The common mistakes when dealing with anxiety, and how to finally get it right.

The common mistakes when dealing with anxiety, and how to finally get it right.

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.

 

Are you living your life for you?

Are you living your life for you?

ARE YOU LIVING YOUR LIFE FOR YOU?

I grew up in an extremely science-based family so my brain operated on logics and not intuition. I preferred maths, human biology and chemistry due to the black and white nature, and struggled to understand English and Social Sciences as I viewed them as ‘grey’ subjects (aka. you’re never 100% sure what the right answer is). In English class, I’d try so hard to write my essays based on what I thought the teacher wanted, not what I felt pulled to discuss or passionate about.

That is how I lived my life.

Not just in English, but all areas.

Every decision I made was based on what I thought society wanted.

I should have clear skin.
I should be petite.
I should wear fashionable clothes.
I should ooze confidence.
I should be glamorous and beautifully made up.
I should eat salads.
I should, I should, I should….

I was a serial ‘should’-er.

The sad thing was, this belief was so ingrained in me, that I had no idea who I was anymore or what I wanted. I only ever knew what society wanted and the lines between me and society became seriously blurred. I never consciously realised it was happening, but I was never truly happy.

I’d get nervous and worried every time I did something, because I was waiting in anticipation for how the world would see me.

The only time I remember feeling utterly blissfully free and exuding bucket loads of confidence, was when I was travelling alone. I was standing in the middle of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, and completely surrounded by total strangers who (I soon realised) would never see me again. Once that comprehension hit, I relaxed. I stopped second guessing my actions, thoughts and emotions.

I was just me. It’s like I was hit by a shooting star, this overwhelming sense of freedom and pure joy flooded my body. I was freaking free. It was addictive.

Back in Perth though, I quickly fell into the same hole.

My old self-inhibiting thoughts returned…”what would people think of me, I’m not good enough as myself, I’m not pretty enough, not smart enough, not worthy enough…” These beliefs were SO subconscious, I didn’t even know they were there, but it threw me right back down into anxiety territory.

Years and years and years of recurring stories and thoughts cemented these beliefs. It kept the gorgeously, magical glowing swirl of colours that was me, locked deep down in my heart in a safe place. So safe that I struggled to access it. Because my fear deemed these qualities dangerous. They’d expose me to criticism, exclusion, judgement, dislike, rejection.

I can only describe who I was as grey.

A dull cast of grey, while that pool of brightness and joy was trapped deep in the depths of my heart and covered by black self depreciating thoughts. The problem was, I had no idea this was going on inside of me. I had no idea this beautiful pool of magic existed inside me. 

Until the day my emotions hit a dark spot.

The only way I can describe it is imagine that bright magical pool of colours screaming out. Screaming so loud their voices were hoarse and hopeless. The dark sludgy fears above kept shooting wisps of anxiety throughout my body, which buckled down the hatches and prevented that pool of magic from exploding and consuming my being like it should have.

The day my depression came, the dark sludge grew stronger and stronger.

It felt like that magical pool had given up sending me any slivers of joy it could let loose and instead it just cried.

It was so detached from who I was, that it just felt despair. Despair and utter sadness. It got to a point that the brightness, joy and happiness stopped trying to escape. I no longer felt a beautifully warm and happy embrace in my heart and soul.

My little glimpses of joy each day stopped.

I’d sit with my gorgeous dogs, pat them and feel nothing. Not necessarily sadness, just nothing. I was apathetic. No little tingle of joy in my soul, no swelling of joy in my heart.

This was my breaking point.

Not the years of anxiety or overwhelm, but the depression.

I was so early into the days of depression that I noticed the absence of joy. I knew it shouldn’t be this hard to feel happy and I missed it. I craved joy and happiness like I crave jam donuts (which is a lot).

This depression created change in me.
I dove head first into really nourishing myself. My body, my brain and my mindset and beliefs.

The beauty is, I managed to not only heal my depression, but I also healed my anxiety and stress. I forgot what life was like without them.

Strangely, I’m so grateful that depression decided to grace my life. I truly believe I was meant to go through it.

Because if I didn’t, I never would have taken the steps to transform my mental health and realise there was a life I really wanted, but I wasn’t living.

I got to know what depression and anxiety represented to me. I got to know why it appeared in the first place. I got to know why it overtook me at this point in my life and why not earlier. I got to know how to let it go and set it free. I got to know how to live each day in a way that meant it wasn’t coming back.

 

 

 

The Transformation

Six months later, I’m now an entirely new person.

I say new, but she may have existed in my earlier years when fear of being yourself wasn’t so strong. Definitely prior to pre-primary and my first recollection of wanting to fit in.

This new person isn’t afraid.

This new person doesn’t let fear govern her.

This new person loves who she is.

This new person may have little speckles of grey still floating around, but that beautiful magical pool of colours is no longer trapped deep in the depths of her heart and soul, but now floods every single cell and atom in her body.

She no longer lives a life dictated by what she believes society expects of her.

She lives a life in alignment with herself.

Other peoples opinions, judgements and criticisms bounce off her, because she is sure of who she is and who she wants to be. The anxiety of needing to fit in and to please everyone is gone (or mostly anyway).

If you can’t already tell, I’m a visual person. So for me, I can’t just feel alignment, I need to visualise it. To me, being in alignment with who I’m supposed to be is this bright white light that is glowing from my heart and beams ahead of me.

This white line is my alignment.
My journey in life. The one that feels right in every cell of my being, even if my logical brain says otherwise.

Each time I take another step forward in life, I now have that emotional radar that detects if it matches up with that white line, or if I’m aiming in completely the wrong direction.

Am I being true to myself and embarking on a journey that is right, or making decisions based on the influence of society and the opinions of those around me?

Situations in life can still feel freakin’ daunting and can sometimes make me want to curl into a ball in bed and hide. But now I can distinguish these emotions between fear and being totally against my gut instinct (aka. curling into that ball is a good idea), or daunting with butterflies in my belly but really exciting and totally in alignment with who I want to be.

Going to new events, meeting new people, putting my true self out into the world are still scary. But they’re also really exciting.

I’m still only human so those self depreciating thoughts still try to weasel their way in, but they don’t last long as I can quickly work through them and set them free. If I ever feel confused by all the opinions thrown my way in this world, I always ask myself:

Who do I want to be and what do I want my life to look like?

Society can no longer make me feel uncomfortable in my own skin, make me feel less about myself, influence me to dress a certain way, or make me second guess that what I’m doing is acceptable by the masses and will make me be included and liked.

I work hard on not caring what society thinks of me, because I’m darn proud of who I am.

The anxiety, fear, worry and hopelessness I felt attempting to fit in and do what society said was acceptable is so not worth it.

True happiness and freedom can only come from being yourself, and embracing all that you’re supposed to be.

So I say to you:

Live a life that is in complete alignment with you.

Not a life that society dictates is the correct way to live.

Not a life where you’re constantly second guessing yourself.

Not a life that is controlled by the opinions and influence of your friends and family.

A life that feels right in your gut, in your heart and in your soul. But not necessarily in your brain.