When the going gets tough, the tough may get going, but most of us sidestep unease by distracting ourselves with numbness, work, or substances that temporarily relieve the pain. For years I used food to escape from reality, if it wasn't extra food, it was shopping, work or partying....anything to avoid what is, weave the experience here and now and dodge the present moment.
When things are difficult or unpleasant emotions arise, there is often a resistance. Commonly there is an attraction to pleasure, aversion to pain. A great lesson for me has been that emotions are purely energy in motion = e motion. Sometimes this energy, waves in smoothly, other times it can feel like tidal waves, overwhelming one in a roiling pool of dread, fear, and anxiety.
As we know...what we resists, persists. Even though a distraction may temporarily cover the feeling, just like a band-aid, the sore still lies beneath.
When a feeling arises and the desire to numb or resist emerges, see if you can take a step back. Watch the energy flow, try to stay with it and witness the inner turmoil rather than get sucked into it. If you can successfully ride the waves of sensation and emotion, you'll arrive at a state of compassion and wisdom.
So how can you move from fear and anxiety to insight and freedom? The secret is....staying present and paying attention to sensations and the feelings that come and go. One way to do this is watch the breath. Each time you focus on your breath, each time you relax and listen to your feelings, you open yourself to the present.
By witnessing the feelings instead of reacting to them, one allows life to unfold organically. When we fully embrace the present moment and accept emotions as they are, riding their waves, a new found freedom arises. No longer are we a slave to sensations we are now at peace.