When my anxiety came on full force a little over 4 years ago (wild to think I’ve been working through it for this long already) I had zero idea how to deal. After all, I’d never really had to before. I’ll admit, I always had anxious tendencies, but I wouldn’t spend much time thinking about them. My thoughts didn’t rule me- anxious or not. And I’ve come to learn that that’s the main difference. Here I was thinking that I just wasn’t an anxious person prior to my first panic attack, but that’s not true. I was. I just hadn’t experienced real trauma yet, and that’s what sent me off the edge. Since then, a couple things that have helped me tremendously have been practicing affirmations and staying open to welcome the good in my life.
I remember long before I ever thought of myself as an anxious person, I’d get nervous before a car trip or a plane ride, but as soon as I’d think about it I’d be off thinking about something else. I wasn’t attached to my anxiety and I didn’t pay it much attention. It was not my reality. But when my Dad got his diagnosis of one year to live, my panic attack and loads of generalized anxiety rose to the surface. And all of a sudden, my world was completely flipped.
Instead of a hopeful, abundant world full of love and possibilities, I suddenly lived in a world where I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Someone might try to hurt me, someone might try to hurt someone I love, someone might die. Everything I did revolved around keeping myself and my loved ones as safe as possible. I’d try to challenge myself to get out of this space by traveling or keeping my mind busy with school and work, but nothing really seemed to help; at least not for very long.
And I’m just now realizing that it’s because I was running from it; running from myself. Those negative thoughts and feelings were such a constant in my mind because it’s all I paid attention to. And because it’s all I paid attention to, it was difficult to truly understand that I could change it without having to fight or try to run from it. The more time I spent trying not to feel anxious, the more and more anxious I became. The more time you spend on the negative stuff, the less time you have to attract more good stuff.
Recently I listened to Oprah’s podcast, an episode where she interviewed Jennifer Lopez (I mean… who doesn’t want all the life advice from JLO, right?). In it, they spoke of affirmations and ones they practice daily. Jennifer listed off her favorites, and the one that really stuck with me was “I am open to all the goodness and abundance the universe has to offer.” Such a simple string of words changed my whole perspective. See, what we give our attention to is where our consciousness goes. If all we see are negatives and all the terrible ways things could go wrong, then that’s what our reality will become. But, if we practice what the affirmation mentioned above says, our world becomes so much more inviting and safe.
And when we see the world as loving and safe, we allow ourselves to stay open for more good stuff to come in too. Maybe a good job, a good relationship (with ourselves and/or others- I think about this with my meeting Dan all the time), good eating habits, a good book at just the right time. Whatever it is, the more we choose to stay open, even in the face of anxiety, the more we’ll attract the good. All you have to do is stop trying to control it. Flow with it and follow your gut; it’ll point you in the right direction.
Yes, bad things do happen, but so do good things. It is up to us where we choose to focus our attention and hope toward. We can either calculate every little move around making sure these bad things stay far away (which never works), or we can trust that we are loved and safe and that good things are coming our way. Even if we don’t understand and it seems the complete opposite right now, the world is good and we are loved. Unconditionally and constantly.
What affirmations do you practice daily? What else do you do to attract the good in your life?
You can listen to the Oprah & Jennifer Lopez podcast I mentioned above here.
If you liked this blog post, you may also like How To Steer Your Mind In The Right Direction.