How to Say “F*ck it” to Fear & Anxiety (& Start Living your Life!).

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 10
Hearts 1.0
Comments 8.0
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
1 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.


I seriously never thought this day would come.

The day where overthinking, over-analyzing and fear stopped controlling my life.

The day where I no longer felt paralyzed and frozen nearly every day.

Although this moment has been in the making for years, one day I woke up, and I was completely bored of my own fear; I was sick of my own stories and my own sh*t.

Most people who know me have no idea how much anxiety I used to experience on a regular basis. Probably stemming from the assumption that because I’m a yoga teacher, I write the type of poems you would read in savasana, and the articles I write are usually about access points to the underlying current of ease in this life experience.

There’s no way someone that does that for a living would be—or have been—crippled by anxiety, right?


A huge reason I got hooked on the practice of yoga and meditation was because of my anxiety. And it was a big reason I kept coming back so much, until I ended up becoming a yoga teacher myself to share my passion for these powerful and life changing practices.

Anyone who suffers from anxiety knows that it’s not like a light switch you can just turn off. It takes time, it takes patience, and it takes a whole lot of practice.

Even when I first started teaching yoga, it was still strong enough that I would sometimes have full blown anxiety attacks before class and afterward. When everyone left, I would just cry, sitting with the feeling that everyone hated the class.

Sometimes the fear, anxiety and torment would be so loud that I would get my classes covered or try to find a way to call in sick—even though I knew deep down I really wanted to do it. The fear was just so loud and controlling that it kept me stuck in so many ways.

I would attempt to practice just observing my thoughts, sitting in the seat of the witness and all the yogic concepts and philosophies of non-judgment and non-violence. But you know what, sometimes the practices alone aren’t enough and we need additional help to get out of our minds and into our lives.

I know I did.

It affected all parts of my life—my friendships, my work and my day to day living.

Some days I would wake up feeling completely frozen, unable to get out of bed or even reach for a book. It was a different kind of anxiety, it didn’t make me hypervigilant and hyperventilate like it does for some people; I would be just be glued to my bed with irrational fear.

Even when I started writing, and would post something on social media or publish an article, I would shut off all my devices and avoid technology for at least 24 hours because of the fear of how it would be received.

I would totally get that vulnerability hangover the next day and catastrophize the “negative effect” sharing my experiences would have on my life. That people would think I’m crazy, over emotional or downright insane.

During conversations with people, I would try to be present, but the ruminating thoughts in my mind were so loud that I couldn’t help but create a story about how much this person doesn’t actually want to be talking to me or spending time with me; I felt this way with even my closest family and friends.

And what I found the most ironic was the amount of comments I would get about how calm people felt around me or how I help put them at such ease.

I would smile and say, “I’m glad to help in any way.” But simultaneously think to my self, “Um, what? If you only knew what it’s like to live in my own head.”

If people actually knew how much daily distress I was in, I’m sure some might’ve asked why I keep putting myself in situations that cause me stress and continuously go through it.

The reason is, regardless of how horrible and uncomfortable the anxiety was, I could feel it lessening in the most microscopic of ways every time I would show up and move through it.

Over time, with much effort on my part, the intensity of my anxiety dwindled immensely.

And then one day day when I woke up, it felt like the grip it had on me and my life completely lifted.

It feel spacious, light, and I felt so damn free.

I thank yoga, meditation and therapy.

It has taken years and years of cultivating a consistent yoga and meditation practice, and taking the time every day to reconnect to that underlying current of ease.

It has taken a huge shift in perception of what I thought it was to be strong. It isn’t to buckle down and power through it; it’s to recognize when we need to ask for help.

In addition to what I was doing, I also thank time. I think eventually we just get so sick and tired of our own fear that we’ll wake up one day and realize how futile the amount of energy that was going toward those types of anxiety and fear controlled thoughts really is.

One day, we’ll get a surge of urgency that this way of living is no way to really live.

I know for me I had to hit rock bottom emotionally before I finally realized that I needed a change and that I needed help.

Fear will always be there in the background, and it has its place. We definitely do need to see it, hear it and acknowledge it. But for the love of all that is, we can not let it be the place where we make our decisions from. We can not let fear be in the driver seat of this precious life adventure.

Life is too damn short to live like that, and it’s a complete and total waste of our time here.

I truly hope people don’t have to spend as many years as I did with anxiety and can find practices that allow them to experience a true sense of freedom.

But something important to remember—to get to that day where we can say f*ck it—it takes patience, it takes practice, and it takes alot (a lot) of self compassion.

Through cultivating a consistent yoga and meditation practice, and sitting in the seat of the witness, we get to practice allowing everything to be exactly as it is—our fears and anxieties included. Something magical happens when we do this on a regular basis; the grip it has on us begins to lessen as we see it without any story or judgement.

As Swami Kripalu says, “The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation without judgement.”

The more we unplug from external stimulus, and drop beneath our societal roles, titles, and even our current moods and emotions—we reach the sweet center of our true essence beneath it all.

The wholeness, the completeness, the inherent enough-ness that we are by simply being human.

It’s our natural state, and it’s our birthright by being here.

Of course I still have my moments, but now in the midst of chaos, that underlying current of ease is so much louder and stronger.

And yes, at times I have thoughts of self doubt, but they no longer inhibit me from saying what I want to say or doing what I actually desire to do.

The way I teach, share, create and show up has changed drastically over the last few years. The more time I spend sitting with myself, the less I care how my art or what I say is recieved. Because I’m not my art, I’m not my words, and I’m not the way in which I teach.

I’m what’s beneath it all.

That which is eternal, as old as time and here to simply experience what it is to be alive.

I truly believe, to the core of my being, all people deserve to feel at ease and deeply at peace.

But if that sense of ease and peace is far from accessible, and the grip of anxiety is so tight: reach out, speak up, get help and remember, we are not meant to go through it alone. There are so many people out there to hear us and see us—from our friends and family to support groups and professionals.

Because yes, life sure can be heavy, serious and rather chaotic.

But can also feel fluid, light and so deliciously free.




Author: Alexa Torontow

Image: Author’s Own

Editor: Travis May

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 10
Hearts 1.0
Comments 8.0
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
1 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.

Read The Best Articles of November
You voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares.

Alexa Torontow

Alexa Torontow is a naturopathic medical student, yoga teacher and writer in Canada. She’s wildly passionate about preventative health, mindful movement and discovering daily tools that help us feel better and live better. Connect with Alexa on Facebook , Instagram , or through her Website.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

John Hatanaka Jul 15, 2017 1:14am

You know I think I was like this and I'm still this way... like I'm vegan for instance. I'm on a journey too. All these preconceptions are helping myself survive. I don't think I can change now, but I am aware���

Mar Masana Apr 18, 2017 9:14am

This is one of my favourite articles on EJ. I too suffer from anxiety and, even though our causes are different, I can relate so much to your story. As you well say, it take a lot of self compassion. In my case, I believe it to be the most important thing. Thanks for sharing this dear x

Vibeke Rasmussen Myhre Dec 1, 2016 1:24am

wow, i could really feel what you are saying here. Although our anxieties are different i could still resonate a lot. People also tell me i bring them into peace, and that i have the ability to spread peace, that i seem peaceful- everytime i hear this i dont understand what they are on about, i mean, cant they see how NOT peaceful i am? This baffles me a lot and i would love to talk to likeminded people about this to get some answers. I guess my passion for yoga and meditation shines through, and i do really believe in them as a healing tool. Life is not an easy ride, this is why yoga and meditation makes sense. I would love to hear from more people feeling like this. Maybe start a facebook group called "the unperfect yogteachers"?. Thing is though, on days i really feel like shit and not good for various reasons, might be mental stuff, or lack of sleep, or even physical illness, i really think i cant teach that class, but when i start teaching, it is like i go into a bubble, and some sort strength just appears, and it keeps me going through, and i am suprised everytime. Namaste

Tina Brady Nov 30, 2016 2:54pm

Fantastic article thank you, I felt like I was reading about myself

Gina Pedersen Nov 30, 2016 12:51am

Same here Stephanie Schmuck,unfortunately my three months supply was stolen 2 weeks after I had it filled,im 45 and have suffered from severe anxiety since the 2nd grade, by age 26 I went to see a psyche ,but it was for something else,during my second session psychiatrist noticed i was suffering from panic anxiety ,he prescribed a med ,and I swear I felt completely normal after taking it,i could actually function and go to school and actually complete things in life,then I ended up not being able to get this med for over three years and my life fall apart,i tried every other therapy under the sun,nothing helped,so I'd rather stick to the med and get on with my life....

Nicole S. Urdang Nov 29, 2016 5:44pm

Lovely, open-hearted and honest article. Thank you! If anyone would like more support navigating life's internal and external vicissitudes try the site holistic divorce counseling. Despite the name, it offers 100% free resources and articles for all life's issues and transitions, not just the cosmic hazing of divorce.

Stephanie Schmeck Nov 29, 2016 3:51pm

I have suffered for far too long, and it would be nice to feel halfway "normal". I'm not one to take meds, but I'm willing to try at this point.

Alexa Torontow Nov 29, 2016 3:20pm

Doris Walker totally agree!

Doris Walker Nov 29, 2016 3:19pm

There's nothing wrong with that. A chemical imbalance can be helped so much by meds.

Stephanie Schmeck Nov 29, 2016 2:40pm

Yeah, well, I can't take it anymore, and I think it's time for meds.

Sïleñt Lõvêr Ñl Nov 29, 2016 2:18pm

great and nice well post.keep it up thanks for sharing information admin here.......

Jennifer Evangelista Nov 29, 2016 12:58am

Thank you so much for this