Many people suffer from anxiety. Anxiety is just a higher level of fear to the so common question, ‘what if… ?’ Anxiety comes announced and completely takes over our minds.
Quite a few of my clients suffer or have suffered from anxiety. All these years working with them and helping them overcome and eradicate it taught me a lot. Today I would like to share three tips that might also help you handle such a crippling emotion.
- Anxiety is fear and, as such, in the future. Some of you might immediately tell me, ‘wait a minute, that’s not true. I feel the anxiety very much here, in the present.’ Yes, the feeling or emotion is there but where does it come from? What is the underlying fear that is causing it? Ask yourself what you’re afraid might happen and you’ll find the root of your anxiety. You might be surprised to discover that your answer is that something MIGHT happen some time in the future. Don’t be so surprised. That is always the case. People are afraid that something might happen. It could be something happening in the immediate future or some time later. But the “what if… such and such happens?” is always in the future. Understanding this basic concept gives you a first grasp on your anxiety. Anxiety is the result of your worrying that something may happen. That means that whatever you’re afraid of is still NOT HERE!
- Anxiety is in your thoughts, inside of you. ‘What if X happens? What if I can’t deal with that? What if I suffocate/have a heart attack/lose my mind and go crazy… ?’ These or similar thoughts flood your mind. You can’t seem to be able to control them and they grow stronger as time goes by. They represent your fear. As long as you remain “INSIDE YOUR HEAD,” in your thoughts, they will be in charge. Make the effort to look out. Make the effort to take control of yourself and “STEP OUT OF YOUR BRAIN” and onto the real world. Look around, focus your 5 senses on whatever is around you. Instead of focalizing your mind on whatever it is that is happening inside you, try and focus on what is around you. It could be an object or a person; you could choose to focus on something that’s happening or on one part of the reality that surrounds you. Mentally tell your brain: ‘Shhhhh! Thank you. I already know what you think but now I choose to think something else.’ And take the step to walk outside of your brain and your thoughts. Instead of being controlled by your brain and your thoughts, remember that YOU are in charge and you choose what to focus on.
- Anxiety happens in “freeze” mode. Fear paralyses us. Our mind is so locked up in the what ifs that we can think of nothing else. Thus, we freeze. We literally stop doing whatever it is that we were doing and just feel the growing anxiety. Action is the only real antidote here. As soon as we realize we’re stuck in this frozen fear, we need to force ourselves into motion. Movement and action will break the spell. Next time you become aware that you’re paralyzed, stand up, jump, walk, DO SOMETHING PHYSICAL and not automatic, something that requires your attention, and snap out of it!
Next time you feel anxiety creeping up on you, remember and use these three tricks. Anytime you realize that you are already trapped and controlled by your thoughts and their accompanying anxiety, remember and use these three tricks. Repeat as often as necessary. The more you use these tips, the weaker your anxiety will become.
You are much MORE than your thoughts. There is the rest of you. And there is the rest of the world outside of them.
Enjoy life, ALL of it,