We’ve all been there; gripped by the intense emotional and physical arousal that stops us in our tracks.
Your Heart pounds, it’s hard to breathe, you begin to feel really hot and start to sweat and the dizziness sets in. You have to sit down because the nausea it hitting you.
This is anxiety and it can be bad.
And depending on how you respond to it and what you do when it hits you, anxiety can actually be useful and perhaps even beneficial!
I’m not talking about the anxiety disorders that are generalized or chronic, the ones whose payoff is for secondary gain; the external motivating factors or rewards you get when you have such symptoms, whose rewards can range from being excused from your responsibilities, controlling and manipulating others, and seeking love and connection with others in inauthentic ways.
What I am talking about here is the more common bouts of anxiety that most everyone suffers.
Anxiety has served many purposes:
* Warns you to change or stop behavior that is dangerous or unhelpful.
* Gets your attention and heightens your focus.
* Alerts you to think about the decisions you make and the choices you have.
Anxiety can be sneaky.
But once it hits, you know it.
You sense the dread and the fear. And, this is what makes it so hard to manage.
So, how do you solve the dilemma?
Start fighting back!
You are NOT helpless!!!
You can do this in 4 steps.
When you start to feel the dread, the overwhelming sensations both physically and emotionally, use the following 4- step process.
1. Notice what hits you first, you physical symptoms or racing thoughts.
2. Identify your specific thoughts.
Usually you will have thoughts about your physical symptoms like “What is this? What is happening? I can’t figure this out! I HAVE to stop this but I can’t! I feel like I am going to pass out!” Write them down!
3. Dominate your anxious thoughts. By this, I mean that you must fight back.
Anxiety can seem like a vicious and elusive enemy that can’t be tamed. But that isn’t true.
Anxiety is in your head, even if you feel it physically.
Your job is to get back into your head and stop the thinking that hurts you.
You can immediately do this by talking to yourself as if you are of two parts; the experiencer (yes, that is a word!) and the observer.
You can say to yourself: “Look, we KNOW what this is, (your name here). This is NOT the first time we have experienced this, it may feel different but it is the same; our anxiety is back. So, now that we know what this is, I need you to know, (your name here) that I am going to take back control; because that is all that this is. We feel like we have lost some level of control and we need to get it back. And, I WILL.”
Then breathe three deeps breaths.
4. Disarm your anxiety. This last step is crucial in your war against your anxiety. This is where you really get into the weeds of winning over your anxiety and not let it vomit itself all over you.
In this step, you are letting yourself know that you not only recognize how it shows up but that you also are going to find out WHY it is here.
Follow these two steps and you are home free:
A. Get a piece of paper or a notepad and take a seat. Remember, you are both the experiencer and the observer.
You will need to ask your anxiety:
“ I know you are here for a really good reason, even though this feels awful. Tell me why you are here.”
Then write everything down that you hear in your head.
Even if you begin to get some negative messages about yourself, that’s actually good! At least you are becoming aware of the messages that keep you feeling bad and stuck!
This is EXACTLY what you want. You want to uncover the hidden agenda of your anxiety.
Which, we, of course, know ISN’T TRUE!!!!
This is why anxiety is actually good to have. It alerts us to what we need to pay attention to and change, but in a way that FINALLY gets our attention.
B. Ask yourself what steps you can take to help yourself resolve or solve what is in the message that is underneath your anxiety.
You may feel stumped at this point. No worries.
If you don’t have the answers that you can write down on your paper, don’t stress out about that too!
Leave some space for the answer to this question. Put your paper down and leave it for later.
Once you have your internal feedback, the last step is to actually follow the golden advice you have received from your higher self.
You ALWAYS know what is best for you.
Oh, and notice how much less severe your symptoms are right now.
You have just conquered your anxiety.