At church this weekend one of the Pastors gave a case study about rats and addictions. During one study the rats were placed in solitary confinement and given the options of two bowls to drink from. One with clean water, the other laced with heroin. Which one do you think the rats gravitated to? 100% of the rats went for the water laced with drugs and they died. The conclusion was that drugs can be seductively addictive purely by its mere exposure.
Another study was done to challenge the idea that drugs are addictive by just exposure. You see the rats they had chosen descended from wild Norway rats and highly social animals. Professor Bruce Alexander thought differently to the first experiment. He wondered if the rats chose the drug based because they were in solitary confinement which could potentially drive anyone crazy. So he developed Rat Park. It was a place that could be considered a rodent oasis with cedar shavings on the floor, boxes and cans for the rats to play in and painted walls as if it were their normal environment. The rats who hung out in rat park resisted the drugs. Why? They had other things to focus on. They had purpose and weren’t in solitary confinement.
So what’s this got to do with anxiety?
Sometimes anxiety can make you feel trapped.
It’s like being locked up in a cage with the option of two waters, one tainted.
Perhaps you take the tainted water because it numbs a void you are feeling. Perhaps it takes an edge off your anxiety.
But it never fully satisfies.
What if the key to feeling a little more settled in your anxiety is to understand what your purpose is in life?
What if you could know what it is you are supposed to be doing with your talents?
What if even if you didn’t know you could sit with the knowledge that you are whole, loved and oh so worthy?
It seems simple in theory doesn’t it? But to feel that worth and purpose is another thing?
Especially when anxiety makes you feel jittery.
During the message the Pastor talked about four things that can help you fulfil your purposes.
They were prayer, meditation (sitting and just listening to God’s voice rather than speaking), Bible reading and hanging out with people who encourage and support you.
Now even if you aren’t a Christian perhaps a different text might speak to you.
I get it though. You’re probably wondering how can I do any of those things when the noise is just so loud and I just feel so unworthy?
You start with just 1 thing.
:: Perhaps it could be meditation. Start small. 3 mins even of just stillness. No asking. Just receiving.
:: Or you read 1 verse or 1 inspirational quote and you put that in a place where you can see it. You sow that into your heart. As Amy Cuddy says in her Ted Talk HERE, sometimes you have to ‘fake it until you become it.’ That there is power in giving something a go until it legitimately feels like home.
:: Your 1 thing could be hanging out with that 1 person who makes you feel safe. Messaging them when you are having a moment and having an authentic conversation that all is not right in your world. Let them know how you are feeling by using your ‘I feel’ statements. And if you are feeling like not interacting with people (oh hello people with social anxiety), that is ok too. Perhaps you can make even 1 small step by going to a café on your own or a library. Some where you feel safe to be in the presence of people but not in their direct presence (if that makes sense).
For those of you comfortable with connection with God there is beauty in drinking from the Living Waters. I know that I am not perfect and I don’t do this one very well. I often cover up talking to God by being busy because then I don’t have to be honest with God.
Here’s the thing. God doesn’t judge. He doesn’t put conditions on you chatting with him. He simply says ‘come.’
Start with 1 thing beauty. Just 1 thing that you try each day until you feel strong enough to add another element into the mix.
For me and some of the beauties in my closed Facebook group (which you can join here if you’d like) we’re challenging ourselves to sit with boredom and to strategically plan time in our day to be bored. Why? Because when we practice that we can become more in tune with our intuition and God speaking to us. When there is so much noise it can be really hard to cut through it.
So beauty. Lean in. If you’d love help with your anxiety and you don’t know where to start, sign up for my v.i.p list and access the freebie vault. There are e-books in there to help you. You can also email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and find out how you can feel less tempted to drink from the tainted water and have skills to move forward through your own version of rat park. A paradise of your own making where you get to create a human experience where you can have fun, feel free, and not be confined to what others say about you. You’ve got this beauty.
Please comment below your 1 thing that you are going to focus on this week. I’d love to know. Please share using the buttons below if you loved the post.