Fear is just excitement without breath.” –Fritz Perls

Anxiety can be felt in a myriad of ways. Anxiety can be that uneasy feeling in your stomach, the pressure in your chest, the jittery feeling in your body, sweaty palms, or pervasive thoughts that you just can’t seem to let stop. Anxiety is fear. And that fear can be overwhelming and leave us feeling like we have no control. This lack of control then sends us into a downward spiral of “worst-case-scenario” thoughts. Some people like to get busy when they are anxious, their bodies are filled with a quick pulse of energy and it can be hard to sit still, calm down, or relax.  I know when anxiety is at its worst, I feel the need to do something, anything.

Back in graduate school, I heard the quote:

“Fear is just excitement without breath.” –Fritz Perls

When I heard this, I felt a sense of relief and excitement. It was a paradigm shift from my current belief of what fear was for me. I thought, “Could I just be really excited about my …tests, relationships going wrong, future plans, internship placements, etc and just not breathing through them?”  Honestly, I wasn’t totally sold on this concept. I’m not sure this quote is a ‘catch all’ phrase, but I appreciate it’s concept and believe it gives valuable insight into how fear does keep a tight grip on is. From my personal and clinical experience I can say one thing is true, and that is: fear, anxiety, and the breath are undeniably inter-twined. Breath is the deciding factor to letting fear get the best of you or learning to ride out the waves of uncertainty. Without breath, we freeze, contract, get smaller, lose our power, and our connection to our own bodies and it’s wisdom. So when you are feeling anxious, invite breath in, let it stay for tea, and then send it on its way. Then, rinse and repeat.