We are living in anxious times. Climate change, economic stress, pandemic conflicts and fears – all of these contribute to exacerbate anxiety, especially in individuals already prone to sensitivity. Anxiety in children has doubled since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, but the number of adults reporting anxiety increased nearly four times during that period.
I have lived with anxiety and panic disorder for most of my life – fortunately it is now under control and usually easy to manage, but I’m all too familiar with the spiraling of fears that can debilitate one’s life. Some individuals are more prone to anxiety and we can see this in the astrological chart: Close contacts of personal planets to Uranus, the planet of electricity and change, often signify a tendency to be anxious. This is especially true when Chiron is in a hard aspect (square, opposition, conjunction) to Uranus and there is an increased sensitivity to all emotions.
In life there are many things that we cannot control. Anxiety amplifies this and causes a spiral into an abyss of fears of those things. Many of my clients these days are telling me that they are unable to sleep for fear of what is happening in the world. They fear for their children and grandchildren. They worry that the political situation will destroy their lives. These worries can devolve into an obsession that if we can only get everything under our control, somehow we will find some peace. Peace of course will not happen in this way.
There’s a mental facet to anxiety as well as an emotional and energetic one. The prayer for the wisdom to accept the things we cannot change and the courage to change the things we can is such a wise tool for the mental facet of anxiety. Sometimes all it takes to calm the beast is to take a notebook and list all of the things we fear. Which of those can we empower ourselves to change? How can we adjust our lives for the things we cannot change? Climate change will not be solved by one person’s recycling habits, and we may need to look into the future and make some practical changes. Taking control of the things we CAN change can offer a sense of empowerment to tame the anxiety spiral.
Breathing is critical for life itself, but it is also both a symptom and treatment for anxiety. When we feel anxious and fearful our breath changes and becomes more shallow. Taking time every day to breathe slowly and deeply will help activate the vagus nerve to slow down and calm the nervous system. If we make this a habit when we’re NOT feeling anxious, it will be easier to activate the trigger when we need it. When the tsunami of fear begins to build we will be able to more easily breathe through it and allow it to pass through our bodies like a breeze. When we hold onto the fears they simply grow in intensity, when we relax our bodies and breathe through the tension it becomes easier and easier to release.
The emotional and energetic aspect of anxiety can cause us to feel that our very nerves are exposed and that we are a jangly mess of synapses. We may experience emotions as dissonant energies rather than feelings and memories, and it can be difficult to know how to process this. Energy work can help the symptoms, but may not change the underlying emotional patterns which need to be released. For this it may be useful to seek help from a qualified therapist who is skilled in trauma release, but there are practical tools that we can use every day: exercise, calming music, time in nature, journaling, connecting with people we trust.
There is a gold nugget hidden within our anxiety, and that is the motivation to understand ourselves more deeply. In the process of healing our anxiety and the wounds that lie beneath it, there are gifts of great wisdom that await us. ❤️