How to Meet Fear and Anxiety with Freedom

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How to Meet Fear and Anxiety with Freedom

Wildfires. Hurricanes. The pandemic. Job loss. School uncertainty. Racial hatred. Foreign intelligence hacking. The list goes on.

According to a study published just this week, nearly a quarter of people in the United States are experiencing symptoms of depression, That’s nearly three times the number before the COVID-19 pandemic began. These are anxious times no matter who we are and what we’ve experienced.

Anxiety is, perhaps, the most pervasive suffering in the world. Whether we’re chronically anxious and have some DSM diagnosis or whether we’re gripped periodically. Anxiety affects our health, our relationships, our work and our overall well-being.

Fear is embedded in our membranes. In order to survive millions of years ago, all beings had to be vigilant about danger. Rooted in all life forms is a mechanism that apprehends any sense of vulnerability or possible death. The brain senses that it needs to be in control at all times in order to keep the physical form in existence. It’s in our DNA that our nervous system is continually scanning for past unpleasant and future unpleasant sensations.

The challenge is that we get fixated on fear: what is going to go wrong or what is wrong right now. When we get hooked in this ongoing fear, we begin to identify ourselves with the fear. We become driven by fear. In fact, our very identity becomes defined by fear. When this happens, we suffer.

This fixation triggers the mind and body to respond in 1 of 3 ways – all of which create anxiety and stress. We freeze. We fight. Or we flee. When we react and find ourselves in one of these 3 states, we disconnect from our true nature and our innate creativity.

Aung San Suu Kyi, a pro-democracy activist, and leader of the National League for Democracy in Burma, who has spent time in prison for her activism, says

The only real prison is fear.

The only real freedom is freedom from fear.

 

The truth is that we create our own prisons by not opening up to the fear. Instead, we figure out ways not to feel the fear:

We speed up. We get busy. The to-do list spans pages.

We set out to prove ourselves. To achieve more.

We experience shame and in turn, blame others.

We build walls around us to protect ourselves, physically.

Internally, we build walls around the heart and contract the body/mind. We develop a permanent suit of armor, always on guard for what might happen next. This suit of armor creates our own prison, and many of us live here day in and day out. Especially now.

Just how do we free ourselves from our own prison of fear and anxiety?

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Here are a few tools that may prove helpful:

Noticing What’s Happening:

We begin simply by noticing what’s happening, what we’re feeling, what we’re thinking. In noticing, we give space to what is here, right now. If we recognize the feeling, the thought, the belief, we can name it, “Worrying. Projecting. Fearful.”

In naming what we observe, we become less identified with the feeling. It’s as if we are detached from the observation and simply noticing what’s happening right here, right now.

Welcome What’s Happening:

Once we can recognize what’s happening, we’re encouraged to give space to what’s right here. To breathe into the sensation and allow it to be there. We can even acknowledge the sensation, by silently saying, “Yes,” to whatever is right here. “I see you. I feel you. We’ve met before.”

Many practitioners encourage us to invite the feelings in for a cup of tea, as a way of welcoming the sensation. “Please come in. Sit down. How about a cup of tea with me?”

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What I am Believing?

When we’re able to pause long enough to notice and welcome what’s happening, we can then ask ourselves, “What am I believing in the moment?”

The beliefs may feel very real, but are they true?

We then may want to ask ourselves, “Who am I when I believe these beliefs?” Practitioners encourage us to put one hand on our heart and one hand on our belly as a gesture of attention and care to ourselves.

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We may ask ourselves, where do these beliefs lodge in my body? Are they constricting my breath? Do they make my heart beat faster? Is my belly tightening? Mindfulness practitioners have known for millennia that beliefs, thoughts and feelings lodge in the body. Science is catching up and proving them to have been correct all along.

Responding with Compassion

When we can determine where in the body the fear and fixation lie, we can then respond with lovingkindness and compassion. Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, encouraged his students to respond with, “There. There.” A gesture and acknowledgement of, “I know you suffer and I am here.”

When we can show up for ourselves with compassion and kindness, we allow space for what is happening right here, right now. We don’t need to argue with reality. We can accept what is with a sense of spaciousness and openness. We can relax and breathe into it, even welcome it for what it may teach us.

This spaciousness, in turn, becomes our freedom. In this moment, we can breathe in that spaciousness and know that no matter what, we don’t have to identify ourselves with fear. It is not who we are. Fear is a feeling that comes and goes. It doesn’t have to imprison us. We don’t have to live in ones we’ve erected for ourselves. We can breathe and let go.

There. There.

 

 

For additional Coaching Support 

Mindfulness

Breathing For Peace

 

Breathing for Peace

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I breathe in All That Is –

awareness expanding

to take everything in.

 

From the unnamed vastness beneath the

mind, I breathe my way to wholeness and healing.

Inhalation. Exhalation.

 

Adapted from Donna Faulds

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Donna Faulds, a poet and a yoga practitioner, guides us here to become aware of our breath as an instrument of awareness, acceptance and peace.

 

If we believe that all war begins in our own hearts and minds, then we can turn our gaze inward to create space in both to let go and come home to our true nature, which is love, grace, kindness, and humility.

 

This is who we are when we’re born. This is who we are beneath all the lies, deception and manipulation of our addiction. This is who we strive to return home to in recovery.

 

Science has confirmed what mystics and sages have known for millennia. That our breath has the power to heal, restore and reveal our truest nature. It has the power to change the way we see reality. It has the power to calm our fears and reduce our anxieties.

 

When we experience ourselves through the veil of desire, fear and unexamined beliefs we turn on ourselves, cause distance from our own heart and inflict self-harm – emotionally and/or physically. When we experience others through this same conditioned lens, we react in similar ways that cause both emotional and physical harm.

 

How is it that you and I, out of fear and desire, create a sense of separation from ourselves and thus, others? And how, in this time of uncertainty and fear, can we awaken from this trap of judgement and live from our authentic, sober nature of lovingkindness and wisdom?

 

I believe the most effective and efficient place to begin is with our own breath. The word “breath” is synonymous with “spirit”, “soul: and/or “life force.” in some of the oldest languages and faith traditions on the planet. Our breath is our life force, our soul, our life line to our spirit.

 

So it is in these challenging times when we’re feeling anxious and fearful, we can turn our gaze back to our breath and simply notice this life-giving miracle with each breath. With each inhale and each exhale we have the opportunity to see the gift in each moment, no matter what is happening outside ourselves.

 

I offer this profoundly simple meditation that I’ve adapted by the late Thich Nhat Hanh. I use it daily. I share it with my clients and mindfulness practitioners. It’s hugely healing, and everyone can do it. No need to be a yogi, monk or serious meditator.

 

In the Kingdom of God

Breathing in, breathing out.
Breathing in, breathing out.

 

Breathing in, I’m aware of my eyes.

Breathing out, I smile to my eyes.

 

Breathing in, I smile.

Breathing out, I release.

 

Breathing in, I smile.

Breathing out, I let go.

 

Breathing in, I smile to my difficulties.

Breathing out, I release.

 

Breathing in, I go back to the present moment.

Breathing out, I know this a wonderful moment.

 

Breathing in, I am alive.

Breathing out, I know I’m alive.

 

Breathing in, wonderful moment.
Breathing out, I know this is the only moment.

woman in yoga pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addiction Doesn’t Rest

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Dear Friends.

During this time of real danger and uncertainty, many of us are experiencing stress in mind, body, and spirit.
Mental health issues and substance use disease often accelerate in the midst of fear.

We at Whole Families are to support you and those you love. Whether you’re feeling isolated and/or lonely
or overwhelmed with pent-up energy in the house, we know that this is not an easy time for many folks.

We are offering all new clients a reduced rate for recovery coaching to support you and those whom you love
while we cope in these uncertain times.

Reach out and call us. We’re here. While we may not be hugging you with open arms, our hearts are open and
eager to hold yours.

Be well

Rehab Reviews -Whole Families Intervention and Services, Inc.

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The Basics

Based out of Wilmington, North Carolina, Whole Families Intervention Services is owned and operated by certified Arise interventionists, Frances Murchison and Kelly M. Chambliss. Whole Families Intervention Services offers recovery coaching, sober support and transportation services for individuals going to or from treatment. It is available to adults and adolescents who are dealing with addiction, eating disorders and/or co-occurring disorders.

The Background

The founder, Murchison and Chambliss both have several decades in sobriety themselves. After getting sober in their 20s, they decided to commit their lives to helping individuals and their families find recovery. They make it their goal to help connect clients to the right treatment program and offer long term support as well.

The Approach

The intervention process begins with a phone call from the concerned party to Whole Families. The team asks specific questions regarding the client’s history along with questions about the family dynamic. If the loved one and interventionist feel that it’s a good fit, the next step is to make an agreement in terms of what the intervention will entail and what the families participation will be.

In order to prepare sufficiently for the impending intervention, the family members meet the treatment team to go over what the process will look like and what to expect. The treatment team makes themselves available for as long as the family members need in order to assist in the preparation, and are there to answer any and all questions. During this initial meeting there is also discussion of where the client will go for longer term treatment. The interventionists present several options that suit the client’s specific needs, and set a date for the actual intervention.

The intervention itself is not a surprise; the client is invited to participate in the process. There is an emphasis on how family members must approach the client with love and compassion and steering clear of any blaming or shame, along with being totally open and honest throughout the intervention. If the client agrees to go to treatment, the team presents the chosen treatment facility and gives the specifics of what they will experience while there.

Whole Families Intervention Services works with a number of treatment facilities that include residential, Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) and home, online program along with recommending 12-step support within the community.

Post Intervention and Summary

Clients and family members receive concentrated care for at least the first 90 days after the client leaves treatment, and Whole Families Intervention Services continues to stay in touch for about a year. Once the client agrees to treatment, they also make recommendations for the family members to attend counseling,  Al-Anon, and codependency programs.

Whole Families Intervention & Services, Inc.
Wilmington, NC 28403

Whole Families Intervention Services Cost: Call for details. Reach Whole Families Intervention Services by phone at (910) 679-6367.

Resource : RehabReviews.com

Rehab Reviews