You might want to grab a cuppa before reading this post as its a long one!
I've been doing a lot of reflecting recently on how anxiety can creep up on you when you least expect it. I've recently had an experience that generates anxiety within me (forms, numbers and an old childhood reprimands for being rubbish at maths), and it struck me how quickly we can return to an anxious state when we are triggered by something that we thought we'd resolved.
So my anxiousness took me a bit by surprise because I hadn't recognised I was 'holding it', until a particular event occurred which resulted in me feeling highly anxious- yes even us coaches experience anxiety! I really should have noticed the signs- pit of the stomach unease, interrupted sleep, lacking in wanting to eat, and feeling that my thoughts were racing and running away with me. The more I tried to focus on something else, the more the nagging unease and worry returned. I put it down to the fact that I was in the middle of recording for an upcoming webinar, rushing to get things done around the house, and keeping a teen occupied during the summer holidays.
Numbers and maths related activities are my biggest childhood fear. It was only later on in life I realised that I wasn't 'bad' at numbers, I just took the scenic route when calculating. However, because my system of calculation didn't 'fit' with the school education norm, I used to have to spend hours and hours going over and over the methods of calculation which I just did not understand. Because I didn't understand the process and method, I used to get frustrated with myself- this was compounded by others who, despite their patience, soon got as frustrated with me because I wasn't 'getting it', and their response was to raise their voice at me, which I interpreted as anger and sheer disbelief that I could be so slow at understanding. Aren't our minds wonderful at creating perceptions which, as it turned out, were inaccurate?!
Over time during my childhood I subconsciously developed a pattern of feeling highly anxious before any maths classes. And my goodness I used to get so wound up during the lunch period before mental arithmetic in secondary school. I'd always be trailing behind the rest of my classmates which further reinforced the reason to be anxious. I'll never forget Thursday afternoons after lunch! I couldn't sleep the night before, nor eat on that day. I'd have a horrible unease that increased as the morning wore on, and by lunchtime, although I hid it well, I was actually at the point of terror.
Looking back on it, I can't quite believe how I could get into such a state about a 1/2 hour maths class but as I grew up and began to realise that I actually was ok at maths it was just my system was different from what was taught, I began to stress less around math type activities, mainly because I found strategies to avoid these activities as much as I possibly could. I'd avoid them until I knew a deadline had to be attended to and what this did was to save up the anxiety to present itself in a more powerful way at the point where I'd got limited time to respond. So I was sabotaging myself by not affording myself the time, space and calmness to attend to it. Deadlines were met for sure,but at huge emotional cost.
So when it recently came to having to complete a batch of forms requiring maths based activities, it triggered the childhood memory in me and I went into an anxiety laden tail spin. However, this time, and because my friends know this pattern in me, I was able to at least face the issue and share it with someone who has no fear on the forms and maths front, and effortlessly helped me deal with what I could at the time- and for that I am incredibly grateful. I hadn't realised just how anxious I was until I was able to see how to move forward with some options. It was only then I really recognised how much I had been carrying anxiety around with me for a few weeks.
So what did I learn from all that? Well a couple of things. Firstly the old adage 'a problem shared is a problem halved' is so very true. It was a relief to be able to share my anxiety and my fears with someone. As a coach although we are supposed to have it all together , the reality is that we're human too, and we get triggered by our own inner stuff. The advantage of being a coach is being able to recognise it fairly early (though in this case I still waited a few weeks- almost as if I had to wait for the pressure to build to an untenable level of pain- but I responded much sooner than my usual pattern of the day before deadline), and combined with the colour coaching, I was able to work with the colour. The combination of help from a supportive friend, noting the colour in order to surface the pattern, and then take steps to release that subconscious pattern enabled me to attend to it with awareness and movement forward.
So, if you're still with me, you might be interested to know what the colour of anxiety is. Yellow relates to anxiety. Yellow in the negative relates to addiction, anxiety, eating disorders, confusion. Yellow relates to our solar plexus chakra- often referred to as our power centre. So when we're in the negative attribute of yellow we feel powerless, confused, racing about and not being able to settle. At one end of the anxiety spectrum we're confused and indecisive, at the other end we can have panic attack, palpitations, sweating, avoidance behaviours and try to isolate ourselves from others.
How did I deal with anxiety through colour? Well, I began by pulling all the blue bottles of colour that I have. In the positive, blue relates to calm, feeling safe, and being able to communicate effectively. In addition I did some EFT (tapping) to acknowledge and shift the anxiety. I also used yellow around me, as in the positive yellow relates to being able to detach from the emotional state without shutting down emotionally. It also brings optimism, and use of logic and analysis. I also talked through the issues and as a result of doing so, was able to see the options available to me which helped me clarify my next steps and the direction to take. Again the positive attribute of yellow.
Where am I at now? Well, I've got rid of the anxiety (yay!). It doesn't have a home here and although it may pop up again, I'm far more attuned to reading the signs and I'm armed with deeper awareness and even better strategies than the ones I had before, so anxiety has actually done me a favour! And it got me thinking about you. You may be reading this and some of this resonates with you, and if not you, then maybe you know someone who is doing their best to exist with anxiety. I don't want you or those close to you having to repeat the cycle of anxiousness, so I thought about how colour coaching can help you.
As a result of the experience of anxiety I have created a free pdf on 7 strategies to Eliminate Anxiety. You can access this by using the email sign up here.
If you don't wish to sign up but you want to know more about the positive and negative attributes of the colour yellow, you can check out my previous blog post here.
I have also developed a mini video series on 7 Strategies To Eliminate Anxiety, so if you would like to get hold of your 7 mini videos, PDF, slides, and task book, you can access these via the shop.
So I hope these resources will be of help to you and help you eliminate anxiety too. In the meantime, are you like me? Have you experienced anxiety? What triggers your anxiety, and have you discovered the root cause of the pattern? What colours are you drawn to when you feel anxious? I'd love to hear your experiences and comments. You can drop me a comment below or go to my facebook page and leave me a comment.
Wishing you a colourful day!