Getting the front door to your house slammed in your face is memorable at any age. I was 7 years old when it happened to me. The door was just a few feet from my face. I still remember being bewildered as it closed, but not consumed with anxiety as to why it had happened. Contrast that with the adult me who might react completely differently if a door was slammed in my face today. Just ask yourself how you might react.
In fact, it’s safe to assume that a door being slammed in the face of anyone (older than 7) could provoke several types of reactions. A teenager may feel left out and thus insecure or unloved. An adult could feel the same along with fear or deceit. A more mature adult may not care at all or may search for a different door to go through. However, in doing so, there may be regret, guilt, or trepidation. In each scenario, there would be a mixture of worry, doubt, fear, insecurity, or anger, akin to consuming a toxic cocktail of anxiety.
What Creates Anxiety?
Recognize that anxiety stems from analyzing a situation endlessly in unsupportive ways. Either we agonize about the past or the future. Either we dwell on old miseries and wounds or obsess about what could go wrong tomorrow because of x, y, z. Soon, we become paralyzed in this state as an anxiety loop replays multiple scenarios.
- We think a thought.
2. That thought does not feel good.
3. We keep repeating this process, from every excruciating angle.
How to Stop Anxiety
Like a poisonous drink, anxiety is an emotion I can feel right in my stomach. Incidentally, that area right below the ribs, is also the location of the solar plexus chakra. A chakra is a center of spiritual power in the human body. This chakra is associated with feelings of power, self-esteem, and worthiness so examine those emotions first by asking: “How do I feel?” If there are hints of insecurity, panic, doubt, use deep breathing and some positive self-talk to stabilize/neutralize thoughts: “I trust myself… everything will turn out fine.”
Anxiety is like an invisible ghost. It sits around you, and you feel the weight of it, but it can only truly dissipate when you can let it go. One question that often helps is “Can I do anything about this situation right now?” If the answer is no, you need to stop churning it in your mind. To let anxiety go, you must control your wandering mind and stop the analysis of a situation and bring yourself to the present moment (where you can act).
The Winning Childlike Approach
Going back to when I was 7 years old, and the door was slammed in my face, I spent less time thinking, worrying, and analyzing that moment than it took for you to read this blog. That me was confused but hopeful. She was not angry, but open, eager, and welcoming to the unknown situation.
It’s a fair bet that 7-year-old me didn’t even know what anxiety was! But most of all, in her wide-eyed wisdom, she lived in the present moment. She ditched the over-analysis for the confidence to not only to walk right up to the slammed door, but also to bang on it when it didn’t open. (Thankfully, moments later, when the door did finally open, I recall marching right into the joy of my surprise birthday party.)
The adult me can learn from that trusting approach: to forgo the scrutiny and instead, engage in the present and be confident, open, eager, welcoming, and hopeful in every worrisome situation. And, if at all possible, do my best to forget that “anxiety,” is even a thing.
- Quote by Mark Twain: “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which have never happened.”
- What Keeps You Up at Night?