Summer Reading – Chapter 3

I hope you all are getting a chance to get caught up in the workbook and enjoying it. Chapter 3 is short and sweet with a resounding main message about struggle and avoidance.

“The most critical element that separates normal from problematic anxiety and fear is this: avoidance, avoidance and more avoidance.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just avoid a few yucky emotions and they would just go away? For some reason, avoidance does really feel toxic for the anxious brain. At this stage of the game, for me, I’m almost more afraid of avoiding something than of entering a situation and knowing I’ll be anxious. My experience has taught me that even one little avoidance and the slope is feeling mighty slippery. A few years back, I was driving and had the thought, “Uh oh, I’m feeling kind of anxious today. I think I’ll take the back roads instead of the highway.” Wouldn’t you know, the next day, it felt 10x harder to get back on the highway, even though that route had become part of my routine.

Can you relate to the poison ivy analogy? If you’ve never had poison ivy, consider yourself lucky! If you have, then you know it’s almost impossible not to scratch at that insidious itch! Anxiety can feel alot like that. We want to float through it, drop the rope and not struggle, but the urge to fight/struggle/itch is automatic.

I’m looking forward to learning more about the attitude shift and mindfulness techniques that are soon to come. I like how the authors ask us not to be convinced that their techniques will work, but to simply have an open mind.

Although chapters to come will cover these questions, I’m wondering:

*What are you avoiding right now?

*What would you be doing differently in your life if anxiety was not an issue?

*What messages are sinking in for you from this workbook? What resonates the strongest?

*Are you ready to tackle chapters 4 & 5?

See you soon!