Today I would like to offer you a new perspective on an emotion that derails so many people every day.
We all live with varying degrees of this emotion from time to time.
For some, it can become completely debilitating, while for others it keeps them from focusing on what they really should be doing to move their life forwards.
The emotion I am alluding to is anxiety.
The perspective I am going to share with you has helped me through some of my most challenging times.
As it did for me, it will be for you too if you are willing to take it onboard.
Now please understand that I know that some people have suffered so deeply to overcome the anxiety that it has almost become a part of who they are.
They feel like they are broken human beings. They feel like they need to be fixed.
But I believe that nobody is broken. Nobody needs to be fixed. People are not their behaviours. We are so much more than that.
We simply make the best choices with the internal resources that are available to us in the moment.
And that is why people go into therapy, coaching, or counselling. To provide them with additional resources to make better choices.
In life, we are never reacting to reality. We are reacting to our perception of reality.
People who develop or feel the emotion of anxiety are reacting to their internal perception of reality based on some future or ongoing event in the real world outside of theirs.
When you take the perspective that you are not your anxiety, that your anxiety is something separate from you that you are not stuck with, you can make the choice to become more resourceful, giving you more options when that feeling comes up.
Remember, whenever you feel anxious, it is simply a loving little reminder from your subconscious mind for you to focus on what you really want in life, and not on what you don’t!
Most behaviours are triggered by an event or a consistent thought which comes up. When the event or thought triggers, you run your “anxiety pattern.”
The pattern is similar to a vinyl record or Compact Disk in that if you play it, you expect to hear the music on it.
If you had to take a rough object and scratch vigorously over the record or CD, the chances are it will never play the same way again. You would have interrupted the pattern.
Here is a great 4-step process of interrupting the patterns that you are running in your life that will help you to overcome anxiety.
It comes in the form of questions. We are constantly asking and answering questions in our minds. That is how we think.
The challenge is that we ask and answer the wrong questions, mostly unconsciously, which then becomes the root of our anxiety.
Remember the old saying, “if you ask a better question…”
So here is the 4-step questioning process you need to follow whenever the emotion of anxiety comes up. They will profoundly change the focus of your mind.
Question 1: What am I focusing on right now? Am I focused on something in my past or am I focusing on something that is coming in the future? How present am I being in this moment?
It is difficult to be anxious about the past unless it is going to have a future consequence. So the best thing you can do is breathe and decide how you can be fully present and alert at this moment so you can take the actions you need to create a better future outcome and overcome anxiety.
Asking and responding to this question in a fully present and non-judgemental way may give you the shift in perception that you need.
Question 2: Am I focused on what is missing from my life, or am I focused on what I am grateful for? When we are grateful, we cannot be fearful.
Question 3: Am I focusing on what I can control or am I focusing on what I cannot control?
We often feel anxious when we focus on what is absolutely out of our control. The best solution is to decide how we can respond to these uncontrollable circumstances in a way that empowers us rather than in a way that disempowers us.
Question 4: What does this mean? Based on the collective of all your answers to the first 3 questions, you will have steered your mental focus in such a way that it creates a MEANING for you.
Does it mean that this is the beginning or the end for you? Does it mean that you are being rewarded or punished? Are you being blessed or are you cursed?
Meaning equals emotion. So if you are struggling to overcome anxiety, it is because of the meaning that you have given to the focus of your mind.
If this seems overly simplistic to you, understand this; Sometimes all we need is a simple framework that we can apply consistently to interrupt mental patterns to help us shift our perception.
And as you know, all change begins with a shift in perception.
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Michael Rodd Life Transformation Coach, Umhlanga, KZN, South Africa
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