Three Guiding Keys to Ease Anxiety


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By Ann Skinner

Coach, Doodle Artist and Author/Illustrator of The Art of Contribution and Annie and Eva Love Devon.

2 Nov 2020

Are you feeling the collective anxiety and confusion?


Right now, many of us are feeling the impact of a chaotic world in more ways than one. Couple the chaos with the pressure cooker of lockdown and it can be a challenging place, with feelings of anxiety and confusion clambering for our attention. Whatever may be going on in your personal world, you are unlikely to remain unaffected by the state of the world at large and, for some, there may even be times when things appear hopeless.

If you, like many, are struggling to make sense of everything during these unusual times, may I share with you my Three Keys that have guided me through life and lockdown.


The Three Keys


The Three Keys came to me when someone asked me a few years ago, “Ann, if you had three pieces of advice for the next generation, what would they be?” I instantly knew the answer and they became The Three Keys that have guided me ever since. (You may have read about it in my book (The Art of Contribution). I thought I would share these guiding keys with you in case they may be useful to you too and hope something will resonate.


1. Presence

Presence helps me acknowledge my feelings and accept what I cannot change. We are well trained in the art of walking away from our uncomfortable feelings but walking away from them never resolves them. We must learn to breathe into our body and heart so we can truly feel and acknowledge them before we are able to let go and move on.



2. Curiosity

Curiosity keeps me away from judgement so I can stay connected to possibility and the things that are important to me. We must be careful not to start overanalysing our feelings as it will be a surefire way of disconnecting our head from our heart. Instead, aim to apply wonder about what might really be driving our feelings and open up beyond what story we might be telling ourselves. This requires staying away from judgement and listening with our whole body, heart and soul for wisdom beyond the words.

(PS This is why doodling and visual journaling can be a powerful tool.)



3. Kindness

Kindness gives me a chance to focus on love so I can give myself compassion for being human and remind myself to stay heart-led no matter how hard it gets. Our critical mind tries so hard to stay in control of us but most of the time what we really need is the knowledge that we are ok and loved no matter what. We must learn to listen to our loving heart for guidance about what we need to help us move forward.



Whenever I apply The Three Keys, I find my way back to myself and regain a sense of peace and grace. I become more resilient and am able to connect more easily with what is really essential in life.

From that perspective I can also see that chaos isn’t all bad. We sometimes need chaos in order to be able to make sense of things again.

Chaos means discomfort and discomfort forces change. It is only when we are uncomfortable that we are forced to look at ourselves through a new lens, review what we value and deal with the uncomfortable feelings that rise to the surface whilst we may not be able to soothe ourselves with our usual distractions. Chaos can also be a breeding ground for new possibilities and these three keys may help you see that more clearly.


Ann The Heartworker


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