In a recent episode from my radio show, Uplift Your Life: Nourishment of the Spirit, my guest, Corinne Zupko, and I discuss practical ways to eliminate anxiety. In this blog, follow Marian Stephens’ progress as she shares how she is using the information in the episode to change her life. All my previous blogs are on my website, paulajoyce.com – be sure to check them out.
Dr. Paula’s Tip of the Week
We are taught from a young age to suppress negative emotions such as sadness, anger, worry, fear, and other painful feelings. While it is momentarily more comfortable to avoid painful feelings rather than experiencing them, it can lead to chronic anxiety and depression.
My Tip for this week from my e-book, 33 Tips for Self-Empowerment, is: allow yourself to feel. Robert Frost said: “The only way around it, is through it.” When faced with emotional pain, allow yourself to feel the pain. Then let it go. Crying releases stress hormones from your body. This makes room for the joy. If you have difficulty feeling your emotions, rent a sad movie to help you connect to your feelings. We spend far too much time avoiding our feelings, which only strengthens them and forces them underground. We believe they’re gone, but they’re just changing form. Pain must be acknowledged and if we don’t do it when it’s a thought or an emotion, it will become a pain in our body or a disease that doesn’t allow us to ignore it. As children we may have been told not to be a cry baby or it doesn’t really hurt, or boys don’t cry. As adults, however, we have choices and we can choose a healthier path of feeling and letting go. Some believe that all you need to do is laugh and the difficult feelings will vanish. Yes, laughter is one important tool, but we need all the tools in our tool box and feeling our sadness, anger, frustration, etc. and crying are also important tools for leading an emotionally, mentally and physically healthy life. Free floating anxiety is usually all those feelings that got stuffed down because it wasn’t safe to feel them. And what is depression if not depressing, in other words pressing down, our feelings and thoughts that may not be acceptable to those who we want to value and love us. We may not have many choices as children, but as adults, we can choose to be around people who love us for who we truly are and not for who they want us to be. Pay attention to who supports the real you, who makes you feel good and who is trying to twist you into something or someone you are not. You can choose to allow those people to stay in your life or you can choose new options.
Dr. Paula’s Silver Lining Story
Teaching children to recognize and manage anxiety from a young age is key to helping them become self-confident, self-sufficient, and self-reliant adults.
My silver lining story this week is about a client whose parents didn’t help him learn autonomy. When my client, Scott, came in this week, he was so filled with anxiety that he had skipped work. Fortunately, he understood that this was a good sign because something was coming to the surface that was ready to be felt and released. As we talked and worked with my Ultimate Creative Problem Solving Process, it became clear that some hidden fears were ready to be addressed. Scott had been home schooled and raised to be dependent upon his parents. He was not given the life skills, self-confidence and belief that he could have a successful career, marriage and life outside of his parents’ home. In fact, one of his adult siblings is still living at home. A few months into having his own apartment, living close to his girlfriend and earning a good income at his childhood dream job, the anxiety became intolerable. The fears and self-doubt were taking over and Scott froze. What if his parents were right, and he couldn’t make it on his own? This wasn’t a game or an experiment any more. This was real life with groceries to buy, laundry to do, an apartment to clean, the need to pay his own way and somehow be there for his girlfriend and himself. There was no one else to do it for him and no good parental role models showing him how to do it. Sure, he could do it for a few months, but what about a lifetime? His drawings showed that he wondered if he was going to soar like a rocket or self-destruct like a missile. We reviewed who he is today and how much he has accomplished in the short time we’ve been working together. We began to list his growth. We agreed that everything he has done so far proves that he is succeeding even though he was groomed for failure. Before he left, he said: “I know what’s next. I’m going to soar like a rocket.” And I, too, am confident he will continue to do so because he already is doing it. I suggested that he use this mantra when fears or anxiety surface, and I offer it to you as well: “peace in my mind, peace in my body, peace in my spirit, peace in my soul.”
Marian Stephens’ Story
In this episode on healing the mind and the body, reconciling some of the painful emotions I am holding onto has been in the forefront of my mind. My oldest son has special needs and parenting him has been a difficult journey. I feel a sense of loss – loss of a carefree experience with him as a young child, loss of having a close and easy relationship with him, loss of normalcy, and loss of celebrating the traditional achievements of him reaching adulthood. The pain has added up over many years, so it is taking time to sort through it. There are so many positive emotions I have about my relationship with him and the way I’ve raised him, but they do not negate the painful ones. We are beginning an intensive therapeutic program designed to help him reach stability and independence, and the first session was tremendously difficult. This week the upset of this appointment combined with a disappointing neurologist appointment, failed spring break plans, and not adequately taking care of my responsibilities culminated in a panic attack. I have not experienced an intense panic attack like this in a few years. Today’s show on healing anxiety could not have come at a better time.
Dr. Paula asks listeners how they are going to move from anxiety to love. Corinne Zupko’s advice is straight forward: to use your anxiety to wake up your “inner therapist”, find a willingness to view your anxiety differently, hand over your anxiety to your inner therapist, trust and be open to the idea that the answer has been given or will be as you are ready to receive it. I am beginning to be in touch with my limitless higher self, or inner therapist, so I want to try to hand over my painful, anxious feelings about parenting. Sometimes I cling to the harder memories of raising my son because they are part of my identity, a badge of honor I wear for the triumph of surviving the process. After the show, I realized this is my ego getting in the way of my growth and healing. I was completely wiped out after my panic attack, and I do not wish to feel that way again. This motivates me to just let it go. I am going to read From Anxiety to Love and begin meditating this week. I want to choose to tap into the source of infinite love we have access to and focus on that, not anxiety and worry.
Part of being able to tap into the source of infinite love (God) is to be on a spiritual path. I’m not on a traditional spiritual path, or even a prescribed path, and I sometimes let the lack of a name for what I’m doing get in the way of growth. It is enough to just be on a path to healing, and the rest will fall into place.
Dr. Paula’s Response
Marian, what you wrote here shows huge growth and is a triumph over adversity. I marvel at your ability and willingness to use the material in each episode to look inward, tell yourself the truth and implement changes to grow, heal and improve your health, well-being and life. Congratulations on using your panic attack to begin implementing ways to move from anxiety to love.
Here is another powerful spiritual technique. For optimum benefit, use it every morning upon waking and every night before going to sleep. It will help you release past negative emotions, avoid holding on to negativity as it occurs throughout the day, and help you heal, balance and stabilize your emotions. You can even do it with your son. Just say out loud or in a whisper:
“I ask the Universal Pink Heart of Love to surround me, the Universal Turquoise Heart of Love to surround the Pink Heart of Love and the Universal White Heart of Love to surround both hearts and that a gold cord go from the bottom of my heart chakra into the center of the earth.” As you say the words, visualize the hearts going around you and the gold cord going from the bottom of your heart chakra into the center of the earth. If you can’t visualize this, just trust that it is happening. The Universal Heart of Love in various colors is extremely powerful because it is pure love. Where there is love, no fear, stress, anxiety, guilt or any other negative emotion can exist.
For more shows on how to manage anxiety please listen to:
- A Practical Guide to Living A Course in Miracles with Maria Felipe
- Meditation as a Component of Healing with Tobin Blake
- The Stress Solution with Arthur P. Ciaramicoli, EdD, PhD
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