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Anxiety Is a Signal

One night this summer, I had an anxiety dream (that’s what I call it). I don’t have them often, but in this particular dream I’m looking at a city that has flooded, and I’m wandering around, barefoot, in an amusement park. I need to go to the bathroom, but I keep thinking, “I can’t go into the bathroom with bare feet.”  

As I replayed the dream in my head, I connected it to our family’s upcoming move and realized that I was anxious—really anxious—about the move.

I mentioned this dream to Curtis Chang as I was recording a conversation with him about anxiety. He had just told me about his own experience with sleep and anxiety, which he described as hitting “a two-week period where I did not fall asleep consciously. At around day 10, I remember I was alone in the house, and I screamed out loud, ‘God, just make this stop. Just make this stop. I will say anything. I will do anything. I will believe anything if you just make this stop.’”

Our experiences with sleep and anxiety prompted me to ask him this question:

How do you actually address anxiety when you become aware that it’s present? 

Curtis said, “Anxiety is a signal that we are living in the future in some way—it’s some future loss that we’re rehearsing in our mind over and over again, or subconsciously perhaps.”

So what do we do when we receive anxiety’s signal? How do we grow in the midst of anxiety and our fear of loss?

Curtis gave a really practical answer—use anxiety as an INVITATION TO BE PRESENT. 

He suggested several ways to accept this invitation, including: 

  • Mindfulness
  • Breathing
  • Time in nature

Go listen to my conversation with Curtis! He offers insight into spiritual practices for facing anxiety and really practical ways we can grow in the midst of anxiety. I’m hearing from so many listeners that this was just the conversation they needed.

What are practical ways that you live in the present?

gradient blue graphic with cutout photos of Amy Julia Becker and Curtis Chang with text in the center that says Love Is Stronger Than Fear and Anxiety: A Doorway to Your Best Self?

More with Amy Julia:

S7 E2 | Anxiety: A Doorway to Your Best Self? with Curtis Chang
Breaking the Anxiety Boomerang
What Energizes Me? Anxiety or Love?

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