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Intelligent but anxious: finding freedom from anxiety

You’re intelligent, but anxious. You have a quick mind, a lively mind. An agile mind that jumps and leaps between connections, creates new ideas, executes them and pirouettes in dazzling glory. A mind that worries you senseless with thoughts about how many ways you can a) die on your way home b) fail your current project c) disappoint people d) miss out on the opportunities you want. Your lovely, lively mind can trip you up and bind you in knots before you’ve even blinked.
You see, when you have a swift and enthusiastic mind, you have the potential for catastrophic failure built in. The great characteristics of being quick, agile, and imaginative can just as easily create disaster as it can create wonderful things. Without a safety mechanism, the mind can get swiftly and enthusiastically tangled up in a multitude of anxieties that breed exponentially and exhaust you with their alarmingly realistic disasters. In short, your beautiful mind crashes itself.

And taking things one step further, what really fuels your thinking are your emotions. When you have a lively mind, chance are that you’ll think your emotions out just as much as, if not more than, you feel them. Think of the friend who can’t stop talking about an accident – the emotions are still there in him, pushing him to talk and talk about what happened. Or when you’re excited about something and you keep thinking it over and over: the excitement is what keeps the fire burning.

So when you have anxious thoughts, you probably, no, you almost certainly have some emotions fuelling it. Fear? Anger? Hurt? Probably one of these, or a closed related emotion. The trouble is the old head/heart split again. The head – the lively, competent mind – doesn’t listen much to the heart, the inner you, and pays little heed to emotions until they are too obvious to ignore.

Bridging the head/heart split leads to freedom from anxiety: when you contact the underlying emotion and really feel it, the anxious thoughts don’t arise so often, or so strongly.

Now you probably would rather not feel the fear, or anger, or hurt, or whatever nasty is lurking under there.

But consider this: an emotion, of its own accord, only lasts 90 seconds in the body.

90 seconds!

When you truly let an emotion pass through you, it’ll last only 90 seconds. This is the time it takes for the hormones and chemicals to be released, surge through the body and be flushed out.

The caveat is that this only happens when the emotional rush isn’t blocked. As soon as you block the emotion, it keeps looping around and around until it can find a way out.

Now sometimes you don’t even know that you’re blocking an emotion. But your anxious thoughts are telling you clearly and loudly: THERE’S AN EMOTION HERE. It’s up to you to decide. Do you want to take the 90 second option of really letting it through and feeling it? Or do you prefer the hours, weeks, even months of mental anxiety?

Let’s assume that your lively and rational minds goes for the 90 second option.

How are you going to do this? You have at least three options here.

The indirect approach involves putting yourself in a place and a situation where you’re more likely to feel at ease, comfortable, and without expectations from other people. Do something physical there: dance, swim, sing, shoot arrows, surf, make music, whatever your thing is. The trick is to move. By making your body move, you increase the possibility of your emotions being released. You might not even notice the release as it happens, but afterwards your emotions have changed.

The direct approach involves contacting the underlying emotion deliberately. This is entirely possible through meditation, after you’ve trained in it for a while. You need to balance between making an effort to go into meditation to contact the feeling, and being receptive enough for the feeling to make itself known in your experience.

Finally, the assisted approach involves the help of another person. They may be a good friend with excellent listening skills, a counsellor, therapist or healer. In their presence, you can open up and experience the feeling – but beware of diverting yourself into thought-loops and story telling: these show that the emotion is still stuck and not yet coming out.

Personally I draw on all three options, depending on the situation and the seriousness of the block. It’s also possible to directly remove emotions energetically, either with training and support from someone experienced in this, or by yourself if you develop these skills too.

Freedom from anxiety can be found. The head/heart split can be bridged, your emotions can be released, and your mind can become a friendlier and more peaceful place to be.

How does anxiety affect you – and how much freedom from it would you like to find?

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