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Marti Giese, MA, MDiv
Spiritual Health Overcoming Tension and Anxiety
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Spiritual Health Overcoming Tension and Anxiety

Work, family, and community commitments are precious – but they can conspire to overwhelm us, bringing on tension and anxiety. One reason for this is our growing sensitivity to the energy of others.

From an evolutionary standpoint, it is wonderful that we are growing in sensitivity to each other. Eventually we will all realize our shared connection as integral parts in the web of life. More than a concept, our understanding of the web of life will be our living reality. Knowing this will change our attitudes and behavior toward each other. Eventually there will be peace within, leading to a more peaceful world.

For many of us, however, our growing sensitivity brings in more information than we can comfortably handle. We lack the appropriate filters to quickly sort out all the data; we lack the management tools to decide

What of this information is fact and what is feeling?

What am I generating and what is coming from the other person?

How can I let go of what is not mine?

What should I do with my growing pool of painful awarenesses?

And so on.

Unfortunately, in the end we feel overwhelmed and ill equipped to respond effectively. Worse, we sometimes strike out at others, feel guilty, and our tension grows.

What You Can Do

Temporarily cut down on extra stimulation such as TV, radio, social media, and social engagements until you feel more centered again. With growing sensitivity comes the responsibility to manage your exposure to the amount and kind of information coming in.

Start your day with ten minutes of stillness and deep breathing, away from it all, quietly focusing on a loving thought or text. Or, contemplate some aspect of your life that brings you joy. Stay in touch with your source of joy.

You can use the rule of 3's. When you are in the presence of others and begin to feel tension, move away at least 30 feet, breathe deeply for at least 30 seconds, and remain quiet for at least three minutes. Then take an internal check to see whether the tension is still with you. If so, repeat the steps. If not, you may have picked up on someone else's tension. Knowing what is not yours is a first step in managing your sensitivity.

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