Most of us worry from time to time. Life can be quite challenging and stressful, which makes this worse. When stress and worry are chronic, we call this anxiety.
Anxiety is best understood as fear-without-a- present- object. When we’re afraid of something present and real, like a bear, the biological fear response makes sense to us, and we use the biological arousal of the fight or flight response to cope with the real and present danger. In contrast, when we feel anxiety, there is no real and present threat and thus there is nothing obvious for us to do with our biological arousal. Most people try to avoid what makes them anxious; unfortunately this tends to shrink their lives and make things worse over time.
Most people feel some anxiety from time to time, but for many, anxiety can become a debilitating brain habit. Anxiety is the common feature of phobias, panic attacks,and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as a host of other psychological problems.
Common physical symptoms of anxiety are sped up heart beat, increased sweating, tension in the abdomen and shoulders, and more shallow and rapid breathing. Extreme anxiety is called panic. Some people are afflicted with panic attacks.
Letting Go of Anxiety:
Imagine being able to take a vacation from your anxiety in a way that is healing in a lasting way. This is possible, but you must change the brain habit of being anxious. This takes deliberate and effective practice.
To change any habit, start by stopping doing the bad habit. In this case, stop the anxiety. Breathe deeply, focusing on a long and complete exhale. Then write down any real life or imagined fears -unless that makes you too anxious! Develop a realistic rational script to reassure yourself around these fears. Then use Energy Psychology techniques (EFT) to release the charge on the anxiety.
Practice Feeling Confident, Self-Compassionate and Calm:
Continue to breath deeply with a longer exhale than inhale. Recall times when you had your target mental and emotional state – confident, self-compassionate and calm. Recall role models of this state. Write down the visual auditory and kinesthetic markers of this state. Embody it and strengthen it with bilateral stimulation. Talk to yourself following the script you developed above.
Practice this process and your target mental emotional state a lot. Changing brain habits takes persistent repetition. If you are like most people, you will need support and direction to stay on track in this process and not get distracted by the changing challenges of life. Give yourself the gift of skillful support – use a therapist or coach who totally understands this process.
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Please, don’t endure anxiety any longer! It will take work on your part, but a life no longer controlled by anxiety can be yours.