Peace or Panic

Peace or Panic. You Get to Choose.

In All, Motivational, Personal Development by Don AlleyLeave a Comment

Peace or panic?

For more than the entirety of my adult life, I have worked on Saturdays. Like, allll Saturday long. Usually from 8am until 7pm. Sometimes later. It’s just what you do as a martial arts instructor. Classes go from 9am-1pm, we have upgrade appointments and introductory lessonss from 1pm-3pm, birthday parties until 6pm, and then paperwork, seminars, etc.

It’s a busy day.

And every Saturday, when I wake up, I feel more anxiety than six people. I am nervous, my stomach hurts, I am worried about missing sales, teaching bad classes, letting students down (irrational, I know), not hitting my numbers and my goals… there’s a lot riding on Saturdays, and it’s exhausting to think about.

But then, by the end of the day, I forget about my anxiety, I have rocked the day, students are happy, I usually hit my goals, I feel amazing, I have a glass of wine and life moves on.

So why do I get so nervous? Why so anxious? Why do I wake up thinking about what might go wrong versus what could go right?

I read a book recently that reminded me that it’s my choice, whether or not I feel at peace…or I feel panic.

Peace, or panic. I get to decide. I get to choose what to focus on, and therefore choose the emotion that will empower me the most.

And now armed with this wonderful reminder, I have all but stopped having anxiety. With EVERYTHING. When I start to feel anxious about any piece of my life, when I stress about work or my goals, I stop. I pause. And I simply ask: “Peace or panic?” Hmmm. Peace, please.

And then, from a state of peace and mindfulness, I address the issue and deal with it. I don’t need to stress over it. I’m going to have to resolve the issue one way or the other. 

As an afterthought, it is also incredibly intriguing to me how anxiety and nervousness is almost my factory reset. Maybe it’s everyone, maybe it’s just me. But for the longest time, as soon as I wake up, I would feel nervous about the day, nervous about what was happening… Is today going to be the day when everything falls apart? Where I lose everything? Where did that come from?

Maybe that’s a question and journal session for another day. For now, and for the last month or so, I don’t have it anymore. I have literally made those feelings of anxiousness go away with the simple question, “Peace or panic?”

I choose peace. I choose freedom. I choose calmness.

Because the reality is (and yes I know, this is quite morbid), one day, I’m going to die. And the thing/s I’m stressing over won’t matter. Not to me, and probably not to anyone else. So if they won’t cause me stress then, why let them cause you stress now?

Just relax, enjoy life, take the challenges and obstacles wit joy and pleasure, and keep moving forward.

What about you? How do you deal with anxiety? Do you wake up with it? What questions do you ask yourself, or what do you tell yourself, to help pull you out of your funk?

Don Alley
Don Alley is an artist and entrepreneur. He is known as the karate guy, the preschool guy, or the video guy. He runs Super Kicks Karate as the chief instructor in Ashburn, Center Stage Preschool, and Lucky You Media. He is also the co-founder of Testudo Addiction Recovery, a non-profit organization serving families across the country.

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