I have found understanding how anxiety "works" is a key component in dealing with it. Once we understand it, we are able to "deal" with it effectively. And we are also better able to be compassionate toward ourselves and others.
Here's how I understand the anxiety.
Something (situation) or someone (person) outside our control provokes us. What or who provokes us is the "trigger".
I use quotes around the word trigger because when we dive deeper into our subconscious we realize the trigger is actually a belief that no longer serves us. More on that another time!
Let's take an example of a trigger:
Example: Family Gathering
In this case both the gathering (something/situation) and family (someone/person/people) may be at play.
Even before we get to the gathering, we start to feel anxiety in the present.
Our thoughts and emotions start gaining (usually negative) momentum as we project into the "future" what we "think" will happen based on the "past".
Why does this happen (write this one down!)?
The mind doesn't know the difference between a real event happening now, or an imagined event, either past or future.
Once we are "triggered", what happens next?
2. Behavior - Mental & Emotional
We may feel contracted, jittery, confused, angry, fearful, overall, not good! These emotions feed our thoughts. We think things such as, "this is going to be miserable", "I don't want to see this person", etc, etc. We get ourselves all worked up because the thoughts we are having in the present, about the past, we are now projecting into the future. These negative/catastrophic type thoughts that are rooted in past experience cause us to think the future experience will be the same. These thoughts continue to feed our feelings and voila, we are officially in the anxiety loop. There's "nowhere" to go when we are in this loop except deeper down the rabbit hole. We may act out by not going to the gathering at all (avoiding behavior) or create drama (attacking behavior) leading up to or even at the gathering.
Note: Other avoidance behaviors include abusing alcohol & drugs, smoking, overworking, overeating, etc.
Why do we do this to our self?
Wouldn't it make sense to simply learn healthy and effective ways to deal with our "triggers"? Yes!
However, until we rewire our brain, the trigger elicits a behavior that feels like a reward/payoff.
In this case of the family gathering, if we take the avoidance track, the "payoff" can be anything from making others wrong, now we are victims -- to the attacking track with a payoff of we are right and defending our point of view. There are many more variations of this and our payoffs. That said, usually the payoff is connected to being right, looking good, staying comfortable, and being in control (AKA Ego). Once again I use quotes around the word payoff because in truth it isn't a true reward. We still haven't faced the root of the anxiety. We have merely put a band aid on it. Is this starting to sound familiar?
Learn how to deal with the anxiety "trigger".
Keep in mind "trigger" can also be our thoughts about the never ending to do lists at home, at work...in life as well as comparing ourselves to others. Our triggers vary and are many!
How to Deal:
1. Presence / Awareness
I use the words presence and awareness interchangeably. For me these words means being aware of what is happening in the present moment without resistance or judgment. Meaning, we accept what we are thinking and feeling, even if we don't like it. We are observing our experience.
Until we are aware of and accept this anxiety loop, nothing will change.
Once the energy of resistance and judgment is freed up, we consciously choose to focus our attention on dealing with the anxiety loop. The trigger is there, at least for now. Accept it.
Now it's time to re-evaluate the payoff. Is it really a payoff?
Ask yourself if avoiding or attacking behavior is really what feels good? Is that how you want to live? Avoiding or attacking? Perhaps there is a better way. Ask yourself if you can be absolutely sure, meaning 100% sure the payoffs are working for you. Spoiler alert: it's likely these payoffs are also directing other areas of your life.
If you can find even a .00000001% chance that there is a better way keep reading.
Even a sliver of possibility that there is a better way to manage the anxiety loop is an incredible start. Good for you! Acknowledge yourself for that. In this step you get to redirect your attention on things such as observing your experience, being compassionate with yourself (and others!) and changing your relationship with those payoffs. Meaning, you realize they are not in fact payoffs. In truth these "payoffs" actually keep you trapped in the trigger and therefore the anxiety loop.
If you resonate with this, and would like additional support on any of the above, please reach out.
I am passionate about showing people how to experience more health, happiness, and freedom to live the life of their dreams. Peaceful, prospering, connected...thriving.
Thanks for "listening". We go this!
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>>>Book an energy session to clear it!
As I've delved deeper into my being, freeing myself of that which doesn't bring me JOY, I realized something.
Your energy IS your #1 asset.
Think about it.
If you have all the means in the world, yet you lack energy to live your life, what's the point?
If you don't (yet) have the means you want, and you lack the energy, now that's an even harder path.
I break down energy flow as input and output.
Input = energy you take in. Output = energy you give out.
If you are engaging with life and taking in energy which makes you feel "good/energized/expansive", yay for you! You are more likely to give out the goodness too!
On the contrary, if you are engaging with life and taking in energy which makes you feel "bad/drained/contracted", you may want to delve deeper as to "what and why". In this case, you are also more likely to give out this "bad" energy. Giving and receiving are one and the same.
Yikes, right!! Don't fret. The key is to understand energy. With understanding you regain control by taking inspired action.
For simplicity, how you engage with life in the 3 main areas below will reveal how you are either feeding your energy or depleting it.
Body - Physical Stuff
Examples Include: Food, Vitamins, Sleep, Movement, Self Care Routine -- Think nourishment for your body!
As a rule, the better quality food, vitamins and sleep, the better energy you will have. As for movement-- the key is consistent, often, and enjoyable!! Movement is the fastest way to shift your energy. Self-care routines are the ways you take care of your "vessel" with rejuvenating practices like massage, yoga, walking in nature, silence...whatever makes you feel nourished.
PS: If you need help with vitamins, ask me here. I've been taking them for 20 years.
Mind - Mental / Emotional Stuff
Examples Include: Mental discipline, Emotional Regulation -- Think calm mind and balanced emotions
For many of us, the amount of mental and emotional energy we expend on stress, worry, fear, and doubt is draining. This area is often the hardest to "get under control". With consistent practice, it's the most powerful for transformation.
What to do? Practices like meditation help tremendously as they help us quiet the mind. Yes, a good workout often shifts your mood, yet I have found it is short term. For long term success, a consistent meditation practice is suggested.
Note: If mental and emotional stuff is a result of relationship challenges, which is often the case, meditation in combination with energy work is profound.
Spirit- Connection to Yourself / Life Purpose
Examples Include: Practices that nourish your connection to your higher self, your life purpose, and Spirit/God/Universe
Many of us are so busy in the doing, we neglect to notice how we are being. We end up feeling disconnected and lose sight of why we are "here". Discovering and then consistently feeding your spiritual self will feed your energetic well and replenish you. Examples of this include anything that brings you a sense of connection, peace, well-being, and joy. Petting your furry friend, being in spiritual community, prayer, meditation, writing, cooking for your family, calling instead of texting, meeting up instead of engaging on social media....and so much more. Go explore and discover!!
Managing your energy starts with awareness. With awareness you have choice as to where you focus your attention -- your energy. Whatever you focus your attention on will grow larger in your life. Where your attention goes, your energy flows.
As you reflect on each of these 3 areas- body, mind and spirit- notice the places where your energy is fed and the places where your energy gets depleted. Then take action! Nothing changes unless we act.
I support you,
Unless and until we shed the past, we will keep repeating it in the present. Since we create the future in the present, we will keep getting the same things we have always gotten. For most of us at this time, that isn't what we want.
That's one reason we feel "stuck".
In order to truly live a life of peace, prosperity, and connection - to become masters at manifestation - at some point we must shed the past. Fully.
When I say past I mean other lifetimes, and the ancestral, cultural, karmic, and childhood imprints we absorb. This is why I LOVE energy healing, specifically shamanic energy healing.
When approached with an open mind, shamanic energy healing is a highly effective way of making the unconscious conscious --and healing deeply rooted trauma that we cannot always get to in talk therapy.
When I say trauma it can be anything from abuse to limiting beliefs such as, "I am not good enough/I am not worthy".
All of us operate from beliefs that we absorbed somewhere along the way. Our beliefs filter everything and create our thoughts, words, deeds...our life. Powerful stuff!
When we aren't getting what we want in life, it's usually a combination of self limiting beliefs + confusion. Whatever trauma we experienced / inherited / absorbed feeds the belief and keeps us confused/stuck. Once we recognize the belief and clear the energy, we can create a new belief that aligns with the life we have and want today.
Having said this, some people don't understand "how" energy healing works. That was me a few decades ago. Not anymore!
On some level, all of us "know" we are energy beings. We enter a room and feel a vibe without a word being exchanged. That is energy! We know this. We experience it everyday.
For some, the desire to see everything as concrete blinds us from truly seeing what is underneath...in the energetic. As a result, we don't get to the root of the trauma, and we spin. Or worse, we spend many decades and dollars on going through the same loop trying to "talk" it out. I have been there.
Shamanic energy healing sessions allow us to shed the past and create a new future in the present!
Specifically, shamanic energy healing includes tools such as journeying to meet a power animal/spirit guide, energetic extractions, and soul retrieval to restore us to our true essence. Since we are all part of the energetic web, removing and healing unwanted energies restores our strength. As we shed the past, we remove the energetic layers that block us from creating the life we desire.
With on-going sessions, we learn how to align our conscious mind (thinking mind) with our subconscious mind (emotional mind - where beliefs are stored). This is when it gets really fun as we learn how to become masters at manifestation.
You're worth it!
>>>Book a Session Here
"It's in relationship with self and other that we heal...when we have the courage to...cause it takes lots of courage to create peace. It's worth it." -Stephanie :)
Previously I have written about transformation and Shamanism.
Today I want to revisit relationship success...and in some cases "pain".
Relationships are one of my favorite topics. They have posed the greatest challenges for me, and have also been the most gratifying part of my life. Hmmm...a paradox? Yes! I love a good puzzle :)
Note: Above picture was taken in 2021 on my birthday with sis, mom, and husband. These are examples of relationships I have advocated for, been insanely challenged by, healed, and totally appreciate today.
Because of this, I want to help you heal your relationships!!! It's so darn worth it.
Think about it:
1. At some point or another, everything we do involves others...relationships of some type, at some depth, for some period of time. You may erroneously fantasize you can do it all alone, forever. I respectfully disagree. Even if you do it alone, you still have to be in relationship with YOU. More on that...
2. Our ability to have good (peaceful, positive, prosperous, playful, present) relationships is a foundation for our well-being. I talk about this in more detail in my book Reclaiming Joy.
3. Relationships show us where we are on our spiritual path and can become our life long spiritual practice, aka our greatest teacher.
Perhaps at some points in your life, relationships caused so much pain, you felt you "didn't" want to engage. Understandable, yet not sustainable.
Maybe you experienced feeling like relationships were more trouble than they were worth. Makes sense.
As humans we don't like "pain".
And yet, pain, suffering, and trauma is how most of us learn.
By learn I mean, "wake up".
Why do we continue to do this to our self?
Why are we so resistant to waking up?
The cool thing is, we can choose to awaken.
We can choose to stop having to experience so much pain!!!
By awaken I mean we choose to become more conscious, aka, deal with our stuff!!!
As you may have experienced, if we don't deal with our stuff...life has a funny way of dealing with it for us.
And when life deals with it for us, it is often more painful than necessary. Something big has to happen to get our attention and then we act like something happened to us...when in reality, we simply have chosen to stay asleep at the wheel of our life.
Perhaps this sounds harsh.
Well, I am here to provoke your truth, and living your best self. That said, this isn't about right and wrong...good or bad.... It's not about judging ourselves and others and playing in that triangle of dis-empowerment I have spoken about --- victim, rescuer, perpetrator.
Part of awakening means we understand, through personal experience (knowing) a natural human tendency to want to avoid pain at all costs, thinking it will go away. The flaw in this line of thought is...whatever we avoid, will ultimately surface. You know the line, "whatever we resist, persists".
What to do?
First, recognize the primary relationship we have--- and therefore have to heal--- is with ourselves. Re-read it. Truth.
Second, commit to a daily practice to connect body, mind, spirit. You know I love meditation for this!
Third, build your awareness of YOU & get support. Start paying attention to your self talk and therefore your beliefs about relationships. It's only through awareness that we can transform.
Ask yourself questions:
Are relationships painful?
Are relationships joyful?
Depends on person, situation, what you want?
Am I attached, expecting, judging?
***What is the relationship I have with myself? Love? Hate?
At some point, hopefully not on our deathbed, we realize that we all need people, it's no so serious, and it doesn't need to be so darn painful...if we are willing to commit to awakening.
Working with people on healing relationship to self and other is the foundation for my life's work. I do it with shamanic energy healing sessions and with my mentorship program.
I see you. You matter. It's possible to heal & be happy! I did it. You can too.
"Be grateful for the sleepless nights because they help us awaken..." - Stephanie
What is spiritual awakening?
Why does it hurt so much at times?
How can we live our current life while also moving and growing into new ways of being?
In this Mind the Gap Podcast episode, Stephanie shares how to use life as a spiritual practice, and what is required to build a foundation of support as you begin to "wake up".
She shares that sleepless nights point to underlying things that are trying to get our attention... Stress doesn't wake us up. Stress is simply a result of what is out of balance in our life.
Stephanie also gives ways to navigate the gap while growing from where you are -- to where you want to be.