Giving my anxiety a moment of attention so it stops nagging

Anxiety is my mind imagining something chaotic happening to me in the future that I won’t look at more closely today. Instead I dwell in the torture of that wild chaotic dream. Once I look at it, however, my anxiety dissipates.
So when I feel anxious about something, I stop, and I ask myself, what am I afraid of? As long as I am imagining things, I might as well imagine the worst case scenario. I spell it out in my mind: I’m afraid that if I let go of this thing that no longer works in my life, I won’t be able to take care of myself and I will have to move somewhere I don’t like, deal with looking like a failure, and worry my children.

Rather than feeling anxious, I get to look at my statement, of which there are many directions I can take with it. Sometimes my statement reveals what I need to do, and at other times it shows me how silly my fear is. The truth is, I don’t often need to go any directions with my fear statement(s) because just saying it (especially out loud or written out) makes me see it in contrast to what I am currently experiencing in my life today minus the anxiety. It reminds me of what I have and how I got here: My joys came from the risks that I took to be me (I fully own my life), and my anxieties came from attachments to what I know, am used to, and to what have become a part of my mistaken identity (trading a bit of me in for a sense of outdated security).

Looking more closely at the anxiety can be the very thing that can wake us up from that dream we don’t wish for and deliver us to the dream that we do.

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