I loved interviewing Karla McLaren for the Alcohol Free Life podcast recently. Her book is Embracing Anxiety, How to access the Genius of this Vital Emotion.

Karla believes that each of our emotions has a specific purpose, and brings a unique set of gifts skills and genius.  She says that rather than try to ‘make them go away’ (we are all taught that emotions such as sadness, anxiety etc are bad and must seek pleasure quickly and try and get away from them) we should see them as our support system and learn to work with them.

How is your anxiety? It’s such a common emotion, and yet, as with all emotions it has a part to play.

If you started drinking at a relatively young age you probably didn’t get to experience many of life’s big emotional situations sober! We were so accustomed to feeling sad, angry, fearful, and anxious – and then just numbing it with alcohol.

Anxiety, while challenging, is an essential emotion with an important job to do, it helps us to look ahead, organise ourselves and gather the energy we need to get things done.

Of course, it can get out of hand and ‘run away with us’ till we feel out of control and overwhelmed.

What if its trying to help us?

When we ignore or repress our anxiety,” Karla says, it can overwhelm us. But when we learn to welcome it with skill, we can access its remarkable gifts.

When you feel anxious, ask yourself ‘What’s bringing this emotion forward?  What needs to be done?

Sometimes it’s down to finding the focus, planning, making lists, gathering the resources we need (hopefully you are regularly adding to your sober toolkit?) and harnessing the energy we need to complete tasks.  Don’t forget – you may need to ask for help.

According to Karla;

Anxiety is the ‘Task-completion expert of our psyche’

I don’t feel quite so anxious thinking of it like that!

You can buy Karla’s excellent book HERE


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