What is to give light must endure burning. Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. ~ Viktor Frankl; Man’s Search for Meaning
For many people today, anxiety is typically seen as a negative experience and/or emotion and something to be avoided. What if we were to take a different view and we learn to see anxiety as a crucial component of a fully lived life? What if we were to look at anxiety as “activation energy” that courses through our body when we are called to do something that we know is important to us and serves the purpose of helping us meet a challenge, overcome an obstacle, or achieve a goal? It might be going to a job interview, having a difficult conversation with your partner or friend, or putting your hand up to ask a question during a college lecture, with hundreds of your peers in the room or these days online.
Listen to your body’s reaction to anxiety.
Before you attempt to do any of these things, your body will provide you with a surge of energy that wakes you up and gears you to take action and yes it often feels uncomfortable. If you manage to complete your challenge and face your anxiety, your confidence will increase because you’ve taken a risk and expressed yourself in a situation that made you uncomfortable.
Don’t succumb to comfort.
Often this same energy that is generated and asks us “to do something” is suppressed and doesn’t find an outlet leading us to choose to be disengaged with the world. We then avoid the challenge, staying suppressed in your system. It could likely come back later to haunt you. This is a response to not wanting to feel uncomfortable and instead, you seek comfort. In this comfort, there is no growth.
Learn to view anxiety as a form of “activation energy”. Changing our view of anxiety can help us to grow, becoming something to be embraced rather than something we look to avoid. Use this call to action to take a risk and engage with what is in front of you. If you can develop the habit of leaning into your anxiety, you will progressively increase your sense of agency, self-confidence, and authenticity in the world. You will be alive!
About Bradd Buckingham, M.A., LPC-R; Resident in Counseling:
Bradd is currently a resident in counseling providing counseling services at our Fredericksburg location. He is actively pursuing his license in Professional Counseling (LPC). Bradd is a recent graduate of The University of the Cumberlands with a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He completed a demanding internship working with individuals and couples at Fredericksburg Counseling Services.
Bradd specializes in working with individuals with complex trauma, personality disorders, anxiety, and depression. He can offer a safe environment for individuals and families in the LGBTQ community. Bradd also works with individuals with a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.