You can regard anxiety as something you have to control, or you can turn it into a form of positive energy, says personal coach Sherianna Boyle.
What are the four gifts of anxiety?
First let me explain the symptoms themselves are not gifts; it is the experience of the symptoms which leads to many gifts. The ones I highlight in the book are the gift of purpose, resiliency, empathy, and hope. However, within these gifts are many more, one being the gift of receiving. Most of us have been trained well in how to give. I find we are less developed in our ability to receive. One of the gifts you will gain from this book is the ability to receive the present moment in the absence of fear.
Is there a mistake or set of mistakes that people make in thinking about and dealing with anxiety?
I really don’t believe in mistakes anymore. I believe in choices. Some people choose to view anxiety as something you have to deal with, an internal battle or struggle. I no longer see it that way. The symptoms to me are guideposts for the quality of your energy. When people evaluate, judge, or attempt to fix emotions such as self-doubt, dread, and insecurity, they are actually depleting themselves of the ability to experience and therefore transform them into something greater. Our emotions are a form of energy that takes on various vibrations and frequencies. The symptoms of anxiety are simply a lower, denser frequency than emotions such as joy and love. Therefore, it is no longer about getting rid of anything; you have the power to convert them into something more useful. The book shows you how.
What is the most surprising thing you discovered in researching/writing this book?
I believe I truly now know what it means to be a spiritual being having a human experience. The amount of information that came through while writing this book was profound. The gifts reside within our higher consciousness. The book offers many tools and strategies for accessing them. It is like opening up a treasure chest that has been locked away. There are things anxiety wanted us to know, the gifts are some of them; however, as the book illustrates, there is always more. Even after the book was complete the information kept coming. I am writing about that now.
What is the most important point you want to get across?
You or your clients are not their symptoms. There is nothing to be afraid of. This is about an integration of mind, body, and spirit. I also want people to know this works. I have experienced it firsthand and have seen tremendous growth in my clients. I also have incorporated it into group work.
Your book draws on multiple wisdom traditions. Is there one strain of thought or spiritual guidance that you could expand on a bit, in terms of how it can be used to manage anxiety?
The idea of managing anxiety is connected to an old (anxiety-focused) system that implies that our emotions are something we need to control. In this new system (gift-focused) our emotions are something you can influence by your thoughts, beliefs, and interpretations. It is less about control and more about cultivating a state of flow. Emotions of guilt and nervousness are not bad; it is when they become stifled, ignored, and devalued that static states of mind are created. Rather than allowing people to feel an array of emotions, life then becomes narrowed and dominated by a few. In other words, replace control and manage with awareness.
What would you like to see happen as a result of your book?
It is not so much about what I want to happen but rather what is happening. Consciousness is being raised, and human beings are ready to become empowered. The field of psychology is changing for the better. The client or patient relationship is evolving. The symptoms of anxiety surfaced to teach us about our souls. As we move into this direction we will become less anxiety-focused and more soul-directed.
Can you suggest just one exercise that readers could try, at this very moment, if they are feeling anxious?
One of my favorite mantras is, “I am more than this.” Close your eyes and tune into your breath. Soften your face, eyes, and corners of your mouth. As you inhale, allow your abdomen to puff out like a balloon; on exhale, pull your navel in. As you relax, allow your skin to reflect the sensation of your spirit. Envision your essence wrapping around you as you exhale and expanding outward on inhale. Know that you are more than your thoughts, stories, memories, beliefs, and patterns. You are an infinite being having a divine experience, and the choice to open up to your breath opens the doorway to your gifts.
About THE AUTHOR SPEAKS: Selected authors, in their own words, reveal the story behind the story. Authors are featured thanks to promotional placement by their publishing houses.
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