columns. Here are some words as examples, however only write down the words that resonate and are relevant to you and your experience.

– On the left, the words may be: anxious, easily intimidated, lacking confidence, unhappy, negative thoughts, frustrated, hurt, confused, feel like a victim…

– On the right you might write: warm hearted, joyful, happy, peaceful, generous, loving, wise, calm, centered, beautiful …

3.    Select 3 of the words that resonate most with what you want to be on an ongoing basis, and write these 3 words down on a separate piece of paper.  Seriously, do write them down. The brain has a “funny” way of forgetting and returning to its prior pattern of thought. 

4.    Read the 3 words every morning and every evening (you could put them on the mirror and do this while you are brushing your teeth :).

5.    Keep a paper you’ve written them on close to you during the day. I write on a small piece of paper and then put it in front of my computer screen. Subconsciously that means I’m always looking at them for many hours of the day.

6.    Tell yourself frequently this is What and Who you are (even if it seems silly or you don’t believe it at first).

7.    Whenever something happens that is not in alignment with this – in other words, you notice that you are off track and responding in the way you don’t prefer – as soon as you notice and WITHOUT BLAME OR SHAME remind yourself of the 3 words and do your best to feel what the words communicate.

Now, sometimes we have already let the water inside us (to reference Eleanor Roosevelt), or we find ourselves indulging in the stress, anxiety or fear. (And, yes, I use the word “indulge” consciously, though without judgment.)

In that case, when you become aware of this, and have decided you want to experience those 3 words you wrote down, say the following (this comes from the book, A Course in Miracles, and can be powerful):

I forgot to decide.

At least I can decide I do not like what I feel now.

And so I hope I have been wrong.

I want another way of looking at this.

Perhaps there is another way of looking at this.

What can I lose by asking?

Then take 3 deep slow relaxing breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth –

Bring to mind the 3 words you want to Be and Experience. And allow yourself to feel them in your body.

Then, go on with your day, refreshed and realigned.

I encourage you to commit to this experiment for 7 days (and you can recommit if you find it helps). I’ve personally found it very helpful, and my clients have as well. See if you, too, become more of what you’d love to be.

I also have another resource that might be of interest to some, for there exists a much deeper process that is available to you to transmute patterns that no longer serve.  It can be found in the book called: The Final Elimination of the Source of Fear.  So, check that out if interested.

Enjoy a beautiful month!

Eve

PS. Here’s the link to my e-Book: 3 Easy Ways to Manage Stress, Anxiety & Fear

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