Embracing Anxiety

Today is the day of my last long run before the Belfast Marathon in just over two weeks time. I’ve worked out my route and hydration strategy; I’ve decided what gear I’m going to wear; the weather is dry and mild. Now it is just a matter of going out and doing it. I know I’m capable of it as I’ve completed such distances many times before. Yet as I type these words I feel nervous and worried.

Why? I have no idea. It’s just me. I am a natural born worrier. If I didn’t have something to worry about then I would be worried. The only way to overcome the anxiety is to confront the problem and dive headlong into it. I know that once I get a few miles into the run I will be fine. All feelings of self doubt will disappear and my confidence will soar. I will actually start to enjoy the experience and wonder why I got so worked up in the first place.

It is the same with every aspect of my life be it family or work matters. Before every important event or meeting my worry levels rise to a crescendo before melting away the minute said event or meeting commence. You would think that decades of experience would teach me that worrying was counterproductive and pointless but every time the old routine kicks in and my own personal Groundhog Day is repeated.

Our bodies and minds are constantly battling chains and shackles that delight in tying us up in knots and denying us from becoming the people that we were created to be. We are at A but we are destined to be at Z. How do we get there? By overcoming the hurdles and barriers that ourselves and others place in our paths to deny us our destinies. It can be a person, an event or situation, an illness or addiction.

Whatever it is, it is strong and relentless. And if you allow it to it will suffocate your dreams and snuff out your potential. It will win if you allow it to. Somehow, and from somewhere, you have to find the courage and conviction to overcome it. You need to stand tall, look it in the eye and tell it NO! No, you won’t let it win. No, you are not going to give up this time. And no, the cycle of submission is not going to be repeated.

I won’t sugarcoat it for you. It will not be easy. After 21 miles today my body will be tired and aching. But the feeling of achievement and satisfaction will far outweigh any temporary physical or mental discomfort. The worry and anxiety will have been left far behind on the road along with the negative thoughts and doubts. You will have broken free. And breaking free is a form of rebirth. You have become a stronger, braver version of you.

If you are reading this today and experiencing the doubt and fears I have described I would encourage you to lace up your metaphorical running shoes and run straight at that problem or situation that is weighing so heavily upon you. We can’t run away from our problems but we can run towards them and through them. Eventually you will emerge on the other side. Where you are meant to be. Battered and bruised possibly. But alive. And free.

Change is painful. Change is frightening. But in order to improve we need to embrace it. In order to become better people we need to become better at dealing with change. Anxiety and worry magnify the fear of change to the extent where we cower away from it. Today is the day to stop cowering. Face it. Embrace it. I’m away for my run and I’ll see you on the other side. Who’s with me?

Are you shackled by worry and anxiety? How do you deal with it?

What aspects of your life would you like to change?

34 thoughts on “Embracing Anxiety

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  1. I’m with you on this!
    I think overcoming anxiety is a slow burn, not something that can be done with one decisive action. I used to worry a lot at work about public speaking or difficult conversations (mostly with underperforming employees) but the more you do it, the more you just get used to it. These things still bother me, but not as much as they used to.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I am shackled by fear and anxiety and right now I can’t deal with then my depression prevents me to do. It is a vicious cycle; the more I worry, the more I get depressed and the more I get depressed the more I worry. Something good as to happen real soon as I don’t how to stop this. It is hell.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am shackled by worry and anxiety. My first book ever is at the printers and will be released in August. I am overwhelmed by all the marketing strategies that need to be done. It makes the writing seem simple! It was fun. But this. This is torture to my very soul. I need hand holding, I need someone to come along side and do it with me, I need to know that the book will be enjoyed, will make a difference, will be considered good. I need, I need….I need to hold God now more than ever. I tell myself over and over that “courage is fear that has said its prayers”. And so I pray. God didn’t bring us here without a purpose, a direction and He did so in love. So I will “suck it up, Buttercup” and move forward.

    You will do great on the marathon. Your readers are all lifting you in prayer. Thanks for writing this post. It helps. And thanks for having a site where one can share in their concerns freely.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If your worry and anxiety is drawing you to God, then look at it as a good thing! Anything that brings us closer to God is good. God will use that closeness to speak healing and life into your soul, and then your anxiety will go away.

      Be blessed

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post! Worry and anxiety is something I personally have little problem with. But I have been there in the past and realize it can be a big problem for many. You give some good tips here on overcoming that anxiety. God is a good God – would He allow anything to come into your life that is bad? Is your worry drawing you to Him? If it is, He will use the worry to build you up in the end. He is a good God – always!

    Be blessed

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Worry and anxiety have me trapped at the moment but I am working hard to gain a sense of myself back. It is not easy as they present themselves as a trio and I am not sure exactly how to ignore them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Worry is my closest companion. I often feel like you do. I go from one worry to the next. I get nervous about running a marathon. It is exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. It becomes a great source of energy for a race. After a few miles I always end up asking myself what I was so worried about. You can get through this, you can do this. It isn’t your first race. You know how it will go. Lucky you, the weather sounds perfect! One less thing to worry about. God bless your endeavors!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I worry too much, and usually about things that either will never happen, or just aren’t that important. One thing I am doing, presently, is diving back into scripture memory. It’s something I haven’t focused on in years. I have recently memorized Psalm 23 (I know . . . doesn’t everyone know that one??), and it is helping tremendously!! So much peace in that chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m always worried that im making life difficult for other people in some way. It’s been a brutal adventure these last few years to boil it down to a simple statement. I’ve recently taken up running as a way to block out the negative thoughts *I think* people think about me and how I affect their lives. I’m nowhere near 21 miles, but I broke down in tears at the gym when my mile time hit 11 minutes a little over a month ago (in October it was a very slow 22 min walk).
    I’ve been sidelined these last few weeks due to injury, and my anxiety can really tell. Which just gives me hope that I’ll shave a few more seconds off when I get back to my running game.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. this is exactly what I was talking about in my post yesterday about having the interview. I’m a natural born anxious person, so I totally get what you’re talking about. I have the same problems with exercising/running… Even in high school, when I was running so much all the time, I always worried right before the race at a meet if I was even going to be able to do it…
    Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am super proud to here your chucking forward! It’s hard to get past the anxiety and worry!
    Worry and anxiety are my two closest, and most unwanted companions…. I deal with this every time I leave my house. I worry about people judging me before they have. I worry more when they do. The anxiety builds up and shuts me down most of the time(so much so that I find myself in public bathroom struggling to breathe).
    I went into hermit mode between 2004 and 2008 and found myself at around 690 pounds because of it(I was also in an abusive marriage). I still went to work. I took my son to school and picked him up after. I did parent teacher conferences by phone so I wouldn’t “embarrass” my son. Even though he didn’t see me as flawed in any way. I did all my grocery shopping late at night so I could avoid people at all costs. My friends called and I shut them out.
    Then I had an epiphany. It was a forced one. I fell off the porch and broke my ankle at an L shape. It was snowing pretty hard. I was so weak I couldn’t climb up the steps to get inside. I couldn’t crawl to the car. My son was hysterical. He was trying everything to help me, but to no avail. He went to go get the neighbors and I begged him not to. So he called my father at 11 o’clock at night. My daddy braved ice, snow and hazardous roads to get to me. He drove 8 miles in it(he said it seemed like 40). It took him, and two of my neighbors to lift me up. My anxiety was so high I thought I was having a stroke.
    My doctor was actually at the hospital that night. They set my foot and my doctor had a heart to heart with me. As he called it, “a come to Jesus meeting”. That’s the moment my life changed. My depression, worry and anxiety were literally holding me hostage. I took it in baby steps because that’s all I could do. From that moment on I forced myself into social settings. I found that instead of dreading it I came to love it. Yes, the anxiety and worry were still there, but the joy I felt was worth it. I started going to kareoke. Not because I could sing anymore, but because it made me get out there more.
    I still push myself every day. I actually took up walking. I go a little further every day.
    My friends are doing a color run in October, I am hoping to go. I am pushing to go. And eventually I would love to do stand up comedy(baby steps though). One day I would like to get up on stage and not have that little twinge in my stomach. Or that little voice of worry/doubt whispering in my ear. Someday, I’ll be there. Until then baby steps.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s important to know the difference between situational anxiety and chronic anxiety.

    Situational anxiety is a negative emotional interpretation of what the body’s natural chemical reactions are trying to do: prepare reflexes to deal with an event. The same chemicals are involved as in the positive emotion of excitement; therefore, situational anxiety associated with an otherwise benign event can be reinterpreted in a positive way. Only behavior modification is needed for recovery from benign situational anxiety, which we can often do by ourselves.

    Is situational anxiety then “groundless fear?” No! The body is preparing for “fight or flight,” a natural self-preservation instinct. Although our bodily functions are like those of the animals (the Creator of all mortal bodies knows what kind of anatomy and physiology works on a planet like ours), human spirits, as children of God, have the ability to exercise reason, to help them govern themselves. Thus, with practice, we can learn to differentiate between genuine and false threats to survival, and accordingly train our thoughts and emotions to arise more appropriately.

    Chronic anxiety has a purely physiological origin: various neurotransmitters are not being made in the right proportions, resulting in a feeling of constant, generalized apprehension. In chronic anxiety, no particular event is evoking that feeling, but if a new challenge is perceived, the additional associated hormone production intensifies the apprehension, producing more severe anxiety.

    A state of continuous fearful arousal, exacerbated by chemical escalations due to intermittent stressful (even if benign) events, can be so painful and difficult to live with that persons afflicted with chronic anxiety often develop ineffective coping behaviors, which become manifest in various forms of mental disorders. Chronic anxiety requires both medical treatment (for the underlying neurotransmitter imbalance) and behavioral therapy (professional help to change inappropriate habits), to achieve effective management.

    Situational anxiety and chronic anxiety may be connected, however: there is evidence that fear-inducing experiences can result in a change that governs the genetic expression of fear, which has been measurably exhibited by the descendants of experimental animals that were exposed to specific forms of stress. In animals, this would be an adaptive change enhancing instinct and favoring survival, but in humans, it may be one reason why anxiety disorders can seem to run in families (which some recent, albeit controversial, human research has also suggested).

    Like

  12. Inspiring as Always, I hope life is treating you well and the marathon is/was more than you could ever imagine. I agree that anxiety is best embraced, tackled head on, but it is sooo hard, a daily challenge. I thank God for strength. I am so happy to be here in 2018 more confident and in control. Anxiety still strikes but I know I am not alone. Thank you for sharing 🌟

    Like

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