Chill out- Learning to Relax with Anxiety

I love to plan; I will write a to do list anywhere on anything. I have kept a planner since grade school, and I refer to it daily. I do all the travel planning, and I even plan the times I want to relax. In fact, this very blog post was PLANNED! I am a freak; I know but it wasn’t until recently that I understood why. As I told you guys before I practice yoga. When I began it was solely to support a friend, and get in a good stretch, but since then I have learned the importance of balance, not only in tree pose but in our everyday lives. Paulo Coelho’s book the Alchemist, had reinforced this ideology and I believe that being both flexible and balanced is an essential key to secure bliss in all of our lives. However, even though I believe this it does not mean I always practice it, in fact there is always more to learn.

 a typical outdoor yoga class... i am not in this photo
A typical outdoor yoga class… I am not in this photo

In my case, I am not ashamed to admit that I am a bit of a control freak. I use planning as a way to prevent life from- happening. I have always struggled to maintain peace- trying not to become overwhelmed with all the many things that “have” to and “need” to be done, and I found that scheduling it makes it just a little easier for me to manage. Sometimes I fail at this and I panic, my breath gets short, I lose my appetite, and break into a sweat, often times I scream. Early on my mom noticed this and encouraged me to take up long distance running. The regular exercise in combination with my planner was a life changer- I was back in control. For years I thought I was cured that I no longer freaked out like that. I was wrong, I had learned how to manage my emotions but I was far from cured. As I’ve grown older I have encountered greater stresses, greater responsibilities and more immediate needs but I still desire to be in control, and I usually plan all my worries away. However, when that control is disrupted and I can’t check off that box in my notebook panic ensues. I become a bug eyed, emotional prepubescent tween all over again.images-7
Case in point, I recently planned and scheduled a FUN Friday night with the girls. I was giving myself the final once over, and had planned to be in the car and on my way within fifteen minutes. But then my boyfriend asked me to take him to a friends, a small request that would have took me twenty to thirty extra minutes caused me to fall apart. Asking me to deviate from my plan meant I had lost “control”, and those panic attacks that I thought were long gone were back with a vengeance. I am mortified to admit this but I became rigid, and off balance- I was screaming and cursing and saying absolutely, positively HELL NO!giphy It wasn’t until my friend, whom I always get on for not planning, asked me quite earnestly: “Is your plan so much more important than doing your boyfriend a favor?”. I was floored! Of course not! So why was I acting like this… because I was hyper focused on my plan, so much so that I had forgot to enjoy life and all its spontaneity.unknown-2
Paulo Coelho once said “The Secret of Happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon.” (this will make better sense if you read the parable, click the link). I was so focused on the oil in the spoon that I had forgot to enjoy all the wonders of the world. Since practicing yoga I have been able to see myself and the world around me more clearly. I allow myself to relinquish control and trust my body as I bend myself in ways I had no idea I could bend, and balance in positions I thought I was sure to tumble out of, and in the end I hope I take a little bit of that flexibility and a little bit of that balance and remind myself that everything can’t be planned, and that is OK. We are all perfectly imperfect, but no-one can steal our peace as long as we have control over our own breath.amy-poehler-fist-bump

2 Comments on “Chill out- Learning to Relax with Anxiety

  1. Thanks for writing such an honest article about your personal struggles. While reading it I saw myself. I love The Alchemist, I might need to read it again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *