#Askingforafriend: 'Wisdom of Anxiety'

By Bryttney Huseas
GCU Office of Student Care
#Askingforafriend

When I initially heard “Wisdom of Anxiety,” I scoffed and thought, “There is no wisdom to be found when I am an anxious mess.”

Ha! But try this thought on: What if every emotion was leading us toward awareness of our experience and what we might be needing?

There is a biological component of “survival” in anxiety that historically has just tried to keep us safe. Unfortunately, our brain has a difficult time telling the difference between emotional safety and physical safety, for it is registered in the same two areas of the brain: the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex.

I point this out because the first part of our journey with anxiety is in gaining awareness. The goal is to gain mindfulness over our personal experience of anxiety.

Once we gain awareness, we then can help our mind and body tell the difference between an actual physical threat and an emotional threat and provide regulation where needed.

One practice that “Wisdom of Anxiety” author Sheryl Paul offers is to “become curious by noticing and naming.”

  • Take some time to write about what anxiety feels like. This means exploring what makes us anxious and what our thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, behaviors and urges might be around anxiety. Ask yourself, “What is my first memory of anxiety? How was my sensitivity and then my anxiety handled by my caregivers as a young person?” The key is exploring with curiosity: “Anxiety is not the enemy but a messenger.”
  • As anxiety comes up, notice without judgment and name it for what it is.
  • Practice meeting your anxiety with compassion. This can look like having a gentle, kind approach with yourself. Ask yourself, “How would I treat a small child who is feeling this way?” or “How would I treat a good friend who is telling me about these feelings?” and then try to extend that compassion toward yourself.

I would encourage anyone intrigued by this exercise and eager to have a refreshing approach to anxiety to check out Paul’s book.

May your mind be kind.

May your heart know its wholeness.

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Bible Verse

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. (1 John 3:1)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/