Anxiety, when out of control, becomes all consuming. A swirl of negative thoughts and emotions occupy your head distracting you from daily living. The Four Gifts of Anxiety by Sherianna Boyle shows how to see anxiety as a way to tap into your potential and reconnect to your purpose, resilience, hope and empathy that can rescue you from the negative swirl and start living again.
I started reading this book shortly after being diagnosed with potentially three cancers. You can imagine that after receiving this news – my anxiety level hit the roof. I intently read this book hoping to find help to handle what I am facing.
The first step is to understand what anxiety is. Anxiety is the emotions that arise from unease, uncertainty and worry about the future. Your emotions can become so overpowering that they disable you from daily living. You stumble into the survival fight/flight/freeze stress response that when stretched for any length of time can have harmful physical consequences. This is when you need tools and ways to exit the mental swirl.
As with any psychological situation, it is your response to a situation that matters. You can choose to see a set of circumstances as negative or as a positive influence to make changes. It is from this view that Ms Boyle approaches anxiety as offering gifts for you to learn about yourself and improve your life. It is by centering yourself rather than being distracted where discovering your path begins.
Three chapters of the book are dedicated to show you how to center yourself using breathing and visualization exercises. Ms Boyle as a yoga/meditation teacher uses familiar techniques to bring you from you mental head processes and reconnect with your body and emotions. These exercises aim to bring you back into present time where you can relish the time you have instead of feeling like time is getting away from you. You learn to focus on what you enjoy and shed those things/activities/people that make you anxious.
Anxiety is your soul’s attempt to tell you what you really care about. Your fears say that you are out-of-sync with your true Self. By taking time to center and discover what you enjoy – you will discover your four inherent gifts.
Purpose: Your purpose is not about achievements and milestones. It is to live your life in a way that you pay attention to every encounter is significant and meaningful. With this approach you can focus on and become good at love – the most powerful positive life energy.
Resiliency: The fears that come from anxiety originate from your ego because it is trying hard to protect you. By listening to the emotions of your ego you can tune in to your truth. “Resilency happens when the wisdom of your heart and the comfort of your body are more pronounced that the voice of your ego.” By doing so says, Ms Boyle, you can start from a place of wholeness and love rather than lack of money or time. You can start to listen to your intuition to accept the present moment.
Hope: “Hope is the feeling inside you that lets you know something good is coming around the corner.” It is taking the present circumstances as part of a progression towards your gifts. This requires courage to deal with vulnerabilities along the way. It requires letting go by having faith and trust in your own Self.
Empathy: Your soul is connected through your empathy and emotional flow. By being aware and in touch with your emotions (emotional flow) then you can stay true to who you are and your path of growth.
For me a few sentences summarize dealing with anxiety:
“Every soul is meant to move along through its journey in its own way, in its own time frame and unique circumstances.”
“Hold your energy dear by choosing to focus on what is in the present moment. What you were and what you hope to be are no longer relevant… embrace.. and trust that your gifts will follow in due time.”
The messages and exercises are helping me re-center myself. I do a lot of yoga breathing and remind myself to embrace the present.