Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TAMING THE BEAST OF ANXIETY...1 mandala at a time

We all experience anxiety....anxiety is our fight or flight response that warns us of danger. It is a primal feeling that has its roots in protecting us from danger, BUT, we have learned through evolution to use it even when we are not physically in danger. It comes up at crazy times for instance when we are afraid we've made a mistake. OR, have a made a mistake and worry about the outcome. Anxiety surfaces when some feeling triggers a fear response that has us feeling unsafe. Another example might be when we have to give a speech or lecture. One of man's most feared events besides death is public speaking. Ask anyone and they will tell you they would rather do anything than speak in front of a crowd. I believe when we are experiencing a bout of anxiety, we are also in a place of not trusting ourselves. We fear something will go wrong; we will be laughed out; we fear we will embarrass ourselves in front others. At this moment, we have lost the ability to trust that we will be OK. In other words...we feel as though we are looking into the eyes of danger, we in fact, we are not in danger. Coloring mandalas are one creative technique that can aid in the calming of anxiety. Coloring within a boundaries of the circle provide a sense of safety, and boarders. Mandala is the Sanskrit word for "circle." I could write for lines about mandalas, but for this posting, I'm focusing on the use of mandalas to aid in managing the beast known as anxiety. If you can draw a circle, you can create a mandala...and it doesn't have to be a perfect circle. You can also print pre-drawn mandalas and color them in with markers, colored pencils, crayons or any other drawing medium you wish. You can make them as small or large as you wish. You can draw a circle using a circular object as a guide. Once you have created your circle, begin to draw within the circle. You can begin anywhere in the circle you wish. Begin drawing and observe how you begin to focus on the circle and not on your worry. I invite you to take on the mandala when you are faced with worry. Enjoy the process. For more about mandalas, read some of my earlier posts.