Overcoming anxiety in a distracting world
As a child, I used to wake up with pangs of pain in my stomach from anxiety. I’m glad now that I have the tools needed to deal with anxiety better, and I’d like to share them with you too. We’re going to talk about how to overcome it—don’t be fooled into thinking that you can overcome it once and then never deal with it again!
Life Coaching has given me the tools to be in the present moment. People often worry about the future, several years in advance. What can I do to ensure that my business is successful? How can I ensure that my family lives a good life? How can I ensure that my clients are happy with my service?
I want you to take a few minutes out of your day, sit in a quiet space, breathe, and simply listen. I want you to reflect on the past week, if possible and maybe journal your thoughts.
Like all of you, I’ve had a lot of sadness, anger, and disappointment come up with situations changing and circumstances not being what I would like them to be. And I’m okay with all of that because I am allowing my feelings. I am opening to them and letting them just be. And thankfully, with life coaching, I’ve found a way to harness the power of emotions instead of drowning in them.
Anxiety is a normal part of being human—it’s a feeling we all experience from time to time. My goal is to help you understand what anxiety is, what it looks like, and how you can manage it.
ANXIETY CAN SERVE US (in actual fact)
Anxiety has done us a lot of good. It has helped us be able to react quickly and pay attention to what was going on when we need to in the past. But now that we don’t need it as much we still get anxiety. Knowing this can help us accept anxiety. Even if we feel it a lot of the time.
Anxiety, on its own, is never the problem. You see, it’s not anxiety that can get us into trouble — it’s our resistance to it. Anxiety is just a vibration.
It can feel uncomfortable at times, but it’s important to remember that when you experience anxiety it does not mean you are in danger.
Consider how you usually react to anger. First, you need to fight, tensing up and getting your fists ready to lash out. Next, you may need to flee, tensing up and preparing to run. Or you may freeze, tensing up so much that your muscles become immobile. These are the ways we typically react to danger.
3 WAYS TO DEAL WITH ANXIETY
#1 – Accept your anxiety and relax into it
In today’s world, anxiety doesn’t mean we’re in danger. In fact, the majority of the time we’re not in danger at all. When we’re dealing with anxiety, instead of increasing our tension and fueling it, we can calm ourselves. Some ways to do that are to get comfortable or relax and breathe deeply. Fighting anxiety with anxiety is not a good idea.
That is a great tip because when we worry about feeling anxious, it adds fuel to the fire. Often we try to tense up and fight anxiety, which will lead to more adrenaline and tension. Fighting anxiety can only exacerbate the situation. Instead, we should learn to accept our anxiety and relax into it.
#2 Respond with resistance
There are several ways to react to what you’re feeling: one is to fight it, the other is to resist it. Most people do the latter; when they feel anxious, they start rushing around, yelling at others, and trying to get things done.
#3 Avoidance and deflection
Of the three strategies for dealing with anxiety—resisting it, reacting to it, or avoiding it—avoiding it can be difficult for people who find it hard to deal with their anxiety. Some people choose to avoid their feelings. This is often a reaction, but it’s also a choice. And if they’re not reacting or doing something else to distract themselves from their emotions, they may be avoiding them. Some people drink alcohol, some work, some do other things to distract them from their emotions. But when we avoid our feelings, we make them bigger and more dangerous all the time.
HOW TO TAKE YOUR POWER BACK
Observing our own anxiety can give us a moment of relief and a moment of perspective. It’s true that the word allow implies a relationship of authority between the observer and that which is observed. When one observes anxiety, they feel authorised over it, gaining control and power.
The anxiety won’t go away, but if you let it be, let it know that you are there too, it will lose its power. This can help you take your sense of control back from the anxiety.
Whenever we feel anxious it means that we’ve been having an unhelpful thought. For example, you are home alone and hear a noise outside and immediately think, “There’s somebody outside my door.” That unhelpful thought alone is causing anxiety. Let’s say there really is somebody outside. You see them and feel even more anxious. It’s not their presence, it’s the thought that they might kill you that causes the anxiety. So remember: Your anxiety comes from your thoughts and not from what’s happening around you!
I have found this exercise most helpful when I’m feeling anxious. When I ask myself why I’m feeling anxious and then just sit down and write all my thoughts down, I often realise that I’m thinking about things that don’t make sense. And then I realise how silly those thoughts are.