by: Amanda Huggins
My name is Amanda Huggins, and I’m….happy.
Really, truly, viscerally happy.
But, if this were 7 years ago, I don’t know that I could say – with conviction – that I was truly happy. In fact, if I were to introduce myself honestly as a younger version of myself, it would probably sound something like this:
“Hi, my name is Amanda, and you could never tell by looking at me, but every single day for me is a struggle.”
At first, my anxiety would visit me in seemingly innocuous moments: after a weird date, while I was sitting at my desk at work, after I checked my bank account. It was always there, but eventually, it got worse. I started becoming more reclusive, more stressed, and way less myself. I started to see that I was showing up differently.
I knew I had to do something. Over the course of about 5 years, I embarked on a journey to just feel better again. I read books, I attended seminars, I hired coaches, and eventually, I began implementing the healing modalities that I had been learning. I started to feel a heck of a lot better: filled with a sense of purpose, vibrant, and finally – happy.
I tried a lot of things on my transformation journey, and the path was chock-full of realizations and awarenesses…but do you want to know one of the biggest realizations I had?
It’s not that most people don’t want to feel better.
It’s that most people don’t yet know how.
My yoga practice was one of the most critical pieces in the beginning stages of my growth journey with anxiety. Yoga gave me what I had been searching for all along: the reconnection of my mind, body, and soul. In the months prior, I had been working diligently on exploring my anxiety using only my lizard brain: I would make lists, I would analyze, I would think…but I had never allowed myself to get into the depths of my emotions. I realized that it wasn’t enough for me to simply see my anxiety, I had to feel it too. I had to connect my analytical mind with my heart in order to heal.
On my mat, I discovered a place where I could explore the darkest corners of my mind without fear. All of the things I was afraid of looking at—my imperfections, my flaws, my sadness—were fair game, and I was finally ready to play.
The way in which I found healing was ultimately why I became an anxiety coach: I want to guide others who felt just as lost, frustrated, and confused as myself. To date, I’ve helped over 200 people with their own transformation journeys. I’ve spoken to numerous audiences about stress and anxiety, I’ve hosted workshops at some of the top companies in the country, and I create content for my online community of over 13 thousand people to help them deal with their stress and anxiety. I have been in this space for years and can definitively say that when people have the willingness to create a change and use tools to aid them in that change, they have complete power to control their lives and take charge of their anxiety.
When our anxiety is triggered, our body reacts: sweaty palms, a racing heart, a heaviness in the chest, a pang in the gut, headaches…the list goes on, and on. Once our bodies have a physical reaction, the mind runs rampant – and that is exactly where our stories, our fears, and our doubts can creep in.
I care deeply about this work, and my greatest wish is for everyone struggling with anxiety to gain the resources and understandings that will help them learn how to feel better.
In the spirit of that…I want to share with you 4 of my favorite journaling prompts to begin understanding – and ultimately shifting – your relationship with anxiety.
- What’s triggering my anxiety right now? Get specific about what your triggers are. Was it an interaction that reminded you of something from your past? Was it a specific person? Call it out with clarity, so that you can unpack and begin to understand it effectively.
- What story am I adding here? Did you go down the “OMG that person totally hates me” rabbit hole again? Or did you maybe make an assumption about something (aka “future-trip”) and now that false narrative is affecting your day? This is a chance to check in with yourself.
- What is the truth instead? Come back to the raw truth of the moment, with no story added to it. Use this prompt to level-set, come back to reality, and self-soothe.
- What simple action can I take to change my current state? Sometimes, it’s as simple as choosing new thoughts. In other cases, the “action step” might be larger: a location change, a job change, a relationship change…but start looking for action steps. Your intuition will never lead you astray.
When you give yourself a chance to write out, and get comfortable with, your current experience (rather than choosing to sweep it under the rug) it opens up an opportunity to actively shift your thoughts from story to truth. To choose a little bit better. To soothe the anxiety more and more each time.
Play with these prompts. Come back to them often. use them liberally, and as always…practice with love. You’ve got this!
Gaiam influencer, Amanda Huggins, is an anxiety coach, keynote speaker and spiritual self-love mentor who helps individuals work through their anxiety to find deep personal success. Follow Amanda Huggins at @anxietytoempowerment and learn more about her coaching programs.