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  • Writer's pictureAlyson MacLeod

From Anxiety to Calm in the Chaos of my Limiting Beliefs

There has always been an air of fear that surrounded me. I was the child who had to conform to what I was told, talk only when spoken to and never, ever complain. I was that quiet little, perfect girl who smiled and nodded to everyone. No one knew I was scared, tummy fluttering or worried about doing the next wrong thing, especially in front of my mom.

It was so exhausting. No one else looked like they felt the way I did. I looked at my mom and

she knew what I was feeling. I thought she would come save me but she came over and told

me to stand up straight and smile. So I did. I learned that day that I needed to figure out how to deal with this feeling. I thought everyone had this feeling of anxiety but we were not supposed to talk about it. Some days it seemed quite debilitating. Other days I was able to distract myself and get things done.

I was not the smartest child, so I thought. I never got A’s or B’s but lots of C’s. I was told I was not smart enough to go to college or university and that it would be a waste of money. I did not get good grades and when I asked the teachers about things they just told me to read and study harder. I was the only person who got tutored for Physics and flunked it twice! I just did not seem to learn like the other kids and thought I was broken.

The anxiety around my future was almost too much to handle. I did the one thing all kids were doing as teenagers, I drank and smoked (not the hard stuff!). I realized it did not take much to calm my senses (or dull them) and I was calmer inside and out. I soon got caught by my mother and that was a sentence that no one should endure. It felt life threatening to be told how disappointed she was in me, how I was tarnishing our good name and how good girls do not act in such a rude and malicious manner. I remember it like it was yesterday because from that moment on, I was the perfect little girl inside and out. No matter how scared I was or how anxious I felt, I stood up straight and smiled.

I finally figured out that music and pretending were coping mechanisms that were easy to do any time I wanted to or needed to. I would think of myself in a band or dating someone who was. It took me to a place that I had power and potential. I was loved no matter what, and I was perfect just the way I was. Music gave me solace. Music gave me peace. I would sing and dance. Movement always helped and I could pass it off as exercise. It was perfect.

It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I learned about breathing techniques and meditation and prayer. I was so thankful for the square box breathing. Every elevator I was in, no one looked up anyway so I felt safe to box breath and calm the ride. I got caught on the 26th floor once and it fell to the 24th. The doors opened but not before everyone on all floors heard me scream. I think they even heard my breathing. Walking up 26 flights of stairs to work every day was a challenge so I got a new job closer to the first floor. To this day I do not like elevators but will make it at least 4 floors before box breathing!

Meditation and prayer was also new for me. I knew the Our Father and could say a

very long bedtime prayer but I never

really knew how to pray. Through learning meditation I learned how to pray to God and have a conversation that made sense. Over time this has helped me

tremendously keep my cool in speaking engagements, new rooms of people when networking and yes, elevators!

I think my biggest fear is still disappointing my mother. I am working through this as it is the biggest limiting belief I have ever had next to being dumb. I realized in my 58 years that what we tell ourselves makes all the difference in the world. I told myself that I would never measure up to my sister and brothers because I was the only one without a degree. That notion caused me so much anxiety that for the longest time I would never celebrate any accomplishment I made because I felt it did not measure up.

So at 54, I went to University for a degree in Community, Economics and Social Development. I was scared to death and took on every paper, test and class like it was about to be my last hour on earth. By the last semester I received not 1 but 2 - 100% papers and the teacher said she has never given anyone a 100% paper before. I just sat down and cried. I figured at first she got it wrong but realized that I was not measured by someone else’s stick but by the effort, love and care I took to get it done. It was a strange feeling because I was still anxious that somehow it was wrong.

I was so nervous when our class all got together for the final luncheon before graduation day. I was anxious I threw up because I did not have my business up and running well or a job to go to. Everyone was interviewing and I was not. I was told I won an award and had no idea why that day. I actually got the highest grade average for my graduating class. I was again surprised and shocked but this time elated.

I have learned over the last two years that I can do whatever I put my mind to and that my anxiety is a part of me that I can now control. The biggest AHA moment came when I was asked why I did not go to University when I finished high school. I told them I wasn’t ready and felt scared to waste money. The funny thing was, I had no job prospects at the time I graduated University and it was far from a waste of time. I learned more about myself in 3 years than I ever would have in my 20’s.

My 56% average in high school got me to 54 years of age but my 91% in University will get me to new heights I can’t even think of yet.

I still box breath, meditate and pray. They are the best coping skills I have ever learned. I will never again just stand up straight and smile but drop the imposter and stand up strong,

unstoppable and soulful. I now love being me, anxiety and all!!

Read more on anxiety:


Alyson M. MacLeod, chc

Transformational Life Coach Alyson MacLeod, CHC is an international best selling author, speaker, podcast host and transformational coach. She is certified in Health, Life and Business coaching with a degree in Community, Economics and Social Development. Alyson coaches and mentors high achieving women who are stepping away from the corporate ladder to find their Bliss while earning a 6 & 7 figure income on their terms. Her Soulful Living Blueprint © is a step by step process that assists women in finding their Soul’s true expressive nature to claim, craft and create the life they desire. Alyson's inspirational podcast, magazine and tv show called Soul Expression Sessions are hosted on the Wealthy Women’s Entrepreneurial Network.

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