23 Aug /I Admit It

Posted by Vanessa Steinberg

I struggle with anxiety. 

The fear of saying it was harder than actually admitting it. Yet the confession makes all the difference now that I’m at peace with it. I’m immensely grateful that I’m able to set that fear aside and share my story in the hopes of stirring something in you.  My close circle of friends is probably reading this thinking, “Wait what? How’s it even possible that she suffers from anxiety when she seems to be so calm and collected?”  I’m generally a happy person but the anxiety always found a way to tap me on the shoulder and say “HEY LET’S TALK!” The problem was my reaction to it. I just accepted it as the hand I was dealt.

I put myself under a lot of pressure, over nothing. I time travelled so far into the future with my mind that I wasted my college years pursuing a career I assumed might please my family and secure my future.  I lost all sense of the present moment.  I lost the unique connection with my intuition and based my decisions on regrets and anxiety.  I woke up one morning and four years had vanished. Of course I earned a degree but even then, it wasn’t enough.  I had been absent.  My thoughts controlled me.

It’s as if I was trying to prove myself to someone, but whom? It was a story I created (like the boogie man) to rationalize the belief. The boogie man was actually fear. Once I became mindful that it was all just a coo-coo crazy story, I knew I needed a way to fight the next tap on the shoulder. I needed to change my relationship with my thoughts.  That’s when Komusō was born and it changed everything.

It started with learning that if you can control the deluge of running thoughts, suddenly silence no longer becomes so scary, it actually becomes an asset. It has this uncanny ability to show you what really matters, which leads to your truth. Once you can reach this truth, peace of mind is right there waiting for you. It snaps you back to the present moment which might sound “eh whatever”, but that’s where peace of mind lives. So how do you control thoughts? Through something so simple that we take for granted every day, breath.

When I learned the science of how a slow breath changes your physiology, I turned breathing into a weapon. Anxiety wasn’t going to just magically go away by only being mindful about it. I needed a tool to fight it. When you extend your exhale to 10 seconds, you send a signal to your brain that triggers calm. The Shift is designed to provide that longer exhale to neutralize anxiety. I can’t emphasize enough how much of a relief it was to find a solution to what I think is the silent problem of our generation.

Anxiety steals from you.  It steals the moment, the joy, the feeling you COULD be experiencing.  Our anxious thoughts include regret and fear. Thoughts like ‘what could I have done’ and ‘what might happen’ are signals that you’re not present.  That was me.  I’m soooo much better now but I’m not going to pretend that the battle is over. My truth is that I that I still wrestle with anxiety but I’m changing the relationship with my thoughts, which has changed my relationship with life…all through the power of breath. 

I’m sharing my story with you because I genuinely want to help others reach wholeness in their lives.  This really worked for me and I want it to work for you too. The next time anxiety taps you on the shoulder, you have a decision to make. Allow it to rob you of the present moment or fight back with breath.  Just take a deep inhale and then exhale through The Shift for 10 seconds, 5 times.  Remember those numbers, 10 for 5, 10 for 5.  Notice how it brings you back, how it shifts your thoughts to being present and because of that, you are able to experience stillness of the mind, the noise is gone. 

Welcome to the Shift.