Most people see anxiety as their worst enemy, as a feeling to run away from. If we made peace with it, everything would be much better.
Last update: April 15, 2020
Many people suppress their anxiety and reject it. This malaise causes them so much shame that very often they do not think twice and do their utmost in the fight against this emotion. However, the anxiety always remains there, it does not disappear or become less intense. For this reason, experts advise accepting anxiety as an allyrather than experiencing it as an enemy.
Seeing anxiety as an ally for many people is not easy, first of all because they ignore the benefits it could bring to their lives. They may feel some fear at the thought of making certain changes.
Anxiety is famous, but it is not always understood
The concept of "anxiety" is spreading very quickly in a relatively short period of time. We live in a society where everything is fast, full of stress, habits, duties and very specific activities that do not allow us to connect with ourselves.
We live "attentive to what is happening outside", connected to the outside world. A changing world, full of unexpected events and uncertainty, many times beyond our control. This way of "running" up and down the world makes it difficult for us to stop and ask ourselves what we need.
We travel with active autopilot, without asking ourselves anything, fixed on the "complaining" mode and on negative thinking, until we get to think: this is not the life I have chosen.
In order not to face the fear of uncertainty, we lock ourselves in that comfort zone which is anything but comfortable and healthy, but which at least is familiar to us. The famous saying "better an egg today than a hen tomorrow" pushes us to conformism and, consequently, to anxiety.
This because we do not do or live what we need, proving to be inconsistent with ourselves. What we think, feel and do is not consistent with ourselves.
While it may seem impossible, we can do something about it. We have the power in our hands to implement some changes, although they may frighten us.
Badly viewed anxiety, like Maleficent
Anxiety does not have a good reputation. And it is normal, because it causes unpleasant symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, tightness in the chest, headache, stomach pain, breathing difficulties.
As with other emotions, the more we fight against it, the more it will become our enemy; vice versa, the more we learn to live with it, the more it will be our companion in everyday life. For this reason, experts recommend trying to flip the image we have of it and also the meaning we attribute to it, trying to understand it and experience anxiety as an ally, as something that works in our favor.
Although at first it may seem impossible to us, we can experience anxiety as an ally. To do this, we need to change the negative idea we have of this emotion.
How to start perceiving anxiety as an ally?
We should begin to think of anxiety as a feeling that alerts us to an emotional problem (and that we can address and correct). That is to say that we can take it as a kind of alarm bell, as a set of physical symptoms that warn us and remind us that we are not doing what we need, that perhaps we are going against ourselves, without listening to ourselves, without paying attention to ourselves, hurting us.
We begin by perceiving anxiety as an alarm bell that tells us that we are forgetting about ourselves and that we are giving too much importance to the outside world.
When we stop fighting anxiety and listen to the message it tries to give us, it stops gripping us. She is no longer that witch who comes to curse us, but that ally at our side who reminds us to take better care of ourselves.
Let's take an example: if we work too much and don't allow ourselves any time with family, partner, friends or even ourselves, maybe we are too demanding with ourselves and if we stop we will feel guilty.
Given this physical and mental overload, the body sends us unpleasant physical signals to indicate that we need to brake. In this case the message that anxiety sends us is that we need to listen to ourselves and take care of ourselves, to rest and have more free time to recharge the batteries.
Anxiety as an ally and the fear of change
But why are we afraid to stop? We avoid doing it because we know that by coming into contact with ourselves we will be able to see that there is something in our life that we do not like and then we'll have to change it.
And these decisions are very often difficult to make, as they require change and uncertainty. We therefore think that it is better not to see them, because “what we do not see does not exist”.
What if anxiety doesn't warn us? Then we would continue to keep busy to avoid looking inward; but the physical and emotional consequences of such a situation would be far more serious than those of anxiety. We would not stop and we would get hurt more and more.
We listen to our anxiety so that we can be realistic and avoid deceiving ourselves. Let's perceive it as an ally. We welcome it and appreciate the benefits it can offer us. Only in this way will she go away.