Anxiety can be the worst enemy of many. It will make your nerves take over and play tricks on you … Although it may be hard to believe it right now, you can actually control that anxiety that seems to only want to torment you. All people experience some form or other moments of anxiety … perhaps what worries you is nothing or is everything to you.
Anxiety can be debilitating and severely impact your ability to function … you will try to live your life to the best of your ability, but if you let it, the anxiety will just want to sabotage you over and over again. Maybe you even want to forget that you have anxiety with an avoidance strategy towards what causes you discomfort, substance abuse, watching too much television , etc. But these “solutions” will only serve you in the short term.
Over time, unprocessed anxiety can do serious damage to your mental health, or at least make your mind a pretty horrible place to live … no one wants that. You only have one life and you should enjoy it to the fullest! Know that it is possible to harness your anxiety and mount it in a way that leads to transformation and greater control over yourself.
These mind tricks are not a substitute for therapy, but they can help point you in the right direction to find a better way to cope, and face those challenges that seem impossible to face right now! You may be surprised how you are able to face your fears … and overcome them!
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
You are what you think, and psychological distress arises mostly from useless and faulty ways you think about things. The cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is designed to help people master their fears and anxieties correcting these distorted thought patterns with techniques including clarification exercises thought and body awareness techniques. The goal is to get a more realistic view of the things that make you feel threatened.
Although CBT is done with a qualified professional , you can practice some of its principles on your own. Keep a record of your thoughts to know the mental disorder you have right now. A thought log involves first writing down the thought that distresses you. You may think that people don’t like you because no one talks to you at a party.
Most of the time when you delve into the thought causing your anxiety, you find that it is not really a valid thought. You’ve probably been to a party where you’ve met at least one really nice person. So you write that in the opposite column. Do this every time you go to a party until you have retrained your thinking away from negative thinking.
To go a step further, is to push yourself into an imaginative confrontation with your worst case scenario. The point is to deactivate the anxiety trigger. If you are flying, for example, a therapist could guide you through imagining the entire process of boarding an airplane. And that is something you can do alone or with a friend, although if it is a problem that makes you panic, it is best to do it with a professional. Breathing work, relaxation techniques, and body awareness can give you a foundation for staying calm that can enhance all of these techniques.
Each has its own triggers, but according to existential psychology , which is both a philosophy and a school of therapy, anxiety stems from the awareness that life is short and the fear that you are losing what is left of she. The problem with anxiety is that you are dealing with a problematic belief system. You do not feel safe because you fear that your life is not meaningful.
A good way to think about anxiety is that it is the information that tells you that something must change. You want to have a cause, a relationship, or something that is meaningful, but it all seems pointless. It’s hard when your anxiety tells you that nothing can change and nothing will … but the reality is that it can!
So what is the way out of this? Ask yourself what has not been covered in your life. You will likely find that your catastrophic thinking does not match your reality. It is a matter of changing your focus. Try to think about what you like about your life. Focus only on the good resources and how you feel when you focus on those resources.
It’s easy to lose sight of what’s going on in your life. But when you refocus on your resources and support, there will be a change because that puts you back in a safe place. That’s the launch pad for embracing curiosity and determining what in the universe would add the most meaning and purpose to your life.
Buddhism and mindfulness
There are many schools of Buddhism, but one thing they all agree on is that anxiety is a fact of human life. Buddha called it “dukkha”, that persistent feeling of discontent that arises from our constant desire for things to be different from what they are. In a consumer society where you are told that you can have anything you want, it is easy to think that something is wrong with you if you don’t.
Psychotherapy has incorporated many Buddhist approaches to anxiety and other problems, such as breath work, relaxation techniques, and body awareness. In the secular world, this approach is known as mindfulness and is an essential foundation for resolving anxiety.
No one should underestimate the power of breath work. Instead of your thoughts controlling your breathing, you can use your breath to control your thoughts. It is the fastest way out of imaginary catastrophes and back to the moment, where most of the time there is no problem. Use breathing techniques to regain control of your mind so that your thoughts do not take over … you are the owner of your thoughts!