Today I am sharing a perspective on anxiety when you are in a situation where your feelings response (anxiety) doesn’t seem to match the event, meaning there is an over-exaggeration to the situation. I am differentiating here because there are some situations where anxiety is appropriate (but not for long periods of time) like being in the middle of a bank robbery or being attacked.
The Latin root of anxiety is angere, which means to choke or strangle. If you have ever felt anxiety, or suffer from anxiety, you would agree that the state actually feels like you are being choked or strangled. You might feel tightness in the throat, chest or stomach along with a whole slew of others symptoms. The truth is that you actually are being choked off from yourself and the sense of being able to respond to difficult situations.
Dealing With Anxiety
If you want to deal with the situation with more calm and resolve then your best bet is to understand what is causing the choked feeling.
Today I want to remind you that all feelings come from beliefs. When you feel anxiety, ask yourself, “What am I believing?” For example, you may be anxious about some uncertainty that is going on in your life. You may find yourself believing:
“It’s not going to work out?”
“I’m going to fail!”
“It’s going to get out-of-control!”
“Bad things are going to continue to happen!”
“I am going to be poor and on the streets!”
Observe what you are believing. Then ask yourself, “Is it true? Is it 100% true?” If you notice, most of the beliefs connected to anxiety are future-oriented. Instantly I know if my clients are anxious they are worried about something that might happen in the future. So the answer to the question is always a resounding “No it is not true!” because what is true is only in the present moment. Those projections are not actually occurring but you are believing they are and living the result of that orientation of the mind.
Notice how you feel when you think the belief “It’s going to get out-of-control!” You might feel tightness in the body, scared, dread, and powerless. I would then ask you to consider who you would be, or how would you feel, if you just didn’t have that thought? You’d probably feel uncertain yet lighter, open and confident. So upon reflection, you are believing something that is NOT true and it makes you feel bad.
Next, drop the original thought and ask yourself, “What is more true?” You might think, “I’m experiencing something I don’t like but usually things work themselves out.” Or, “I don’t know the answer right now but I can ask others for some help.” Now don’t just make something up that isn’t true for you. I really want you to find the thought that is more true than the first thought that was causing all of your anxious responses.
When you observe your thoughts, and yes, I really mean take a moment to sit with yourself and take ownership for how you are feeling, you are exercising empowerment and clarity for yourself. You get to choose how you respond to situations. Be easy on yourself, this is not a time for being critical, this is a time for being gentle, open and aware so you can steer yourself to calmer waters.
This type of inquiry allows you to create a space (in your mind and in the moment) to be able to respond. As you exercise creating space in challenging situations, you begin to create new patterns of neuropathways in your brain that represent more stable, clear and confident responses.
This is an excellent tool to develop your inner strength and wisdom during challenges. It’s all in the inquiry and practice. You have all you need to change your responses within you.
I know that anxiety can be onerous and confusing so if you’d like to have more personal guidance, please click here to book a session with me 🙂