For many of who have anxiety issues, often a source of it is being shy and unsure of ourselves. I spent many years of my life not really speaking up: as a child with my family or at school, at work, in my marriage, etc. I think a lot of us have that “nice person” syndrome. We are afraid to really be ourselves because we want everyone to like us.
As a child and young adult I had a lot of sore throats and strep throat infections. When I was very small, my parents took me to many doctors in Honolulu (where we were living at the time). My parents wanted the doctors to take my tonsils out. They did not and told my folks that I would eventually outgrow these infections. For the most part I did, but was still prone to strep throat well into my twenties. Even now if I am under a lot of stress or overly tired, a sore throat tends to be my first symptom.
Louise Hay in her book, Heal your Body, describes a sore throat as: “the inability to speak up for one’s self. Swallowed anger. Stifled creativity. Refusal to change.”
The affirmation for this condition Ms. Hay prescribes is this:
“It’s okay to make noise. I express myself freely and joyously. I speak up for myself with ease. I express my creativity. I am willing to change.”
If we don’t speak up for ourselves, who will? I am a second grade school teacher. Little children at my school are expected to be quiet a lot of the time (no talking unless called on, no talking in hallways, in the lunchroom etc.). I was one of those well-behaved little children at school. I never acted up. Never got in trouble.
It is important to have a safe learning environment for kids. I understand the need to have order in the classroom. I sometimes wonder, however, if we discourage our young people from talking too much. It is easy to do this at home too when we are busy cooking dinner or reading the paper, doing emails etc. We need quiet and ask the kids to go play outside or tell them”not now, we will talk later”.
Some of us may have been born introverts. Perhaps though we have been conditioned to not speak up. It’s something to think about. We can work on reconditioning our old programming.
One of the most frustrating experiences for many of us with anxiety and insomnia is dealing with our “monkey minds”. This refers to when our minds are endlessly chattering on irritating worries, replays of the day or interactions with others, analyzing and agonizing over something over and over again. You know what I am talking about here. During the day I am so busy that I usually can keep that monkey mind dormant while I am taking care of the tasks of the day. It gets more challenging at night, however, as the house quiets down and it is time to retire.
Many of the posts here at The Warm Milk Journal in some way address the issue of quieting our mind enough so that we can sleep well at night and live a healthy balanced life during the day. Ways to quiet the monkey mind are: meditations, diversions and distractions, affirmations, taking walks, getting support from family, friends, or counselors if something serious really is causing these anxious thoughts. Often, though, there isn’t really anything “wrong” with us or our lives. We are just in the habit of thinking non stop in this way.
Sue Patton Thoele in her wonderful book, The Woman’s Book of Courage, likens our monkey thoughts to dwelling on fleas. They bug, irritate, pick, scratch, and bite at our minds until our feelings fester and they are kind of making us crazy (right?)
She advises us that if we notice our monkey mind concentrating on” fleas”, we can distract it with thoughts of “bananas, love, or thankfulness”. She reminds us that we need to be gentle with ourselves as we calm our monkey mind, because doing so is a life-long process.
Some affirmations to try:
I am in charge of my mind
I choose to think healing, loving,
and thankful thoughts.
I have the power to create peaceful thoughts
even in stressful situations.
Breath is the gift of life. If we are not breathing we are not living! So every breath we take truly is a gift. As much as we can, let’s be aware of our breathing. If we are getting stressed or hurried, we can just slow our breathing down, breathe deeper into our bellies, and then fully exhale. I like to do this when I am doing mundane things like driving my car or washing the dishes. When I’m waiting in line is a good time as well.
In an earlier post, I referred to one of my favorite books, Louise Hay’s Heal your Body. She describes breath as “the ability to take in life”. The affirmation she prescribes for good breathing is as follows: ” I love life. It is safe to live”.
This is a wonderful affirmation to try anytime during our day including times at night when we want to sleep.
Let’s try it. Breathe in deeply: “I love life. It is safe to live”. Breathe out. Repeat
Other simple affirmations that really work for me are ” I am safe”, “I am love”, “God loves me”, “I am enough”, and just meditating on the word “peace” or “I am peace.”
One of my favorite little books that I have owned for years is Heal Your Body by Louise Hay. In this book she lists many physical conditions that people have, the underlying mental causes for them, and then offers an affirmation to say and focus on to heal the condition.For our purposes here at the Warm Milk Journal I would like to share with you what she has to say about anxiety and insomnia.
Anxiety: Results from not trusting the flow and the process of life.
Affirmation for anxiety: I love and approve of myself and I trust the process of life. I am safe.
Insomnia: Results from fear. Not trusting the process of life. Guilt.
Affirmation for insomnia: I lovingly release the day and slip into peaceful sleep, knowing tomorrow will take care of itself.
Try writing these affirmations down in your journal. Close your eyes and meditate on them.
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