Anxiety:’ A feeling of worry, nervousness or unease about something with an uncertain outcome’
Because anxiety is a normal human experience, it is hard to know when it is starting to become a problem. From small everyday situations- feeling like you need to turn around and drive all the way home to check you didn’t leave the stove on, or in my case panicking constantly that I have left the straighteners on, or the handbrake down, or the bath running, to the larger things like worrying someone has smuggled something in my backpack while travelling and therefore checking it every few minutes! The list goes on to much bigger and honestly more ridiculous things! I even get fed up at how exhausting my mind is, always finding something to worry about in almost every situation. However since meditating , my anxiety has decreased dramatically. After being inspired to read the The Power of Now , I truly believe over-thinking and not living in the present moment is the main cause. If I had been fully conscious and alert when turning these things off for example, I wouldn’t need to be trying to remember. It’s almost as if I did so many things on autopilot, even driving somewhere and not remembering actually driving there – just proves how often my mind was anywhere but in the present moment!
Someone who inspires me personally is Oprah Winfrey, not only because I admire how she made her life a success after her struggles, but she is someone who is always trying to help other people better their lives.
After watching an episode of Super Soul Sunday and seeing an interview she had with Ekhart Tolle,who wrote ‘The Power of Now ‘, I was inspired to buy the book and see what the fuss was about. Oprah said she had a copy of the book on every bedside table in her house and Deepak Chopra says “One of the best books to come along in years. Every sentence rings with truth and power.”
The book is about the power of the present moment and noticing your inner monologue.The first paragraph that really made me say ‘uh huh’ was this one “You have probably come across “mad” people in the street incessantly talking or muttering to themselves. Well that’s not much different from what you and all other people do, except that you don’t do it out loud. The voice comments, speculates, judges, compares, complains, likes, dislikes and so on. The voice isn’t necessarily relevant to the situation you find yourself in a the time. It may be reviving the recent or distant past, rehearsing, or imagining possible future situations. Here it often imagines things going wrong and negative outcomes; this is called worry. Sometimes this sound track is even accompanied by visual images or “mental movies.”
If we start “watching the thinker” as he says, we can notice when these involuntary thoughts pop up in our head and observe them non- judgmentally and recognise them as just thoughts, not the reality. If you read my post on Mindfulness, I mentioned that this is what we learn to do in the meditations. Through meditation, you can practice how to let these thoughts pass without letting them suck any positive energy out of you and you can stop the compulsive thinking. We need to observe when our mind is racing off thinking about the past and future, and focus on the reality -which is the ‘now’.Using your breath as an anchor , which I have mentioned in my previous post , is the most common way to bring yourself into the present moment. If you are focusing on just your breath, your mind is not in the past or the future- if that makes sense.
The book talks about how the present moment can be unpleasant or unacceptable, which is why we sit and daydream about the future, or reminisce about the past. However, that resistance to what is happening in the now will cause us to suffer. “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life’ ” Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
Ekhart Tolle says if you stopped and asked yourself “What problems do I have right now, in this moment?” in most cases, you find there aren’t any, only situations. We need either to deal with them or change them, not let them take over. Just as we make up the “mental movies” in our minds, I personally make up potential problems all the time by living out scenarios in my head. I have personally benefited so much from reading this book and even if only a few chapters, or even more specifically a few paragraphs stuck with me, they have definitely made me look at how we use our mind differently.
I have started noticing how the power of the present moment is spoken about it many books I have previously read, one of my favorites being “You Can Heal Your Life”, Louise Hay . Louise Hay says “The only thing we are ever dealing with is a thought, and a thought can be changed. The past has no power over us. It does not matter how long we have had a negative pattern. The point of power is in the present moment. What a wonderful thing to realise. We can begin to be free in this moment”. In The Chimp Paradox, Professor Steve Peters explains the struggle that takes place within your mind and how to manage it and stop it from running wild!
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older.
In the UK One in 8 youngsters between the ages of 10 and 15 reported symptoms of mental-ill health says Anxiety UK
When you get the chance please take just a minute to look at this website called Time to Change , where you can read personal stories about peoples struggles with mental health, how they deal with them and how talking about these issues really does help.