From anxiety to eagerness

I had an interesting experience just now as I went for a nice midday walk with my wife:

It was the most relaxed and happy I’ve ever felt on a leisurely stroll, but after half an hour I started to feel unwell, a little like being car sick.

I didn’t know why, but asked for an easy explanation and immediately I knew what was going on.

Dampening the senses

In the past my anxiety levels were much higher, and walking without a purpose or destination would trigger lots of vigilant behaviour that made me tense and uncomfortable.

In an effort to combat the anxiety I would do various things to dampen my sensory acuity and block out or filter the stimulation flowing in.

But anxiety itself would also filter and channel my awareness in strange ways, heightening my attention to movement, sounds, and possible “threats” in a fight-or-flight way.

I won’t bother trying to detail all the little things that contributed to this tunnel vision or active filtering of my sensory experience. Suffice it to say that being more relaxed and appreciative as I walked had an impact on those processes and left me feeling disoriented and then sick.

Rediscovering eagerness

As usual the answer was to “feel better”. And what felt better in those circumstances was to allow myself to once more feel an eagerness, excitement, and active engagement with my environment.

My previous attitude was like putting on blinkers to relieve the stress and anxiety of too much going on. But now that I feel better I actually want to see what is going on, appreciate it, take it all in, and revel in the environment around me.

This change in attitude is the difference between fearfulness and anticipation, a shift from wanting to hide and be invisible to looking out with a sense of eagerness for what my universe has in store for me.

I think the nausea was a direct physiological response to subtle things I was doing to avoid looking at the world clearly. But since I create my reality, I know that looking for things to relish and look forward to will eclipse and outshine anything I would once have sought to avoid.

Feel good all day 9

Feeling good is a skill, and like any skill you need to practice it until it becomes permanent.

And like any skill there’s a progression to it. You can look forward at people who surpass your current level and feel inspired. You can look back at how far you’ve come and feel appreciation.

The beauty of it is that we always expand and grow and develop, and if you appreciate that fact, then you can reach the ideal point of “satisfied with what is, and eager for more”.

This morning I felt dissatisfied with where I am. I felt like it was “not enough”. Dissatisfaction prompted me to focus more on what I do want, but thank goodness I’ve learned and practiced enough to know that the answer is not some grand effort or intense push for “more”. The answer is simply to focus again on satisfaction, appreciation, and eagerness for what is coming.

If you can find satisfaction now you can find it anywhere. If you can feel appreciation now you can feel it any time. And that is the basis for eager anticipation of what joys our future holds.