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Navigating the ups and downs of anxiety healing

Have you experienced a setback or difficult moment during your healing journey with anxiety? Then this may resonate with you. Healing can be filled with ups and downs and sometimes we may know how to navigate these difficult moments. I hope as you continue to read you not only feel supported through however you are feeling right now, but you also come away with a few ways you can best support yourself during these difficult times.


When I first experienced experienced a 'setback' (for which I now call it something different, which I will explain below), I immediately thought that I had failed. At the time I thought I could heal 'perfectly' and by simply doing ALL the CBT practices that I would just erase all anxiety from my body and mind. This may have been a thought you had as well. Many of us who come from a background of people pleasing and perfectionism often want to find the 'answer' to healing. We so desperately want to be back to our 'previous life' that we are willing to do anything to 'get rid of' the feeling. Now I write many of these statements in quotations only because my understanding of healing has completely shifted from these statements I shared above.


If I could go back and talk to myself when I was struggling with anxiety, I would try my best to support myself and be as compassionate as possible rather than beating myself up with negative and shameful comments.


Moments of high anxiety and feelings of being 'setback' can come at different moments throughout our healing journey. I used to think they meant I had done something 'wrong' but now I understand them to be a message. A moment to practice the coping skills I had learned, a moment to reflect on if I'm taking care of myself in the best way, or a moment to dive deeper into another layer of healing I hadn't encountered yet. The way we view these difficult moments can make a huge difference in how we approach these moments.


The first thought around navigating these difficult moments is about how we speak to ourselves. Self compassion can help us to show ourselves (and our nervous systems) the love and support we need. If you'd like to read more about how to support yourself with compassion, and practice this skill, you can download my free worksheet here.


The second thought is around what we do during this time. Not only is it important to practice how we speak to ourselves, it is also important to see what actions we take. Self talk is one thing, but action is different. Action requires us to address and sit with these thoughts without pushing them away. It allows us to sit in the difficult moment and know that we are going to get through it. It can be easy to fall back into old habits of overthinking, and self sabotaging when we experience anxiety because its still our default response. The action step is all about seeing where our brain wants to go, and choosing out of it. When we sit with those feelings of anxiety without judgement, we change our bodies reaction to them.


The third and final thought is how we move forward after this event. Many of us may want to default to letting this struggle define us. Its important to remember that this moment does NOT define who you are, nor does it erase the progress you've made. These moments are brief deviations from our path of healing, but sometimes those moments can lead to a different and more enlightened path of healing.


You are SO strong, much stronger than your thoughts may be telling you. This moment does not define who you are. It does not define your ability to heal.


Never forget that.


Sending you so much love,

Carly


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