Is anxiety your spirit's way of guiding you on your life journey?
Anxiety is debilitating. A relentless beast that demands time and energy, it can upturn days, weeks, months and years. It can present itself through panic attacks, physical ailments and stressful life moments.
Experiencing the challenges of a generalised anxiety disorder has not only served many lessons for me physically and mentally, but it has helped me to become more acquainted with the musings of my soul. I understand what my body needs, what foods to eat, how to self-love more compassionately.
Anxiety appears when your mind, body and soul are in a state of imbalance; it’s your spirit’s way of speaking to you and helping you on your life purpose and mission.
Anxiety on a spiritual level has the power to transform your life. What you perceive as your greatest weakness is in fact teaching you how to be the best version of yourself. Understanding that you are a soul with a physical body reminds you that anxiety is your spiritual compass and messenger. Your spirit wants you to shine in this lifetime and fulfil your divine destiny. Your anxiety is showing up to teach you to reconnect with your spirit, listen to your intuition and live life as your true authentic self.
Here are some lessons your spirit may be guiding you to listen to. They will help you connect to your soul and better your mental health.
There is one absolute truth about anxiety: it does not exist in the present moment. It only shows up in your life when you find your thoughts and emotions caught up in the future. In the present, you will always feel a deeper sense of calm and gratitude.
Living in the present isn’t always easy. It’s about turning down the noise of the world around you and taking good notice of the thoughts and actions that move you away from being present. Noticing what pulls you away from the present moment is the first step to implementing change. Is it your electronic devices? Are you too focused on future events that haven’t yet happened or may never occur? Are you unclear about your goals and feel uncertain about your direction?
There is one absolute truth about anxiety: it does not exist in the present moment.
Goals take time and patience. While it’s important to set goals and plan for the future, it’s equally important to understand that a small step today will help turn those goals into reality. Procrastination or worry and feeling unhappy with yourself for where you are will only open up more feelings of anxiety and unease. When you live too much in the future, you can miss the wonderful opportunities that you are creating for yourself and your loved ones in the here and now.
Live in your values
Your value system is your soul’s blueprint. Your values set your soul on fire and bring you the greatest joy and deepest fulfilment. Human behaviour mastermind Dr John Demartini says, “Your highest values are the very essence of you: what you’re drawn to, what you inevitably seek out, what you live for. They are a kind of internal compass, pointing you towards the activities, people, and the places that most fulfil you, and away from situations and people that are likely to be unfulfilling. If you think of which activities and relationships truly nourish your innermost being, those are your highest values.”
Your purpose in this life is to be the greatest version of yourself and to follow your soul’s calling. To achieve this, it’s important to understand what truly matters to you by identifying your core values. These are the non-negotiable characteristics that best describe who you are. Take some time to reflect on what truly matters to you. Spend some time journaling and list 10 things you absolutely love to do by starting each sentence with, “I love to …”
From this list, write down five core values that you would like to live by in your life.
Exploring your values will give insight into where you can dedicate more time to doing the things that bring you meaning and happiness. When your goals in life align with your values, you will naturally feel more driven, motivated and less anxious. This proves that a sense of purpose can have excellent benefits for your overall health and general mental wellbeing.
Change your inner dialogue
What will people think of me? Am I not good enough? Anxiety at full strength can take over your thoughts and emotions. It’s important to listen to how you’re speaking to yourself and the inner dialogue and thoughts that you are repeating to yourself day in and day out. Every time you hear your mind speaking negatively, remember this: how would you speak to a younger version of yourself? Would you let that little girl or boy know that they are not good enough? Would you tell them they’re not worthy of love and greatness?
When handling negative thoughts, the best way to overcome your anxieties is to master your inner dialogue. My therapist shared a great tool with me once that I use often when I recognise that my anxious mind is trying to control my thoughts and emotions. I imagine a train arriving at the platform; I then place the negative thought on the train and then, as the doors close, watch the train take it away. This is one of many cognitive tools that can be learned when working with a qualified counsellor or psychologist. They will help you to change your inner dialogue and implement positive techniques into your day-to-day life.
Say “yes” to you
There is absolutely nothing wrong in choosing to say “yes” to yourself, your life and your goals. Deciding to make your happiness a priority in your life is a good thing and not something you should ever feel guilty about.
If your energy feels stressed and depleted, take some time to reflect on your daily actions. Where are you placing your time and energy? Are you being loyal to someone else’s dreams and goals? Are you taking time out to fill your cup?
Look a little closer. Even in your darkest moments, you will always find a silver lining and a hidden blessing.
While you want to be a loving parent, supportive friend and all-round good person, this should not come at the detriment of your own self-love and worth. Putting the needs of others before your own can leave you feeling resentful of the people around you and take a toll on your relationships. Starting today, regather your mind, body and spirit. You are no good to anyone if you’re running on empty. Set clear boundaries and let others know where they stand. When you say “yes” to yourself and nourish your spirit you show up as a better person to the people around you, and inspire others to do the same.
Surrender to the universe
“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” This quote from Kahlil Gibran embodies everything that anxiety stands for: the need to control and protect yourself from harmful events and situations, the anxious mind constantly worrying about the future in order to avoid hurt and pain. When you notice how this behaviour could be affecting your mental health and wellbeing, decide in that moment to raise your self-awareness and truly surrender to a live-and-let-go attitude. The need to control could in fact be standing in the way of you creating the authentic life you want to lead.
Spiritually speaking, when you surrender to the universe, you open yourself up to new and exciting opportunities. When you truly let go of all outcomes, it becomes liberating and life-changing. You will invite new pursuits like love, money and relationships to enter into your consciousness freely and without force. Remember, the universe has the power to manifest greatness, so allow it to send the good you deserve your way.
This quote from spiritual coach Gabrielle Bernstein’s book, The Universe Has your Back, highlights this perfectly. “The key to trusting in the universe’s plan is to let go of all outcomes. When we get hung up about how something ‘should’ turn out, then we disconnect with the flow of universal guidance. The energy behind a ‘should’ mentality is controlling and manipulating. The universe does not align with that energy. Therefore, we cut off communication and receptivity. It’s when we let go of the outcome that we open up our perpetual worldview and allow ourselves to be led.”
Find the blessings
Look a little closer. Even in your darkest moments, you will always find a silver lining and a hidden blessing. When I first experienced a mental breakdown, having no idea what anxiety and panic attacks meant for my life, I was incredibly scared and frightened by what was happening to my mind and body. During this time the beauty of this experience began to shine through. I became incredibly close to my family. I found a much deeper love and gratitude towards them from how much they supported and helped me to return to my fun-loving and happy self. I learned more about my health and how to better look after my body. I learned how precious life was and that working until you burn yourself out is by no means a way to lead a meaningful life. If I hadn’t experienced this breakdown, I wouldn’t have been able to learn these valuable life lessons and lead a more authentic life. I am now deeply grateful for this experience, and instead of seeing this time as one of the darkest moments of my life, I can revisit it as one of my most courageous.
Over the coming days, sit with your thoughts and write in a journal. Think of a time that was challenging and invite yourself to see the hidden blessings in this event or situation.
The anxious mind knows all too well the worry, frustration and confusion that comes with making a decision. Procrastination is the fuel to the fire of anxiety. It feeds off your insecurities and the ego, making you feel vulnerable, critical and indecisive. That’s why anxiety is always so prevalent when you seem to be at a crossroads, afraid to move forward from fear of making the wrong decision. The truth is no decision is right or wrong. In fact, I have always believed that your decisions create your destiny. The minute you move away from the chaos of trying to decide whether to do something or not, you start a chain reaction of events. You begin the process of empowering your destiny. This kind of action is transformative, helping the spirit move forward and grow while turning down the voice of unreason and anxiety.
The body is a feedback system and anxiety the messenger. When anxiety appears, look to it as a sign to check in with your body and how you truly feel. Are you feeling overwhelmed and stressed? Are you sleeping well? Are you burning the candle at both ends and taking on more than you can handle? When the body is under stress this can affect your thoughts and your nervous system, and cause physical health problems. If you look at anxiety as a messenger, you can use the opportunity to re-evaluate your current situation and make the necessary changes towards a more healthy and self-caring lifestyle. Taking time out to rest the mind and body is what I call “soul medicine”. When we are so busy rushing through life, we sometimes don’t realise the toll it is taking physically, mentally and emotionally. Self-care is different for everyone. Maybe it’s starting a daily yoga or meditation practice, journaling, going for a massage or walking in nature. Whatever your self-care ritual might be, know that your body is a powerful energetic being, that needs energy and fuel to feel nourished and loved.
Now, with these valuable soul lessons in your mental health toolkit, the next time you experience anxiety or worry know that your spirit is sending you a guided and intuitive message. Your spirit wants you to learn something about yourself and your life and is working to transform you into the best version of you that you deserve to be.
If you need professional support, Lifeline (13 11 14) provides 24-hour mental health support and emotional assistance.
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