With anxiety, repetitive thoughts, worries and rumination can become intense. It’s easy to feel like a prisoner to these thoughts and worries without any way to control them or make them stop. Some of these thoughts we can recognize as being extreme but others can seem so real, so inescapable….so us.
Here’s a little experiment. Sit down if you aren’t already, put your feet flat on the ground. Close your eyes and take a few slow breaths. Let your attention focus on your body from your feet to the top of your head. Notice any sensations, thoughts or emotions. No need to change anything, just simply take a moment to notice what’s there. Are any of these sensations, thoughts or emotions familiar?
Likely you noticed something during that experiment; so if you are your body sensations, thoughts or emotions, who was doing the noticing? Yoga, mindfulness and other self-reflective practices would say that it’s our Self (with a capital S) doing the noticing and that the sensations, thoughts and emotions are just parts of us that come and go depending on how our personal filters interpret the world around us.
Who cares? you might ask. Well the good news here is that if we are more than our thoughts, emotions and body sensations we have the possibility of learning to simply notice these vacillating parts of ourselves without being so impacted by their sometimes random nature. Given that anxiety is to a large degree created by being overwhelmed by thoughts, emotions and body sensations, this is good news indeed.
This idea may not be new to you, but I think it’s an idea worth revisiting because knowing something as an idea and knowing something as an experience are two very different things. Cultivating the ability to just notice our thoughts, emotions and body sensations without jumping down the rabbit hole with them, requires a lot of practice and commitment. This journey is no quick-fix solution, but a long term, deep internal transformation.
So maybe this is something you already practice, but if you don’t and would like to, there are a number of different ways to start (this is just a short idea list)
- Guided mindfulness meditation (click here to receive our 15 minute meditation FREE)
- Sitting meditation (try the 3 Minute Meditation Experiment)
- Yoga or tai chi, many great instructors located in both Richmond and Squamish, BC
I’d love to hear what you sorts of things have worked for you, please feel free to leave a comment.