My greatest practice for getting to know my anxious self has been something I've learned through Buddhism, poetry, cognitive behavioral therapy, and philosophy alike: the practice of staying. Pema Chodron calls it "staying with the raw feelings." CBT calls it "identifying the cognitive distortions." David Whyte calls it "the sweet confinement of your aloneness."
The ocean is fathoms deep –
its top and bottom cannot exist without each other,
yet the two are extraordinary distances away.
And no matter how fiercely storms might rage above,
no matter how violent the waves on the surface,
always - always - the depths will be still, undisturbed.
Understandably, 'no' and anxiety go well together, and we often see every no as another win for our fear. The opposite of anxiety, we think, is yes. So we must be living on yeses to be truly overcoming anxiety.
Can you just imagine the exhaustion?