Like hot buffalo wings, anxious moments come in 99 different varieties. They range from honey mustard, to hell fire, to suicide. One of the pleasures of eating buffalo wings comes from pushing your spicy comfort zone. There is no such pleasure in the anxious moments, but every variety of pain that they produce can be managed with awareness. If you dig into your anxiety like a plate of hot wings, before long, it will be gone and you will be left snacking on celery and carrot sticks.
The trick to eating hot wings is to look for the flavor beyond the burning heat of the hot sauce. In dealing with anxiety, the flavor is in the thoughts. Observe how the thoughts and anxiety arise together, creating and feeding each other. If you think that the thoughts cause the anxiety, then the thoughts gain credibility and the anxiety will feed on those thoughts, turning an order of mild wings into a five alarm special. If you believe that the anxiety causes the thoughts, then you will not be carried away by the imagined doom that your thoughts predict. The moment you recognize your anxiety, you can engage your awareness. As you feel the burn of the anxiety, you understand that the thoughts are reactionary and unreliable.
If you take only one bite of a super hot wing, the burn will remain in your mouth even as you guzzle water. With anxiety too, you can drink water to help the heat of the moment pass. It’s still not instantaneous relief, but it helps. Although the thoughts may not cause the anxiety, they can help it pass. Consciously take a deep breath, a drink of water and, thought by thought, refute and release the wrong thoughts of anxiety.
As you focus your attention on the feeling of anxiety, recognizing the varieties and flavors, you gain a sense of control. When an anxious feeling occurs, watch the accompanying thoughts pass like a winged buffalo.
Whenever you are served a plate of anxiety, sample the feeling, determine the variety, see the thoughts, take a breath, or a drink of water, and engage your awareness. The anxiety will pass, and you will be well, snacking on carrots and celery.