THE COMMON MISTAKES WHEN DEALING WITH ANXIETY, AND HOW TO FINALLY GET IT RIGHT.
HOW TO NOT DEAL WITH ANXIETY
What’s your go-to when anxiety decides to pay a visit?
Option #1. Quickly try to smother it and pretend it doesn’t exist.
Option #2. Tell yourself in a lovely meditative voice “I recognise you’re here, thank you, now please move on”. You hope your anxiety has been ‘recognised’ and feels satiated for the time being, and then you smother it down.
Option #3. You allow anxiety to flood every cell in your body, really feel it and let it do its thing and wait for it to feel heard, accepted and then move on. But it never moves on, so you eventually have to smother it back down.
Option #4. You try to breathe through it while repeating the mantra “You’re not here, I’m fine, go away” and in a very gentle breathy way it gets smothered.
See the recurring theme: anxiety is always smothered.
It may be heard, it may even get the chance to cry at you, but it is always smothered. It sits there, rolls it eyes, maybe huffs, and eventually leaves you, knowing it can try again later.
Your bodies fire alarm
You see anxiety isn’t a rationale beast. It’s a survival beast. It doesn’t see a room full of people and think “Gosh my soul sister is sitting in here and I’m going to absolutely love this event”. Oh no, it’s thinking “Here are 30 people…30 people who might judge me, criticise me, laugh at me and think I’m a total freak…crap, I have to save you from this”. Alarm bells go off, it tells you to get the heck outta there because ahead is only filled with danger and terrible, terrible things.
I’m still trying to decide if ‘your anxiety’ would be the first to die in the Hunger Games due to being too terrified to fend for itself, or it would hide for so long it would miraculously come second purely because it would never be found and would got smoked out. But it would never win. Anxiety is your bodies fire alarm. At every sign of smoke or danger, it will fire off. That signal will go on and on and on to alert you that you’re in DANGER DANGER DANGER.
It sees you either trying to turn the fire alarm off (aka. take the batteries out), turn down the volume on the signal, or do some weird happy dance to distract it. But in anxieties eyes, that danger is still there right in front of you and it’s looking at you with a big ol’stink eye thinking “What is wrong with you?! There is danger here, get into panic mode!”.
Your fake bestie – the amygdala
You see, there are currently only 2 solutions: 1. The initial trigger hasn’t gone away 2. Anxiety won and you ran away so the trigger is momentarily gone.
This response is your fear response, carried out by your fake bestie/overprotective friend, the amygdala. Your amygdala analyses your situation and your thoughts and if it sees a potential danger it signals the fire alarm to scream “DANGER DANGER DANGER”.
This happens all before your conscious brain gets the signal and realises there is no danger.
You see, your amygdala uses a storage of memories, thoughts, beliefs, stories and references to analyse the situation. These are all the things you have accumulated in your life and your amygdala is only trying to do its job as your overbearing protector. Its only job is that you’re safe, it doesn’t care if the situation isn’t really scary. The first time you’re exposed to this situation, your amygdala has no knowledge as to how it will play out, so it assumes it’s harmless and you go along with it panic-free. Once the situation is over, you now have evidence on how that particular situation made you feel. This develops into a belief, and the amygdala gets its first bit of research so it’s prepared the next time you stumble across a similar scenario.
This ‘situation’ isn’t always facing a saber tooth tiger. (I’d hope your amygdala associates that ‘situation’ as terrifying and kicks your body into fight or flight mode!)
It could be watching Gossip Girl and seeing Blair Wardolf belittle one of her minions for not wearing the appropriate headband. It could be your parents arguing over lack of money. It could be seeing other kids snicker at a kid for bringing in her homemade macaroni necklace in pre-primary.
Your beliefs are formed everywhere.
They don’t have to personally happen to you. Your brain has analysed that situation, categorised it into “this would make me happy” or “this would make me sad” or “this would be freakin’ terrifying”.
We talk about learning from others mistakes, but I personally believe some people learn too much. My earliest memory is being in pre-primary and seeing a kid trip over and scuff his knee and start crying. The other girls I was with laughed at him for crying. I remember being so torn as to what to do, but I followed the cool crowd and laughed along. I used to feel intense fear anytime I may cry in public, even 20 years later. That memory had a strong emotional hold in me, but I know there are plenty of other references I’ve collected over the years to cement that – crying when my brother hit me and being laughed at, watching girls on chick flicks cry at school and get laughed at by the cool kids, crying when I got paired with my brother as my mentor in year 3 (sorry bro!). These little snippets and stories in my life have strengthened my belief that it’s uncool to cry in public. And if I dare come even close, I feel intense embarrassment and my heart clams up. I still cry as privately as I can, and still feel anxious and embarrassed if people see me. I used to not want to watch sad movies at the cinemas for fear of having to walk out crying.
But what’s wrong with crying in public? My conscious brain chose to keep recognising those stories, that they became such a deep subconscious thought that crying in public = humiliation. My conscious brain never got the chance to argue it because the anxiety made me feel terrible and I didn’t deal with it. So now if I feel the whisper of tears coming to my eyes while I’m in public, my heart starts pounding, an iron fist crushes my chest, a lump forms in my throat, my hands get sweaty and amygdala screams DANGER DANGER DANGER. Even in situations that are deemed ‘socially acceptable’ to cry, such as at a funeral. I feel dread and anxious. Eventually those feelings of anxiousness become too much that I’d tend to avoid going to any situation that may put me in that position.
Flipping your life around
And here lies where I start to sacrifice my life, because of my anxiety.
Your subconscious mind is freaking powerful.
But so are you.
I won’t say I can walk around balling my eyes out, but I am also not ashamed to cry and it no longer triggers that intense feeling of anxiety, dread or embarrassment. I also don’t avoid those situations where I may cry, I embrace them, because crying is a beautiful human emotion and I’m proud to feel it.
It’s not enough to tell your brain “Crying’s OK”. Because I can betcha that little voice in your head will instantly say “No, it’s not”.
You have to re-wire those beliefs. And it won’t happen overnight.
You need to understand that fear on an intimate level, what that belief is. And flip it. Flip it 180 into the total opposite.
So for me, it was “Crying is a beautiful thing to do in public” (ok, maybe not that dramatic, but you get the picture).
Then, find EVERY SINGLE reference, story, thought, etc you have to back up that new phrase. They need to be TRUE stories, ones your brain can not argue again. Because the more stories and references you have to back up that new phrase, the more it becomes your new belief and starts to rewire that neural pathway, diminishing the old detrimental belief.
I wish I could tell you creating that list once will be enough and your amygdala will rule “crying in public” off your list of fears. But I won’t lie to you. Now it’s time to be consciously aware, because trust me in that your thought can be a sneaky subconscious one. Each time that thought pops up, your body starts to go into its old automatic response, but you need to grab it, flip it and list of all those references and stories you thought of to back up the new belief and override the old one.
I can say it gets easier. It gets easier to flip it. It gets easier to list all the references. And eventually, your subconscious takes the new TRUE belief as its own, and it’s the new subconscious belief to automatically pop up. Wa-laa! Crying in public now seems like a wonderful emotion and not scary at all.
See the power of the mind?
The subconscious is there to keep you alive. But your conscious is there to let you thrive.
This all sounds well and good for known triggers…fear of needles, fear of dogs….but often most of these are subconscious and take some digging to really uncover.
I find this process one of the most influential and magical processes I have ever gone through, and it honestly changed my life.
It can be scary, it can be daunting, it can be overwhelming.
But you can do it. We can do it together.
Heck I had 3 mentors who guided me through mine, and it was only at the end that I realised what I did and how I pieced all of it together.
My Anxiety Program is coming soon and you better believe that I have collated all my learnings and put them into one module for you.
The gut, the brain health, the diet, the sex hormones are all important….but this mindset right here is the clincher. I walk you through step by step to discovering all those deep subconscious beliefs, and walk you through the exact questions to ask yourself to overcome them. Discovering who you truly are, discovering what beliefs control your life, and discovering what stories have backed it all up and which ones you have to counteract them will, be the dynamite that’s missing in your life. It’s scary as batshit, but I believe in you 100%. I did it, so it is entirely possible you can too.
If you want to learn more about my program, book an Anxiety Transformation Call – it will change your life.