I realized that I have an anxious energy problem during my first coaching experience. It came early in my career when my company had a Life Coach, Joshua Zuchter, come in to deliver a wellness session. He was engaging, insightful and full of optimism, hope and positivity. When he offered a complimentary one-on-one coaching session, I took him up on it. At our agreed upon time I called him up. He asked what I wanted to talk about. It didn’t take long before I was rambling on telling him about my dilemma. I was stressing about whether I should write a professional exam, after a previous unsuccessful attempt.
Awareness is the first step
He patiently listened as I blabbered on about the pros and the cons and went on about it as if the world depended on whether I write the test or not. When I was done, he calmly said, “I can see you have a lot of energy.” Hmm, I guess I do, I thought. His calmness contrasted wildly with the anxious energy that was spewing from me. Energy that was unleashed from a simple question.
I don’t remember the advice he gave me that day, but the awareness of the energy I emit has stuck with me. I now had the awareness of my anxious energy but I still didn’t know how to manage it. Alas, it would not be until later in life that I learned to manage this anxious energy.
Learning to manage anxious energy
I stumbled on some anxiety management techniques on my wedding day. Arguably one of the most important days in a person’s life, you can imagine my anxious energy that day. With so many guests coming and pressure from childhood dreams about the perfect wedding day, it was hard to sleep the night before. So when I woke up with anxious thoughts swirling, it was too much. I knew I had to pause and slow things down. Instinctively I did four things that I continue to do to this day to manage my energy levels, particularly when I have something big to deal with.
The 4 things I did the morning of my wedding day
Here are the 4 things I did the morning of my wedding day that helped me manage my anxious energy:
- Reminded myself of the ultimate purpose of the day. It was about T and I, our vows and sharing our love and happiness with our close family and friends. Just like that my stresses about having the perfect cake, flowers, hair, make-up, etc. went away. Those details melted into the background and it became clear they didn’t matter. I could laugh it off if something didn’t go perfectly, as long as T and I were able to get married and enjoy the day with our loved ones.
- Set an intention to be present and enjoy the day, no matter what happened. I had heard people say that the day would go by very quickly so try to pay attention and stay present throughout the day. That morning I set an intention to do just that rather than being lost in thought about details that didn’t really matter that much.
- Let myself revel in a feeling of gratitude for the day and everything that brought me here. There was gratitude that I met T in high school. We share similar values, he makes me laugh and is my best friend. I felt a deep gratitude for everyone that was helping out with our wedding day and for all of my family and friends. They bring such joy to my life.
- Went for a run. Even though I’m not generally a runner, somehow I knew I needed to expel some of the excess nervous energy that was running through my body and bring me back into balance. When I woke up that morning I felt the need to run. So I did. I put on my old running shoes, stepped out of the front door at my mom and dad’s house where I slept the night before, and I just ran. I ran down the long driveway and out along the quiet country road. It was a beautiful, warm July morning and I reveled in the solitude of the moment. Just me, along with a few birds chirping amongst the trees that I ran past. It was very grounding.
The Happiness Formula
These 4 things set me up for a perfect day despite some minor imperfections along the way (e.g. no AC in the limo). I was calm and enjoyed every moment of the day in presence and gratitude.
Little did I know that on my wedding day I had stumbled on a few key elements of the happiness formula that I would write about 17 years later in Good Morning, Life! Purpose, gratitude, intention, presence and balance are five of the eight elements.
The run was part of finding my balance that day. While all of the happiness formula helps, balance is an important one that helps me manage my excess, anxious energy. By moving my body, I can move some of the excess energy out of it. I can run, dance or even hula hoop to move the energy through me. Yes, I recently hula hooped before one of my presentations at work! It helps bring me back into balance. I’ve learned to listen to my body because it’s full of infinite wisdom. It tells me what I need to make me happy and balanced.
My energy is a gift
Starting with awareness and then using elements of the happiness formula to help me manage my anxious energy, now I can make my energy work for me, rather than against me. Now I see my energy as a gift.
Presence. Gratitude. Purpose. Intention. Balance.