All humans have natural cycles of feelings. It’s perfectly normal for our moods to shift several times a day, based on what’s happening.
As part of these natural cycles, sadness and fear are normal feelings. But because they hang on longer, depression and anxiety aren’t. Studies have found that we simply can’t adapt to chronic pain—either physical or emotional.
Negative thoughts unnecessarily restrict your thinking, effectively blocking you from seeing and acting upon your best options. So, by definition, there’s absolutely nothing to be gained by being anxious. And yet, more and more of us are reporting anxiety.
In every animal species on earth, the fear response is physical, specific and brief. In its positive, natural state, fear dissipates quickly after you’ve escaped the slobbering jaws of the saber-toothed tiger. There’s no ongoing psychological component to fear.
But in its negative, diffused, pervasive, unnatural state, fear morphs into anxiety. This is where you really lose power.
Even though you intellectually know that the issues facing you aren’t insurmountable or intractable, you still feel overwhelmed. This anxious false fear of things that are a common part of life causes great suffering and paralysis.
Quantum physics has proven that what you call reality is a product of your own brain. When you’re anxious, it means that your reality-making ability is out of whack. Specifically, the survival mechanism that seeks food and shelter is working overtime.
So if economic or other factors erode your confidence in your ability to meet your basic needs, you’ll have that anxious, nebulous feeling of vulnerability. You’re scared that you’re not doing something you should be doing.
You’ll have recurring thoughts like: It seems like there’s always something to worry about. The tiniest incident that others sweep right by can trigger anxiety in you, and you’ll (unconsciously) put a lot of energy into perpetuating it. Energy that would be better spent on making your life better.
Because anxiety is so foggy and mysterious, people who have it can’t say why. Free-floating (not tied to a specific threat) anxiety is one of the most common complaints in our society. The popular solution is to pop a tranquilizer, which makes the feeling go away temporarily. But drugs only mask the feeling; no drug can cure anxiety.
The only real cure for anxiety is to deflate the overblown fear, beginning with understanding what makes anxiety so sticky. When you can peel off the false perception of the fear that’s at the root of your anxiety, the sense of danger will naturally vanish.
The next time things get dicey, use this simple 4-step Teflon-coated process to create thoughts that fear and anxiety can’t stick to:
Step 1: Notice that you’re feeling anxious. Recognize that you’ve discovered an old pattern of overreacting to normal circumstances.
Step 2: Detach. Take a step back. Remember, you are the master of your brain, not its servant.
Shrink the fear down to its real size: small. Manageable. Instead of saying: I’m feeling scared and anxious, say: I’m concerned about this issue and I’m not sure how to proceed. Softer, eh?
Step 3: Ask yourself these questions: What am I missing here? What else could I do? Who could help me figure this out?
Step 4: Avoid the other component of anxiety—paralysis—by taking one small well-thought out action after another.
You can live up to your highest passion or live down to your basest fears. The choice is always and only yours.
Today’s Coaching Question: What would your life be like if you never felt anxious again?
Judy Widener is a Certified Life Coach and author of Power For A Lifetime: Tools You Customize to Build Your Personal Power Every Day Of Your Life. You can sign up for Discovering Your Values, a 5-day e-course at no cost at http://www.myinnerfrontiers.com. Her passion is assisting her clients to discover what is most important to them, then to create more balance and satisfaction in their lives. She offers a comprehensive program that teaches clients simple ways to build their personal power and overcome obstacles to achieving their dreams. Judy has coached more than 600 people over the past 13 years. Her website is http://www.myinnerfrontiers.com.