“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” ~Amit Ray
I was on a road trip and we encountered a major thunderstorm that was very nerve wracking for me as the passenger. We were on the freeway and I noticed that up ahead were ominous looking dark clouds. Once we hit the storm, it was a torrential down pour. We had the wipers going at full speed and you could barely see the car in front of us. Many cars had pulled over to the side of the road, some with their flashers on and others with their lights turned off. It was a dangerous situation; we were in the middle lane of the three-lane highway. Every car and truck, but ours, had their flashers on as they were driving. The highway was flooded with water so whenever a semi-truck passed us we had another major impact of water, in addition to the rain, so we were blinded for a few seconds.
We were in this intense storm for forty-five minutes and needless to say I did not enjoy it. Why didn’t I enjoy it? Because I wasn’t in control; I wasn’t driving and I could not control the weather. And then I remembered “Oh yeah, I am never in control.” At the point I became aware that I was not in control, I remembered that I needed to practice present moment awareness. The first thing I did was take slow deep breaths. That made me aware that I had been taking shallow breaths and that I had tensed all of my muscles. Deep Breathing with longer exhalations than inhalations immediately helped to relax my body and mind. Then I remembered that I needed to surrender to the situation, as I had no control over what would happen. My mind was racing with thoughts of all of the things that could happen (car crashes, death, etc.), but I needed to be present in the now and just accept what was actually happening. As soon as I surrendered, a deep calm overwhelmed my body. It was amazing – it was actually a blissful feeling in the midst of this uncertainty. I didn’t enjoy the storm and I was grateful when the storm let up, but I learned a great lesson in letting go and practicing acceptance.
How do you bring calmness to yourself and your body when you are in stressful situations?
How do you conquer the anxiety of life?
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
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