Once we see that anxiety is a defence mechanism, attempting to keep us away from a perceived danger, then it is easier to have compassion for it.
Anxiety is no longer an enemy when we see that it is trying to keep us safe, and that it has noble intentions.
Anxiety Is Not An Enemy
For many people, anxiety, or even nervousness, can be anything from an annoyance to a terrible pain that restricts them in life. It turns into an enemy. You are told you shouldn’t be experiencing it, that it’s wrong or bad or negative, and all of these beliefs about anxiety serve to make it seem like an even larger, immovable monster.
But something in your world is being perceived as dangerous, and anxiety says: “Keep away. This might be painful or cause diminishment. Stay away. Keep safe. This uncomfortable feeling is a signal to keep you away from this situation.”
Imagining Who We Are
Now that we have such sophisticated imaginations, we can imagine danger where there is none. We can imagine a sense of self that we try to protect and maintain throughout the day. Anything that might cause a diminishment in this mental sense of self can also create anxiety.
Change The Relationship
The first step in healing anxiety is to change your relationship with it. See that it is trying to keep you safe, it is trying to do what’s best, it is trying to keep your sense of self stable and protected.
Once we see it has a noble cause, we can begin to look at it in a different light. We can have more compassion for it, we can see that it isn’t who we are, that it is an energy that rises and falls or changes in intensity. Once we can begin to accept it as its own energy, rather than trying to change it into something else, then suddenly there is some space around it, and the suffering decreases.
Anxiety grips you when you try to fight it. A miracle happens when we no longer want it to be a different way — it begins to lose its power over us.