Today's practice was a 10 mile loop over the downtown bridge and back, which I did three times in a row. The practice was pretty typical: I felt most anxious the first time and was almost bored with it by the third. What helped the most were the paradoxical techniques of asking anxiety symptoms to increase, purposefully repeating anxiety provoking phrases, and dropping my guard. Knowing intellectually that nothing bad ever happens, I physically dropped the tension in my shoulders and said outloud, "Hit me. Come on. Give you your best shot. I can handle it."
I felt hopeful as I finished up that practice, the sun was shining and I thought of all the opportunities in life when anxiety does not rule decision making. I love that dreamy space where everything is a possibility. I even dreamed of the article I'd write after these 30 days are over when I'm feeling so much better.
As evening finds me anxious and tense again, obsessing on how I'm always going to feel this way, I'm trying to remind myself that this is what I expected. There would be no challenge if it was easy from the beginning. Long term conditioning will take a while to reverse. It's normal to be worrying that tomorrow and the days to follow won't be as smooth; that I won't be able to take on harder challenges. But, that's ok. I expected that and can handle whatever arises.
Looking forward to stirring up more trouble for myself tomorrow.
I'll be checking in a couple times per week -- see you soon!