Anxiety Tips Part 2
29th November 2010
As The Life Doctor, in my office in Brighton & Hove I see a lot of clients who are suffering with anxiety, stress, depression, negative thoughts and other nervous disorders which are making their lives a misery. This is the second part to the anxiety tips series and you can read the first part below this one. Your comments would be most welcome. If you would like a full copy in PDF format of anxiety tips then please contact me here.
Here are some more tips to help you change your mind and change your life.
Control – I used to suffer with anxiety and I know how overwhelming it can be even when it’s being subtle and just trying to control everything which feels normal but actually makes for a very tense life. The reality is that we can’t control everything in our lives and trying to do so is just draining. We really do need that energy for more important things in life like goals, dreams, family, health, fun, career and anything else that requires energy and the more you enjoy life, the more energy that is returned. Write a list of the small stuff you try to control and explore how far you can go with letting them go. You are stronger than you realise and all you have to do is remind yourself that you can let this go. It gets easier and easier each day.
Rejection is brilliant – This seems to be one of the top fears most people react irrationally to. It hurts to be rejected and it is supposed to as the intention from rejection is for us to evolve and grow stronger from it. The pain of rejection which by the way you can handle will motivate you to think outside the box and do something different. We really do need rejection to happen for our lives to evolve and grow. If rejection didn’t happen we would be stuck in a rut without any motivation to create the change which adds a fresh vital energy to our lives. Think back as what has been a rejection and list how you benefited from it happening. Think forward and list the benefits of what you fear being rejected by. Remember that the fear of rejection gets you to do your best and if it goes “wrong” the pain will motivate you to do better. Work with rejection instead of fearing it and make your life wealthier than you could dream of.
Personally – Learn skills to not take what happens to you personally, this includes rejection and what people think of you. It really is not about you despite the natural reaction to make it about you. If you make yourself the star of the show then you will feel the spotlight on you all the time which just adds to any pressure you may be feeling. When you look at someone, do you really know why you feel the way you do about them? Do you know what unconscious memories are being accessed to create your conscious opinion? No? The same goes for people processing you too, they may not really know why they feel the way they do. We also have rules in our heads which people should obey and those rules have been programmed into us as we grew up. No-one knows your rule book and you won’t know others rule books too. If you or another breaks each other’s rules then taking it personally is a little crazy as expecting people to know your rules or believing your rules are the right way just makes for a difficult life. Open your mind to understanding that not everyone will like you and you won’t know why, it’s not personal. Open your mind to being flexible with your beliefs as not everyone has the same values as you and will see the world differently. Trying to make them believe yours is the right way just creates a war and it won’t make your beliefs true either.
Irrational thoughts / actions – The limbic system is hardwired to be irrational and focus on the worst case scenarios in order to save your life. It will shut down rational thinking so it can predict the worst and get you to act accordingly. Rationality has no place in a life or death situation: for example if you heard something creeping up behind you in the jungle rational thinking could get you killed as you wondered what it was, irrational thinking tells you instantly its dangerous and then you are instantly acting on instinct. If it was only a mouse then of course you have lost nothing but if it were a lion then you saved yourself. In today’s society we have never been safer and what seems to have happened is that the mind processes emotional experiences as dangerous as the lion. Rejection, embarrassment, being out of control etc are now processed as life threatening which is completely out of context.
Ending the war – Finally it is time to end the war within as this feeds the limbic system the message that there is a problem and it reacts accordingly. Anxiety and stress are not meant to feel good and because they usually feel awful people naturally try and fight those feelings that come with it. This just feeds the “there is something wrong” cycle and the limbic becomes more aroused. Learning to accept the feelings associated with anxiety and stress allows the next step to take place and that is to begin calming down and for the feelings to begin to pass. You are not meant to accept your anxiety if you are facing life threatening danger which means the limbic system will begin to calm down.
Anxiety doesn’t feel great but when you learn how to manage it and not fear it then it can only make you stronger and help you handle life in a more proactive way.