As you probably already know, most anxiety comes from our feelings of powerlessness to change or control situations and people. In order to reduce anxiety, it does take a little faith in something greater than ourselves – be that God/Goddess/Universe, the inherent goodness of humanity, or a belief that somehow things will work out for the best even if it doesn’t seem like it. A technique that Cody and I use to help lessen some of this anxiety is a worry/wish jar. If there is an item or outcome that we desire, or if there is a situation we truly feel powerless over, we write it down and put it in the worry/wish jar. Around the neck of the bottle, there is a fortune we received from a fortune cookie that says “Don’t Panic.” Next to the worry/wish jar, we also have a gratitude jar. We use the gratitude jar as a way to express our gratitude in general but also to hold those worries/wishes that have been resolved. At the beginning of every new year, I empty out the worry/wish & gratitude jars and write how many wishes and worries were resolved in my journal. We have been doing this for two years now and it is astounding how many have been resolved (98% in those two years). What is interesting about this ritual is that when we reviewed many of the issues, we were surprised that they had been issues at all because they had lost their scariness and anxiety-inducing power in retrospect. This is helpful to remember moving forward because it instills a kind of faith that things will work out in the end. Additionally, it helps to lessen anxiety because every time that issue comes up (1,000 times a day), you can tell it (mentally or out loud) that the issue is being taken care of. This has worked particularly well for me. When something I’m anxious about keeps stealing my mental energy, I can remind myself that I have already put the request in the worry jar and a resolution is on its way even if I have no idea how it will occur. This does require a little faith at first, but eventually, when you start to see these issues resolved or wishes granted, your faith will grow. The trick is to surrender the fear and the want along with the outcome and allow that power greater than ourselves to intervene on our behalf for a perfect resolution. I keep the jar in the living room where we spend the majority of our time so that it is easily accessible whenever we need it.
As I am sure it is becoming clear, lessening anxiety is not an easy, quick fix. It takes a combination of different techniques that are easy to implement. It also takes a lot of experimenting to find what works for you and what doesn’t. What works for you may not work for your partner or your child. Everyone has to experiment to determine what is best for them. My only suggestion is that you stick with something for a while even if it doesn’t seem to be working right away. Sometimes these techniques take time for you to reap the benefits. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and allow yourself to be suspended in the unknown for a while before that big hand reaches out to catch you and place you safely on the ground.