The Wisdom of Anxiety: How Worry and Intrusive Thoughts Are Gifts to Help You Heal

The Wisdom of Anxiety: How Worry and Intrusive Thoughts Are Gifts to Help You Heal

by Sheryl Paul MA

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Overview

A counselor in the depth psychology tradition shows readers there's nothing to fear from anxiety

The Wisdom of Anxiety serves as a well-lit pathway to the truth of who we are and to how to navigate life when paralyzed by anxiety, depression, overwhelm, and a sense of hopelessness.” —Alanis Morissette, singer-songwriter

Work anxiety. Relationship anxiety. Social anxiety. World anxiety. Money anxiety. Health anxiety.

How does reading those words make you feel?

All too often, when we experience the things that give us anxiety, our first instinct is to try to run away or numb out from feeling them. But what if the unpleasant feelings you want to turn away from are actually vital sources of information about your well-being?

In The Wisdom of Anxiety, counselor Sheryl Paul examines the deeper meaning of the racing thoughts, sweaty palms, and insomnia that accompany the uncertain moments of our lives. No one likes to feel anxiety—and yet, Paul asserts it can be a remarkably direct messenger of our subconscious. Here you will learn how you can pause and listen to your anxieties to discover inner truths that you’ve been avoiding.

This lyrically written book not only considers the many forms anxieties can take, but also provides deep-dive practices for addressing them at their roots.

Here you will learn:

? The nature of intrusive thoughts and how to manage them.

? How to explore states of loneliness, apathy, regret, and shame without being caught up in them.

? Feeling anxiety around feeling good? Discover why and what to do about it.

? How to cultivate your own loving inner parent.

? Why anxiety can arise from boredom and longing.

? How to create healthy and meaningful personal rituals to relieve anxiety.

? Navigating the many sources of anxiety in relationships.

Whether it’s worry around raising children, nervousness about world events, or any other way anxiety manifests, The Wisdom of Anxiety can help you uncover the true source of your discomfort and find the rich self-knowledge within.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683642503
Publisher: Sounds True, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/28/2019
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 39,759
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Sheryl Paul

Sheryl Paul, MA, has guided thousands of people worldwide through her private practice, bestselling books, online courses, and website. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two sons. For more, see conscious-transitions.com.

Table of Contents

List of Practices xi

Introduction Anxiety Is a Doorway 1

Part 1 Anxiety and Its Messages

1 Anxiety Defined and the Call to Turn Inward 15

Symptoms of Anxiety 17

Origins of Anxiety 20

Anxiety Is Not a Game of Whac-A-Mole 24

Four Key Elements: Curiosity, Compassion, Stillness, and Gratitude 25

2 Two Cultural Messages That

Create Anxiety: The Myth of Normal and the Expectation of Happiness 35

The Myth of Normal 36

The Expectation of Happiness 39

There Are No Answers, Only Guideposts to Wisdom 41

To Be Human 43

3 Roadblocks to Healing 49

The Character of Resistance 49

Responsibility: The Key to Transformation 55

The Escape Hatch of Perfection: A Way to Avoid Responsibility 59

The Timeline of Healing 61

4 Transitions 63

The Three Stages of Transition 64

The Transitions That the Culture Doesn't Talk About 65

5 Months and Seasons: Attuning to the Rhythms of the Year 73

Autumn: The Season of Letting Go 75

Winter: Season of Stillness and Gratitude 78

Spring: The Season of Rebirth 84

Summer: The Season of Celebration 86

6 The Vulnerability of Being Present 89

No Escape Hatch from Life 90

The Fear of Feeling Too Good 92

Part 2 The Four Realms of Self: Healing Anxiety from the Ground Up

7 The Seat at the Head of Your Table 101

The Qualities of a Loving Inner Parent 102

8 The Realm of the Body 107

The Physical Symptoms of Anxiety 108

Low Blood Sugar and Anxiety 110

Food and Anxiety 112

Alcohol and Anxiety 113

Exercise 115

Sleep 116

Hormones 117

9 The Realm of Thoughts 121

Intrusive Thoughts and the Cognitive Manifestations of Anxiety 121

Accessing the Choice-Point 124

Developing Discernment: Whatever You Water Will Grow 126

Symbols, Metaphors, and Dreams 129

The Metaphor of Intrusive Thoughts 132

Living with Uncertainty: The Call of Intrusive Thoughts 136

10 The Realm of Feelings 141

Anxiety Is a Placeholder for Feelings 143

A Lifetime Habit of Avoiding Pain 145

Early and Ancient Pain 148

How Unshed Grief Morphs into Anxiety 151

Turn to Face Your Fear 153

Fundamental Human Feelings: Boredom and Loneliness 155

11 Longing 161

Root Versus Secondary Longing 161

The lives We Will Never Live 164

The Wisdom of Longing 167

12 The Realm of Soul 171

The Well of Being 171

The Essential Function of Healthy Rituals 174

13 When Anxiety Heals 179

Anxiety and Emptiness 179

The Fruits of the Labor 181

Part 3 Relationships

14 The Vulnerability of Connection 185

15 The Romantic Connection 189

What Is Relationship Anxiety? 190

What Is Healthy Love? 191

Fear Eyes or Cleat Eyes: Love Is Not the Absence of Fear 197

Key Concepts for Understanding Relationship Anxiety: Projection and the Pursuer-Distancer Syndrome 200

16 Parenting In An Age Of Anxiety 205

Worry Is the Work of Parenthood 206

Three Antianxiety Medications for Parents: Gratitude, Attunement, Taking the Long View 209

Helping Children with Anxiety 213

Teaching Kids to Feel Their Feelings 214

Fully Loved 217

Epilogue 221

Acknowledgments 223

Appendix A Relationship Red Flags 225

Appendix B Two Ways To Journal 227

Recommendations For Further Learning 235

About The Author 239

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