Jennifer Jade Merrihue
ANXIETY AND PANIC
ANXIETY AND PANIC are responses to keep us alive.
Even being hyper-aware of your surrounding, how you are performing, how others are performing, cleanliness, how you look, and what you own, are all instincts of survival.
Believing we can control our environment can sometimes give us the illusion of safety and expectation.
Those of us that suffer from anxiety- are actually experiencing a constant state of dread for what’s to come.
Because anxiety typically comes in clusters, when we look at what isn’t working in our life, we must take inventory of what’s getting in the way.
Many of the people I work with struggle with the intensity of being both perfectionists AND chronic procrastinators.
It doesn’t surprise me we work together because I used to be the same.
It’s fascinating to be diagnosed ADD from such a young age and really not have that be an issue anymore.
I suspect a lot of what was being diagnosed had to do with some terribly unhelpful fundamental beliefs about my performance and what it meant to my survival.
Children are run by survival instincts WAY more than us adults because they have yet to dissect, analyst, and name the things that run them.
But if you from a young age believed that you had to be good to be loved, you had to get good grades to be loved, you had to have perfect manners to be loved, basically, if you believe you had to be a certain way in order to be worthy of your parents love— you too many have some fundamentally unhelpful beliefs about the world we live in.
As children, our survival does depend on our parents, food, clean water, affection, etc.
So when a parent threatens a child, even very subtly, that child may feel like their livelihood is in danger if they can’t show up perfectly for the parent.
This is especially exasperated in kids with parents who were inconsistent with their expectations and messaging.
Or with kids who had two parents who drastically disagreed on what was expected of the child.
The truth is that you can fail in life and be completely loved and make money and be safe.
But to understand this in a way that gives us the freedom to want to actually risk a life worth living- we have to unlearn all the garbage we picked up from past generations (who were in all fairness doing their absolute best with what they knew at the time).
Procrastination can many times result when we trigger one of these unhelpful beliefs. Example - if I don’t finish this assignment on time, I’ll be even more behind, I’ll never be successful, never get a job, and essentially be homeless and disappoint any and everyone who ever believed in me.
Now maybe you don’t think your anxiety is this complex, but I invite you to really look at what’s being activated when you get triggered, and what you make it mean.
Most of the time the anxiety is actually resulting from things that are just not logically true.
But because we understood them to be true when we learned them (typically as children), they still run the show.
We are blessed to be living in this day.
We have so many tools for us to understand ourselves and each other. We have so many tools to heal, so many tools to learn.
Today I give you a little hack around our breath.
When you are feeling anxious or panicked or like you are procrastinating, stop and breathe as it says on the attached image. At least four rounds.
Put the anxiety into words and write it down (which uses the other side of your brain- so brings you more clarity and awareness).
See if you can find the underlying assumption/s and ask yourself if these are really true. If you were to ask yourself,
“Can I absolutely, without a doubt, know that this is true?”
And only answer YES or NO.
What do you find?