As I sit here I can feel my body begin to tense up. It starts in my lower back moving up and out into my hands. Before I know it I am holding my breath or breathing in short breaths. My shoulders raise up to what feels like my ears.
This is anxiety.
I am working hard on not allowing anxiety to take over. It sneaks up on me sometimes. I recently returned from a trip to see my family and my friends from way way back. A place where I feel fully supported and wrapped around. It is not lonely there. In fact being where I grew up fills me up with energy and happiness and the anxiety fades away.
I am home again now though and still adjusting to my new normal of this year post divorce. It sometimes feels empty and lonely and that’s when the anxiety creeps up. I feel totally out of equilibrium. I have been here in Hanover, New Hampshire for awhile but not long enough it seems, to have developed a rhythm. The people still feel newer, the connections aren’t as deep. I know this all takes time. The feelings of loneliness and anxiety are linked together.
The first thing I am doing to combat these feelings of anxiety is to remind myself to breathe. When I feel the tension start up, I remind myself to take several long, deep breaths. I cue myself to lower my shoulders. Sometimes I close my eyes as I am breathing. Slowly the anxiety fades back to grey but somehow it still lingers.
This year I have begun taking yoga again. Yoga class is a good place to practice deep breathing and also a place where I can find meditation. Stretching out deeply and breathing can help to bring a sense of calm and peace even if only during class.
I am thankful for all of the good that I have in my life. Now I just need to be able to let go of the anxiety that follows me. I need to learn to embrace being on my own and focus on my inner strength rather than to allow the anxiety to control me. I need to continue to learn to breathe more deeply and to take things one day at a time.