The 3 A’s Of Mastering Anxiety
“Strong. Inspirational. Fearless.”
These are adjectives real life friends have used to describe my virtual presence lately.
I greatly appreciate that you see me this way. I do.
But you are also somewhat mistaken. I want to be clear about this.
I do not act with an absence of fear. In fact, I feel fear quite viscerally.
I was in the car with my cousin the week after I found out I might have lung cancer. I described how I had this peculiar feeling that I was drowning emotionally and my gut region was taking arms against it. I found myself constantly taking deep breaths as if a deep breath could take me above the emotional water, even if for a brief moment.
But it never could. The feeling would always linger.
“That is anxiety Imaan… and it would be weird if you didn’t feel anxiety right now.”
My cousin was right. And here is where you, my real life friends, are also right.
It was not the absence of fear that drove me. It was an awareness, acceptance, and application of the anxiety that propelled me forward.
I call these the 3 A’s of Mastering Anxiety.
1 — Awareness
I believe anxiety emerges from one’s endeavors to cope with 4 “harsh facts of life”: 1- the inevitability of death for ourselves and those we love, 2- the freedom to make our lives, 3- our ultimate loneliness, and 4- the absence of inherent meaning to life.
I can take almost any decision I make and connect it to one of these 4. I studied with my friend today to escape loneliness. I feel overwhelmed in having to decide what to do this weekend because of the freedom. I started a social dancing network called the Omni Movement as a “metaphoric child” to have a part of me live beyond me, an “immortality project” as psychiatrists would call it.
Be aware of your anxieties.
Tony Robbins played a fun game when interviewed by James Altucher. He asked James what his two biggest fears are to which James described 1- the fear of being cheated on and 2- the fear of his loved ones dying.
Tony then asked James how many members of his audience might share those same fears. They agreed it would be close to 100%.
“You see James, those thoughts aren’t yours. They’ve been around a lot longer than you or I have been.”
We are all just barely holding it together in this game of life.
Anxiety isn’t personal. It’s pervasive.
Accept this and move on.
Did you know anxiety and excitement are both arousal states and have similar symptoms in the body.
I recently started a habit. When I feel anxious, I tell myself “I am feeling excited” 5 times.
I then write. Or run. Or dance. Or do something, anything, with the energy.
And while anxiety diminished motivation, excitement enhances it.
You see the best thing I ever did for my anxiety was to give it a purpose. To say thank you for warning me. For caring about me.
This relationship with anxiety strengthened my resolve during difficult times. It inspired me to begin writing and blogging. To view the obstacle of trauma as a challenge to understand myself and my perception of reality.
I am grateful for this relationship on this #GratiTuesday.
** Call to Action **
What do you do when you feel anxious? Share in the comments below!
About the Author: Imaan “PapaFuegz” Taghavi is the Founder of the Omni Movement, an endeavor to make improvised partner dancing, or social dancing, more accessible to you and the rest of the world.
He writes blogs to share his journey and inspire you in yours.
Check out the Omni Movement:
▶ How-To “Bachata Basics” https://goo.gl/K2nfFa
▶ Can you Learn Bachata in Less than 10 Minutes? https://goo.gl/jhxtt2
▶ Dancing in the Dining Room https://goo.gl/2tckOx