Once again we (a collective society “we”) are in a position of scratching our heads and asking “Why?” or “What the Fuck?” 😳 Of course we want answers. Answers to our mind’s questions allow us to feel more secure. If we can just understand why, then we can stop feeling uncomfortable and scared. It’s pretty cool that our brains are set up this way. It encourages us to innovate and create. We aspire to know why and then use that information to make things “better” and “safer”.
Unfortunately if Anxiety jumps too far into the game (as it does for those of us who tend to be “sensitive”, “nervous”, “anxious”, or even “empathic”), we get stuck in seeking answers and it can stop us from moving forward in our lives. Did you spend any time last week glued to the news? Did it keep you from getting what you wanted to done? Did it help you feel better? When shit happens (and it does happen on a regular basis) we can hardly help ourselves, but to get sucked in.
You know that the media has made it an art form to present the “news” in ways that purposefully target you psychologically so that you feel compelled to keep watching, right? They have people who get paid big bucks to figure out how to keep you watching, because they have advertisers who pay them big bucks to get in front of your faces (and into your heads) because they want your money. They have products and services that will make you feel more comfortable and safe, or, at the very least, will distract you from all of the pain and suffering in the world. What a bunch of crap! 🙄
See the media knows that what gets our attention in the fast way possible is to trigger our Fear and Anxiety 😳 Did it work? Did you turn on a news source to get answers (so that you could feel better, right?) only to get sucked into a range of emotions that only triggered more Anxiety? Did Anxiety pull out the “What if…?” Game and set up the pieces for a marathon game with you? Folks, it’s time to learn how to step away from the media frenzy and back into your life!
So how does this work? Well, the first step is to accept that shit happens. Shit has been happening since the dawn of time. It is part of the cycle of life. We are not going to be happy and there are not going to be rainbows and sunshine and roses every moment of every day. The first step in dealing with any of the shit that happens (either to others or to ourselves) is accepting that it has happened. It is our denial and resistance to this fact (that shit has, in fact, happened) that feeds our Anxiety.
I know what you are saying, “Wow, thanks Auntie Anxiety, I was actually in a good mood this morning and you just shit all over it 😩”. Bear with me folks, it does get better….
So, let’s say that we accept this idea of accepting that shit happens. Let’s examine this a moment. You know those things I mentioned, rainbows and sunshine and roses? They all exist because of clouds and rain and have thorns to remind us that nothing is without it’s opposite. Some of the worst storms leave us with destruction, but also the stories of just how compassionate and strong we human beings can be when we are pushed to what feels like our limits.
What I am about to say is not new. We’ve all heard it before (Mr. Rogers)….AND it bears repeating: When shit happens, look for the helpers and look for ways to help. Spending time stuck to the media circus is not helping you or anyone else. So stay focused on all of the people who listened to their instinct and did their best under those terrifying circumstances. In the moment Fear and Anxiety do their actual job and work together for your survival. It’s how we are built.
Sitting in front of your computer or TV your Anxiety has a party, winding you up and fooling you into believing that you would not know what to do, and that you would not survive if you were to find yourself in such a horrific situation. I call Bullshit on your Anxiety. It has no fucking clue as to what you would actually do in such a situation.
Folks, you are way stronger than you can even imagine. Anxiety’s job is to protect you and the easiest way to do that is to convince you to stay stuck in one place and the way to keep you stuck is to convince you that you are not competent or capable of surviving. So we buy into Anxiety’s Bullshit and put up our walls and “make sure” to set up our routines and fill our lives with stuff that helps us feel “comfortable” and then we just exist. Really? 🤔
So, if you are ready to call Bullshit on your Anxiety, then I encourage you to Lean In. Shift your focus from the “news” to the helpers and then see what you feel drawn to do to be a helper yourself. Figure out what calls you and then take action, without excuses. Whenever tragedy strikes there are plenty of organizations that could use donations of time, money, or particular items (Brene’ Brown supports Undies for Everyone). Pick an organization and then take action.
For those of you who read the guide, this is all part of the getting ALIGNED with your Anxiety process. Accept, Lean In, Ignite, Get Out There, No Excuses! Taking Action is one of the best ways to get unstuck and move forward. The people who are experiencing these tragedies do not need your sympathy or anxiety. Empathy and Action are what bind us together and allow us to make changes and move forward.
(Auntie Anxiety steps down from soapbox….for now…)
The voice behind Auntie Anxiety is Lynn Dutrow, Courage Coach and Counselor