Anxiety Taught Me to Be a Better Person

By Wes Annac, Editor, Karma Yoga Daily

A recent anxiety attack taught me that there are things in my life I must change if I want to feel better. If I don’t make these changes, I will continue to grapple with the awful feelings that brought me here.

Unless you have a disorder, which I do not, an anxiety attack can signify that there is something – or many things – you’re doing that do not sit well with your mind and/or body.

If you repeat this behavior every day, you do so at the mind or body’s increasing discomfort. Your body will communicate this, and if you ignore it, the day will come when these feelings erupt on their own.

Along with alerting you to the consequences of destructive behavior, an anxiety attack can signify that there are unresolved and deeply-rooted emotional problems you must address.

The spiritual community refers to these as vasanas, and we all have a few waiting to go off. Looking back on it, my anxiety attack seems to have lifted a weight that I didn’t know I was carrying. Perhaps it helped me work through some of my vasanas.

I’m not embarrassed to admit I was in a bad place. I avoided the crushing weight that had built up in me in the past few years, and it had no choice but to show itself. Its trigger happened to be the fear and anxiety I was suppressing yet living with daily.

People tend to suppress rather than express what’s hurting them. Emotional pain is universal, and yet, we carry it around as if it only afflicts us. To talk about it with any “normal” person would be a sin. We would become outcasts damned to the fringes of society.

So, like everyone else, I bottled up my pain.

I accepted daily anxiety as an ally, unaware of the damage it was doing. I avoided activities like exercise (or getting outside at all) that would have helped me feel better. I avoided being open with myself about the low feelings I was dragging around.

It took its toll.

What’s interesting is that I don’t feel the shame you would think comes with admitting to an anxiety attack. Maybe it’s because I’m lucky enough to be a part of a community in which you can share these struggles and receive nothing but love and support.

Whatever the reason, it seems silly to me that people hide their struggles from each other. I don’t know why we’re so afraid to be vulnerable, but I now know that my problems will worsen if I hide that part of myself.

In my opinion, one big reason we get depressed, anxious, or afraid is that we are always trying to suppress these feelings. To figure out what’s causing them, we’d have to confront the pain from our past.

We don’t want to find the source of that pain because it hurts too much. In more extreme cases of trauma early in life, the mind will block it out altogether. Despite this, we can’t avoid it for long. It will eventually show up as an anxiety attack or something worse.

There is freedom in addressing and working through these awful feelings that clog the mind. Talking about them and letting them go will free you from a life spent worrying about what could go wrong while ignoring what is already going wrong on the inside.

Attaining this freedom means doing some difficult inner work, and in my case, it also means resuming the activities I know are good for me. Something as simple as getting out of the house and enjoying the outdoors can make a big difference.

My anxiety attack was the result of unresolved negative feelings that had accumulated combined with a lack of physical activity and too much time spent indoors. If I’m being honest, it would’ve helped if I’d spent less time stressing and more time writing.

Now that I’m aware of this, it’s time to do the work. Combating anxiety can mean holding yourself to a standard in which you refuse to fall back into the familiar feelings of despair and hopelessness. This is my task.

It’s rough to be so brutally honest with yourself, and it will require you to leave your comfort zone a lot. It may seem pointless at first, but it is without a doubt the best path to the wellness we all deserve.

Don’t let anxiety or depression overpower you. Try to get to their root, and most importantly, let out those awful feelings. There is no shame in letting them go. It could be just what you need.

Featured image credit: Pixabay

About the author:

31287220_1930589003619961_7591073383912046592_nI’m a twenty-something writer & blogger with an interest in spirituality, the environment, activism, music, and other awesome stuff. I run Karma Yoga Daily, a news blog dedicated to sharing daily wisdom.

This personal blog I run is pretty great, too.

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