Making Space for Anxiety

So how do we make space for anxiety?

Making space for anxiety looks like slowing down, noticing our heart is racing, our palms are sweating, our head feels light, our body feels tingly and shaky, naming that we are feeling anxious or nervous, and compassionately saying to ourselves “yep, this takes courage for me to be here and do this right now”. It looks like noticing that our mind wants to beat us up – “seriously, you’re still anxious about this?” “other people don’t have this much trouble with this,” “why are you so sensitive?” “you can’t do this,” – noticing these are painful stories, and responding to our mind compassionately, the way we might respond to our younger self or our child.

How do we choose how we want to show up even when we feel anxious?

Choosing how we want to show up means that we decide what matters to us most in this moment, we clarify how we want to behave in this moment, and we do our best to take action toward those values. We don’t get to choose if we feel anxious. We do get to choose if we are going show up and how we are going to respond to ourselves and others when we do.

  • Maybe it means going in for your annual check up in service of taking care of your health, and showing up to that appointment as someone who is assertive, compassionate, present, and grateful.

  • Maybe it means donating blood in service of giving back to your community and in service of facing a long held fear of needles, and showing up as someone who is open, brave, and willing.

  • Maybe it means getting on a plane to fly halfway across the world to attend the funeral of a loved one, and showing up to connect and share love and grief with family.

  • Maybe it means joining a dating app, going on a first date, and showing up as someone who is playful, kind, and authentic.

  • Maybe it means getting behind the wheel in service of being independent, and showing up as someone who is determined and perseveres.

We choose the action, we choose the qualities of being, and then we do our best and have compassion for ourselves if it doesn’t go exactly as hoped or planned.

Making space for one feeling often makes space for others too.

When we make space for anxiety and stop fighting with it and beating ourselves up for having it, sometimes we also make space for the possibility of a complex experience that includes both anxiety AND joy, connection, love, or pride.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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