I have had anxiety since I was a very young girl. I literally think I had my first panic attack in kindergarten. I had been selected by my teachers to receive special recognition during an evening assembly. In front of God and everybody.The night of the assembly my mom dropped me off at the side entrance of my school with instructions to go inside and find my teacher on my own. My brother was somehow involved in a later portion of the assembly and she had to rush home to get him ready.The dropping off at the side door was part of our everyday routine. But that night…I don’t know if it was nerves over being in the assembly or just feeling overwhelmed by the task of going in and finding my teacher amidst the chaos by myself.But I froze. I could not make myself enter the school. Instead, I stood on the steps of the school and cried. My mom eventually came back and felt terrible but I never went inside. I never received my special recognition. I was too afraid.Variations on this same theme have played out in my life over and over again. Time and time again my anxiety and my fear would prevent me from doing what I wanted. From what I deserved.Worse, however, than all the big moments that anxiety may have prevented from are the millions of precious moments that I let slip by me because I was too busy wigging out.Times when I was alone with my boys or my husband and, rather than focusing on them, I was totally caught up in the tsunami of thoughts blowing up in my head.That’s the really shitty part of anxiety. It can cause you to lose years of your life one moment at a time and there’s really no way to make them up.However, I have had a pretty big epiphany this week about my anxiety that I think will help me (and hopefully others) in reducing the number of moments lost.It was this. Part of why my anxiety is so effective at taking over my life is because I keep thinking that I’m not supposed to have it. I have been operating under the belief that if I did enough yoga and read enough books and whatever else to improve myself, that I would somehow stop having anxiety.I have come to the conclusion that’s not true. I have anxiety. My brain is wired for it. Just like some brains are wired for math or home decorating.My denial of this scientific fact and my internal resistance and shame that come up when I start to feel anxious are actually what keeps the anxiety hanging around. If I stop freaking out about freaking, then maybe it won’t last so long.This new realization also resolves a fundamental, idealogical split that I have wrestled with for years. The old “is it chemical vs. is it spiritual argument?”Under this idea, it’s both. The chemical make up of my brain predisposes me to anxiety. BUT – how I choose to react to it and cope with it is spiritual. Does that make sense?So, the next time my anxiety starts kicking in, I’m going to welcome it and use it as opportunity to care for myself…rather than chastising myself. Maybe, if I open my heart and really completely love and accept myself, then the anxiety will wash over me rather than knocking me down.Journal Prompts1) What parts of yourself do you resist?2) What would it feel like to completely love and accept yourself?3) How can you use your spiritual program to cope with your chemical make up?