Facing Anxiety and Uncertainty

Sitting Space picture of beach and sunset

The Sitting Space is a regular feature in which I share the real-life challenges I’m “sitting” with and the lessons I have learned along the way. I hope it will inspire, enlighten and encourage you.

One of “Those” Days

Woke up this morning to the sound of rain pattering across the rooftop. Instead of the sun streaming through the windows inviting me to the new day, a dim haze barged its way in.  I’m in a funk.

I stumbled from my bed and started the day. Good, morning, E-mail Inbox: an urgent “drop everything” meeting with a client this afternoon. Great.

Hello, Facebook.  That’s right. It’s September 11.  Mementos. Tributes. Fear.

What Do You Do When You Have “Those” Days?

I remind myself that life is cyclical. This is what it does. It’s not personal. Some days are up and some are down. Just because it is a “down” day, doesn’t mean anything more than an “up” day does. It’s the way of life. Even a down day can be a good day.

This week, I read The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho’s classic allegory for the first time. It tells the story of shepherd, Santiago who embarks on a quest–his Personal Legend–for great riches that he believes are at the great Pyramids of Egypt.  The theme of the story is persistence.  Don’t give up.

Each of us is living our own Personal Legend written by the Creator’s hand.  Trust your path. If you’re on it, then it is the right path–because it is yours.

Finally, when I am dealing with anxiety and uncertainty, I remind myself that I have nothing to prove in the world. I don’t need to justify my life, my experience or my existence to anyone. I am good enough.

My Invitation for You

Come back to yourself. If you are facing anxiety, return to the place inside where you know you best. Remember that you do not need to do anything to earn approval or respect. You don’t need to step into your power; you are your power. And that truth needs no external validation.

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve Rice and my goal is to transform simple philosophical truths into practical fuel to revolutionize your life. It's not about self-help, it's about self-reliance. I show you how. Connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and let me know how I can help you.

  • Lori Gosselin

    Some days are just “those” day! I like how you say that a down day can be a good day! I feel though that if I can’t turn a day around I’ve somehow wasted it. Time is too precious to waste!! But maybe sometimes a down day is just part of the process. What do you think?

    • I agree, @lorigosselin:disqus. I think that’s what I meant by “Trust your path. If you’re on it then it’s the right path.” Also, the idea of needing to prove something–even if it’s to myself (that I didn’t ‘waste’ a day), is not productive.

      Byron Katie would probably tell me to question the thought because the belief that any way I experience my life is a waste creates stress.

      I totally understand that perspective…and often share it. (That I’m not doing what I should be. That I’m not doing it the way I should be, etc). But I’m always led back to myself when I ask: Is it true? Can I know that it is true?

      • Lori Gosselin

        I’m a huge Byron Katie fan but I’m wondering if it’s prudent to “ignore” our feelings. Just something I’m wondering about today. Feelings are the best indicator of what’s going on. Sure, we can “inquire” about them, but to go to quickly to inquiry and not allow the feeling to percolate long enough to know what it’s about could be like resolving an argument without having time to know what the argument is really about. Not to single out Byron Katie, I have similar questions about the practice of tapping. Hmm….I think I see our Hangout topic for next time! 🙂

        • Yes. I understand exactly what you’re saying. I have watched all of Katie’s vids and read all of her books. And what you point out is actually in keeping with what she teaches. She often tells people that those stressful thoughts are like a temple bell which reminds us to return to the present. She also says that The Work–or inquiry is a meditation. She encourages people she’s doing the work with to go deeply into their feelings and sit with it and really feel it fully.

          To me, the process of inquiry is not just jumping into the questions, but it’s sitting still as long as it takes to uncover the root thought that is creating the discomfort. This has been the only time when I have gotten amazing results from The Work–when I was still long enough to uncover the core issue, which is what I think you were mentioning abut knowing what the argument is really about.

          You’re right, this would be an interesting topic to explore further. It would be interesting to learn more about tapping too. I know it’s the “miracle” fad technique now…but I haven’t explored it much. Have you?

          • Lori Gosselin

            I have tried tapping a bit but it’s not a tool I use as a habit. As for Katie’s work, some people just want to know what’s at the root of the discomfort. She would say it is a belief, so good. It’s all good then. I like to understand what’s at the root of issues.

            • I agree with you. I want to uncover what it is that’s holding me back (or propelling me forward). Awareness, whatever the method or technique, is a worthy goal, in my experience.

  • Earl Harville

    Thanks for sharing this, Steve!! The past few weeks have been sent overwhelming to say the least. Things seem to be shaping up but it has been draining. The insight here is a good reminder for this season.

    • Thank you for stopping by! So glad this article encouraged you. I have been there (for more than I’d like to admit the last few years)…and it is draining–to say the least. You are a constant encouragement and bright light on my journey. I appreciate you.

  • ashvini_saxena

    Great thoughts Steve. I agree with you when you say, you don’t need to prove anything to this world. Life is indeed cyclical and some cycles are longer than the others. Its for us to ride them out.

  • Well said here, Steve. “I have nothing to prove in the world”. I love it.
    When you say some days are up and some are down and it’s just life, I agree. I tend to look at bad days as a negative and how they are taking away from my life. Of course I am in control of how I chose to view my days, but I tend to get sucked into them and dwell on the negatives. Always learning and growing as person helps me through this..

    • @disqus_pkex5GCvsJ:disqus – Thanks for stopping by and sharing my content! I appreciate you.

      I can really feel you. I get sucked into the “bad” days sometimes and just is so frustrating. But I’ve finally realized that fighting them is impractical and ineffective. I have found that often, taking a walk works for me. Getting out in nature–even just in my neighborhood–changes my brain chemistry.

      It is the learning and growing you mention that really is the key. What tips do you have for when you get pulled in by down days? What works to help pull you out of the slump? Do you do anything specifically, or is it just a wait it out sort of situation for you that works best?

      • One of the best things I can do for myself when this happens is exercise, preferably outdoors. Also, when I am feeling low, I tend to eat shitty foods. If I maintain a steady diet of quality foods, it makes a HUGE difference.

        Other than that, I will read through my old comments to find inspiration. When I read something from someone who seemed to truly be affected by my words, it brings me up.

        I also will look at photos of my daughters. I can’t help but smile when I see them and it reminds me of why I do this.

        If all else fails though, I have a conversation with my girlfriend, who usually gives me a huge bitch slap and wakes me up 🙂

        • Thanks for sharing the tip about eating quality foods. I usually go for exercise, but taking an apple along or having a spinach salad or something would probably help in addition.

          Reading your positive comments is a smart practical way to shift the focus away from self and the “awful” day that is unfolding…good tip.

          Family is great for helping me to refocus on priorities too! Thanks for sharing your wisdom!