Anxiety – you can have it under control…if you want it.
When you imagine new challenges and situations, do you always imagine their worst-case scenarios? How does it make you feel? Do you feel the butterflies in your stomach getting stronger with every moment, your heart beating faster, yourself getting thirsty or your hands sweating, and the fear of the unknown increasing with every moment?
If so, WELCOME TO THE CLUB! For many years, anxiety was a good friend of mine.
85% of worst-case scenarios never materialize
Have you heard of research which showed that 85% of the situations we fear never occur? Out of those 15% that do happen, in 79% of cases, the affected person coped with the situation better than expected or the situation taught them something important!
This research inspired me to write down my fears for several months and then verify them with reality. For example, before a meeting I was afraid of, I wrote down in detail what I was afraid of and what I think would happen. After the meeting, I wrote down what actually happened.
It turned out that 99% of my “predictions” did not come true at all or I managed the situation much better than I had expected! Every time I added a column describing the real outcome, I couldn’t believe that my anticipated scenario was so far from what actually happened! I still have this list and sometimes I add something to it. It helps, especially when my imagination goes crazy.
Mindfulness is good for anxiety
Anxiety is imagining a threat that will occur in the future. Why is mindfulness helpful in this situation? Because it teaches us how to be here and now. Focusing on the present moment, you divert your attention from dark thoughts. There are many different Mindfulness practices that can help you with anxiety. My two favorites are:
1) focusing on my breath– observing our breath results in focusing on something other than our thoughts. One of the Mindfulness Masters -Thich Nhat Hanh, in his book “Miracle of Mindfulness” advises how to be mindful of our breath: “When you breathe in for a long time, say, in your thoughts: I’m taking a long breath. When you breathe out for a long time –I’m making a long exhale. When you breathe in quickly – I’m taking a short breath. andwhen you breathe out quickly – I’m making a long exhale.
2) focusing on what I feel, see and hear – this technique was taught to me by my psychologist, although I admit that I simplified it a little for my needs :). As soon as I see my anxiety rising, I quickly ask myself three questions: “What do I feel now?” and come up with three things in my mind, then “What do I see now?” and again, I come up with three things in my mind, and finally “What do I hear now?”. It works especially when I see that concentration on my breath has not helped or when I have little time.
Be the devil's advocate
You’ve probably heard of how to deal with anxiety by asking yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen in a given situation?” This method sometimes helps. However, in my case, two other methods are more effective:
1) searching for the answer to the question “What if… ? “”– in this case, I try to find all the positive scenarios of the situation (for example – Your thoughts: Tomorrow’s meeting will certainly be hopeless, because I did not have time to prepare properly! “What if … (i) only issues that I know well are discussed, (ii) it turns out that I am better prepared than I thought, (iii) when issues that I have not fully researched arise, Janek will assist me… etc.), or
2) looking for as many other alternative facts or events that could have occurred in a given situation – here I try to look at the situation “through the eyes” of a third person and not judge what comes to my mind. (for example- Your thoughts: My business idea is not as good as I thought, because there are other people who already sell such services. Alternative facts/evidence: (i) But the idea is only 1% of success, and the rest is in the execution, (ii) each of us is different and has different skills (iii) I can sell these services in a completely different way than they do, (iv) there are lots of singers, but only one Beyonce. 🙂
In both cases, I write everything down on a piece of paper. Even the most unbelievable solutions. In the vast majority of situations, my state of mind undergoes a “magical change” after writing everything that came to my mind and reading it again (preferably aloud).
Work with your energy centers
The methods above help to cope with emergencies. But what do you do with the old fear, the inexpressible one that has accumulated in your body for years and which affects your sense of security?
Anxiety is an emotion that is associated with the root chakra, also called the first chakra. Chakras are energy centers in our energy body. They are responsible for collecting, processing and distributing energy throughout your body. Their functioning is connected with the functioning of our internal organs and our emotions. Disorders in their functioning can even lead to diseases.
Frequent fears, anxiety, and various phobias are some of signs that the first energy center is disturbed and is not working as it should. There are several ways to work with this chakra.
In my case, meditation combined with visualization of this chakra works most effectively. The so-called “grounding” is also very important. You can achieve it by spending a lot of time outdoors (preferably walking barefoot on grass or sand), doing activities that will make you more connected with your body (e.g. dance, yoga, pilates). In addition, you can also reach for aromatherapy. Cedar oil and clove oil are used for this chakra.
Work on the root chakra is particularly important because its condition affects the condition of subsequent energy centers. The next chakras will get as much energy as there is flow in the first chakra. Therefore, all physical illnesses have a strong connection to this energy center.
Soon I will write more about the energy centers, their operation and how you can take care of them. The more I work with them, the more I realize how important they are for our health!
And now I have a request for you – if you liked this article and think that it could help someone you know, forward it or share it. 🙂