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Habit and Anxiety Makes Us Feel The Fear is Real

Our societal addiction to anxiety is epic at this point. Number one mental disorder of the world is anxiety and it’s companion, depression. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for people ages 15 to 45. Undiagnosed and untreated, people are on autopilot in their everyday lives perpetually bridging the gaps between their fears and the dopamine, the hormone that the brain releases that would quell it. Our “chosen” method to deal with our anxious selves is to emotionally regulate with our personal chosen “binkys” of food or phones, alcohol or dope.

But what struck me recently was the realization that what we’re afraid of may not be there anymore. Let’s be compassionate and know that we adopt our coping mechanisms honestly. Each of us anxiety prone people initially used food or alcohol or whatever chosen pacifier because there was something not good happening that we needed to self-soothe ourselves for. A fear of abandonment is a fear of death. My personal coping choice has been to over-drink wine. As a child of an alcoholic, I’ve always been concerned for myself although I never became an alcoholic.Habit and Anxiety Makes Us Feel The Fear is Real on Shalavee.com

When I began to truly want to shed my extra weight, I knew that those empty calories of wine were my “one thing”. That one thing that I’d lose the weight if I gave up. I began to look at why it was that I thought I needed to overindulge and what I saw was a habit of treating myself for the anticipated worry and stress of my life. Except, I couldn’t see how my life was truly that horrible any more. Yes maybe back in my first marriage but this life I have now ain’t too bad.

What I realized was that the assumption that I had something to be worried about was also an addiction. I was addicted to anxiety. By reverse substantiation, I was assuming something was still wrong because I kept treating myself as if there was. And then I realized that the only way to truly prove that my life now isn’t all that horrible, was to take away that very element (wine) which by its use seemed to keep proving I had something to worry about.Habit and Anxiety Makes Us Feel The Fear is Real on Shalavee.com

Addictions are two-fold. They are adopted to regulate our emotions but the unseen element is our bodies production of the hormone dopamine when it anticipates the reward is coming. People who “cut” themselves or play with their phones have the same addiction in common. They are hooked on the happy hormonal release of dopamine they get just before engaging in these acts. The same for overeating or smoking. Read this brief post on our hormones.

 

 

brain produces dopamine when you accomplish stuff on Shalavee.com

My friend and fellow blogger Heather Serody, author and creator of the blog Thrive in Midlife, wrote a very interesting series on how she overcame her over-drinking. Find the worksheets and links to her three pieces on How to Overcome Over-drinking Here. She discovered that the first part of breaking the cycle was abstinence. Allowing ourselves to cope without the crutch can be just the thing to prove to ourselves that the need for the addiction isn’t really there as much. Mind you that before or simultaneously, you may also want to have a talk with yourself about which fears are your go-to Cognitive Distortions; lies you tell yourself about how disastrous it all is and how it will always be (my preferred cognitive distortions are  catastrophic ones). There are more than a few that we offer ourselves to perpetuate our anxieties.Habit and Anxiety Makes Us Feel The Fear is Real on Shalavee.com

I also feel like our addictions become our pink elephants which also run the circus. I wrote a piece called Our addictions take on a life of their own in which I discuss how our fears have us so convinced that we will die without our addictions, we have no other options in light of this absolute but to continue feeding the fear beast and it’s dopamine addicted keeper.

A shortcut and circle has been made.

Anxiety equals feed or die and repeat.

We are intelligent beings whose quest for knowledge has placed cell phones in our hands and a couple of guys on the moon. Yet, when it comes to our own inner workings, we are not encouraged to understand ourselves. We are in fact encouraged to continue to watch Television news in horror so that we can become anxious and then go buy whatever we deem necessary to regulate our emotions. There is no profitability in self-discovery unless you’re in the self-help industry I suppose.

I abhor the concept that I’m a lemming destined to do the same exact thing everyday for the rest of my life as everyone else is doing. Call me a punk but if I really do have a choice everyday on what I do and who I am, let me be fully aware of how far that freedom extends. I don’t intend to continue to let fear control me if I can outsmart it and graduate to a better way of living.

“Fear, anxiety, and the addictions they create keep you from living, from hoping, and from moving. You are standing on the shoulder of the road of life while people are passing you who owned their choices and chose life over death or misery. You wouldn’t wish that fate on anyone so why are we living this fear loop for years? Because we don’t recognize our choice to choose hope.” From a blog post Addiction Pimps Out Your anxieties to Feed it’s Need

If any of this brings you relief to read it, you are not alone and I urge you to follow your inquisitions down whatever rabbit hole you need that you may truly understand that you are in control of your life. That the behaviours that we exhibit do not define us and we have all the power we give ourselves permission to have to fight back for the control. We can choose to return ourselves to ourselves.

If you enjoyed what you read, please subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

 

What Are We Not Talking About ? Let’s Talk

(A little late coming to you today as I was sick this weekend and still am)

If you read me regularly, you’ll know there’s not much I’m not talking about. Not necessarily current events but I will discuss what they really mean to each of us. I will always tell my truth, I will offer perspective, and I will look for hope. So what am I not talking about that we should be talking about?

How about Women’s issues? It really wasn’t until recently that I realized that women were oppressing themselves.  That was a new topic for me. And perhaps I need to delve more into this subject? I love to talk about creativity and how it helps to diminish anxiety however all the articles I can find are about how anxious people are creative. What Are We Not Talking About ? Let's Talk on Shalavee.com

And my recent discovery of the Impostor Syndrome has my me recognizing that the reasons I can’t ask for money, or maybe you can’t seek better employment, is because of our fears of being singled out and shamed,… our fear that we won’t do it right. Every day that I own my part in my repression, I am freer. And it takes understanding and knowledge to gain the power to walk away.

So what is it that we aren’t talking about? Leave me a comment if you think there’s a particular subject that needs our attention. And let’s think about these ideas together.

If you enjoyed what you read, please subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

The Recipe for a Solid Self

So many how to be happy books flood the market making happiness almost seem like a product people are selling that is too good to be true. I can say Happiness is all it’s cracked up to be but it’s also a very personal journey, not one anyone can magically give you. And I’m sure that any one of these books, or no books at all, will be helpful in you creating your happy life if you get down and do the homework and create the building blocks of making your happiness your project and your process. You are in charge of your own recipe.

I have this theory that our healthy selves are composed of some basic ingredients. As in your own kitchen where you need to stock the basics of flour, sugar, and yeast to make bread that will rise, I think there are some basic components we need to grow. And the first that comes to mind is Self-trust.The recipe for a solid self on Shalavee.com

I don’t think I truly understood it’s importance until I acknowledged the great chasm in me where it was missing. I was so anxious sometimes, I could feel like I was falling. I was unhappy pretending to be happy. And I wondered what I needed to “fix”. In fact, l was sorely lacking in self-trust.

What I needed was to have own my back. To know that I was reliable when I made promises to myself. That I would keep myself safe and take care of my needs above others’. Those are a few of the components of self-trust, signs that self-trust is present. Knowing that if you make a decision, it was the best you were capable of making at the moment and that good enough is acceptable.The recipe for a solid self on Shalavee.com

Gaining this self-knowledge is work. I suppose you have to first decide if you’re worthy of the work. Somehow I always knew my inner girl was worth it. One exercise that I found that has helped me tremendously is the Five Acknowledgements one. Maybe not daily, but at least several times a week, I write a list of the top five things that I have accomplished recently. It could be tasks or realizations or fears I’ve overcome. It can even just be acknowledgements of feelings I’m having. And somehow, this practice, much like a gratitude journal, has helped me keep an eye on my value and progress. And I can say my tin of self-trust is filling regularly.

What are the other bins filled with in my kitchen/arsenal ? Perspective, creativity, and compassion perhaps. If we don’t have our own definitions of what it means to be the person we want or what it looks like to live with purpose or passion, how do we know when we are engaged in living it ? Might seem daunting but I guarantee, once you decide what it is that you need to live with fulfillment and light, you will want to do this work to get there. One step at a time is all it takes.

If you enjoyed what you read, please subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

The Process and the Presence will Release You

There’s a lie we seem to like to tell ourselves, probably one that others sold us on once. That to be the best us, we need to have arrived somewhere. A set of circumstances needs to be in place, be that an amount of money or success or a certain weight. And we will be OK when this is set, and not until then. We’ve replaced process with destination.

I am reminded of my bedtime ritual as a kid. There were two alligators and a fox under my bed and only when I had on my clean underwear and then my PJs on was I safe from them. Except it was all a construct of my imagination. And when we’re all grown up, we are certain that those goals  are all adult and on the up and up. And so are the feelings of anxiety because we haven’t reached them. They are most certainly reliable indications that we need to work harder to achieve these things.The Process and the Presence will Release You on Shalavee.com

So like rats on a treadmill, we exhaust ourselves in the pursuit of enough. When there really is only one now that we can live while our fears play us for the fear junkies that we are.

We have forgotten the importance of process. That it is through finding out what we are and what we truly need to be complete (hint: not anything we can get at Wal-Mart) that we’ll find we are home with ourselves and no longer scrabbling for the unobtainable “enough”.The Process and the Presence will Release You on Shalavee.com

Allow for your process. In fact, thank the process when it messes your plans up. It’s trying to show you a better path. Ask yourself, what am I to learn from this detour and then learn it. As you collect your gleaned tidbits, your lessons, your insights, and your grief, you can be proud of you going forward. Because that messiness is exactly how you become a better you. The rinse and repeat of the daily anxiety dance will get you more of the same scared life. And the presence of mind to learn from yourself now will release you.

If you enjoyed what you read, please subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Live in The Chaotic Moment (Now is all you Have)

This was several days ago looking into my kitchen. I grabbed the moment and my perspective through my camera. The recycling had already been taken to the dump yet a pile awaited its shuffle into the very frigid garage. The counters and stove were covered in grease and crumbs and dirty dishes. The groceries yet to be unpacked. Complete chaos.

And having used up all of my leftovers and depleted my grocery supply, I did a fruits,veggies, and milk shop (a woman at the store exclaimed that all she wanted now was a salad!). I went ahead and made pots of both turkey chili and beef stew for our New Year’s Eve nosh. They were made with such love and they’re just delicious. I think I was glad to be alone in the kitchen without demand to entertain or command to play.

Live in the Chaotic Moment on Shalavee.com


Today, instead of feeling like I have to rush to usher my crispy tree out to the curb and clean my house to within an inch of my life, I am of a stealth mind instead. That’s how I got through the holidays so deftly as well. And this is how it’s done.


You keep putting one foot in front of the other. You don’t rush off to the future or the meaning of life with or without this task done. You hold a steady gaze on what you need and what needs to be done to receive that gift of accomplishment and you continue. Because you do get there eventually, don’t you? Live in the Chaotic Moment on Shalavee.com

Playing the overwhelm card never served my happier self, only my anxious self. Emotional maturity means you step back and renovate your ways one moment and one thought choice at a time. So this is me re-choosing my process. Sure my house is a filthy mess but who cares? We are having fun!

If you enjoyed what you read, please subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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