Excerpt from the book:The Path Within
Anxiety is an uncomfortable, over-alert state, where we feel ready to fight or run from the next possible threat, even though we have no idea what might be causing the threat – or if there even is any real danger.
Anxiety is usually triggered by a vague fear of the unknown, or a feeling that we are not up to the task of facing the challenges before us. It can manifest as feeling apprehensive of particular people or situations, or as a general sense of unease. Feeling anxious What interferes with our ability to fully participate in life, as we are always anticipating that something unpleasant or dangerous will happen. The lack of engagement, vague worrying and irrational apprehension are symptoms that often lead to the clinical diagnoses of Anxiety or Panic Disorder.
The symptoms of Anxiety and Panic Disorder are often treated with medication, usually chemical neuro-suppressants. Unfortunately, while pharmaceutical treatments such as β-blockers may provide temporary relief or prevent an individual from inflicting self-harm, the root causes of these problems are difficult to address in the context of conventional medicine. Not because doctors don’t care, but because most physicians and psychiatrists simply do not have the time or training to explore what is underneath the symptoms and trace those symptoms back to their root causes. Even if following conventional psychotherapy is able to uncover the root causes of anxiety, the solution to ending it usually is not medical. In most cases, ending Anxiety or Panic Disorder requires either learning to interact with triggering situations in healthy ways, or healing the disconnect between the patient’s assumptions, beliefs and expectations and his or her actual reality. This work is not something a doctor is able to do for a patient.
If you are currently taking prescription medication for anxiety, please understand that it is important to keep taking your medication for safety reasons. Many medications create dependency and have debilitating withdrawal symptoms that must be managed appropriately. It can be dangerous to alter a prescribed medication without fully understanding the possible effects of that change. Only ask your doctor to change your prescription after you have successfully addressed the root causes of your anxiety.
Many people are apprehensive about working through their fears to release anxiety because they are worried that this type of processing work will require facing the past. This is a common concern, exacerbated by traditional images of therapists in TV shows and movies, but a largely unwarranted one. The techniques I describe in this book are gentle, permanent and largely concerned with the present and do not ravage your memory or make you cheap jerseys depend on drugs to keep you in an artificial good mood.
Finding the root causes of your anxiety requires deep self-awareness. You need to be able to look at yourself and understand what creates your anxious reactions in order to stop them. Self-awareness comes from being willing to pay attention to your feelings, thoughts and reactions without judgment or shame – simply observing yourself. One gentle way to boost your self-awareness is to specifically observe how you interact with the people and environments around you.
As you explore the root causes of your anxiety, it is also important to discover if you have any underlying depression. Depression often pushes cheap jerseys from China people to contract what I call their horizon of awareness; what they are able to hold in their awareness at any given time. The result of contracting your horizon of awareness is that you are only able to see limited aspects of reality and a lot more is left to the unknown, fear and anxiety. Once a contraction occurs, anxiety is a next likely response. It is important to deal with the root causes of your underlying depression to permanently prevent the reoccurring nature of anxiety.
In addition, understanding how and why you react to circumstances gives you insight and mind skills, this is also known as “learning your triggers.” Cultivating self-awareness and learning what provokes you, or “what your triggers are” increases your ability to prevent anxiety reactions. Being able to trust that you will respond appropriately in any situation gives you the freedom to re-engage in life and your relationships and ultimately will help you live an empowered, passionate, purposeful and meaningful life.
Embracing the feeling cheap jerseys of uncertainty can help us grow. When we have too much orderliness in our lives we tend to seek out adventure and even chaos, sometimes unconsciously. Overcoming uncertainty and learning to face the unknown helps us feel alive and challenged and makes us feel that our contributions matter to the world.
When our uncertainty is manageable we may still feel stress, but this is a type of stress that supports our growth. This “healthy stress” keeps us from feeling apathetic or bored. Even fear can be helpful sometimes, as it alerts us to valuable and potentially life-saving information about our internal and external environments. When our uncertainty becomes unmanageable, however, our bodies go into an anxiety response.
Anxiety is distinctly different from fear. While fear is triggered by sensing an actual threat, anxiety, on the other hand, is a reaction to our fear of POSSIBLE danger, not actual danger. When we feel threatened by something anonymous and intangible we are incapable of actually preparing for it, because we do not know what preparations to make. This sense of helplessness and frustration can squelch our ability to think creatively, solve problems, or function in any kind of rational way. Helplessness and irrational fear ensue and produce stressful discomfort and agitation in the body and confusion and tension in the mind.
The immediate antidote to anxiety is to focus on what is actually happening in the Here and Now. This refocuses „Ball your attention inside your horizon of awareness, which changes your body state in a quick and reliable way. Practicing the following exercise counteracts anxiety reactions and can also calm the underlying irrational fear reaction.
Freeing yourself from the whirlpool of anxiety starts by focusing inside your horizon of awareness. Your horizon of awareness contains only sensations, feelings and perceptions that are based on reality in the Here and Now. Focusing inside your horizon of awareness helps keep your attention centered on what is real and present rather than letting your mind stray to imagined possible dangers.
I use the following exercise very successfully with my clients. Its origins are very simple and logical. By having clearly defined the common elements of anxiety, I was able to design an exercise which helps us release our “mind identification” – the belief that what we think is our reality. This exercise has now been adopted by mental health professionals and emergency physicians and can be an effective alternative to avert anxiety for those who are unable or unwilling to reach for anti-anxiety drugs right away.
As with all tools, it only works if you use it. Practice this exercise frequently and it will be easier to return to reality if you find yourself slipping into anxiety.
Moving away from anxiety and fear.
- Start by taking yourself to an environment where you have fewer sensory inputs. That might mean going into a particular room, or simply closing your eyes for a few moments.
- Begin to breathe deeply and connect to your senses. Use all your physical senses to become aware of what is “real” in the Here and Now. With your eyes closed or open, see, smell, hear, experience the sensations inside your body, taste and touch.
Now note three nya sense perceptions, such as, “I see the book,” “I hear my breath,” or “I can still taste my breakfast”. Three things is all it takes. Please use three different senses for this exercise.
- Next bring three things to mind for which you are grateful– nothing complex, just simple things that spark your gratitude.
Now note these in your mind also, while still tracking the notes from step 2. State the gratitude positively. Instead of “I’m not hungry” say “I’m feeling satisfied.” Use readily available and simple things such as: “I’m grateful for being alive” or “I’m grateful for having a friend.” Anything will work for this exercise; it is the mindset that counts.
- Now, still keeping track of the three senses you noted and the three thoughts of gratitude, ask yourself this question: “IN THIS MOMENT, what is missing?”
Note: The answer that arises from inside yourself at the moment you ask this question will always be “nothing.” If you feel that something is missing, then you have allowed your mind to wander Decisions to a past or future time, or a place outside of your direct awareness. Refocusing on the Here and Now will be facilitated by the fact that your mind is already focusing on awareness and gratitude and paying very little attention to What Isn’t.
Practicing this exercise frequently will make it easier to return to the Here and Now at the times you need it most – when you are in an anxious state.
- When you are aware of the Here and Nowyou stop focusing on the gap between reality and your expectations of reality. If you are aware of What Is rather than What Isn’t you are open and receptive to life as it comes – not caught in your fears of what might happen or even your hopes of what you wish were happening. When you feel most connected to the present moment is when you are in a place of full acceptance.
- Also, awarenesstakes the place of thought. And since thought is what causes fear, practicing this exercise also helps to reduce the amount of fear we experience.
- All fearand worry is about the future. When your awareness is focused on the present you are incapable of thinking about the future. Your Business fear is not able to take hold of your thoughts when your awareness is rooted in the present moment.
- Anxietyis a reaction to the possibility of a threat that is outside your awareness. Being present with your primary senses of touch, smell, sight and hearing anchors you within your horizon of awareness.
- Your mind cannot keep track of more than four or five immediate and specific things at the same time. Therefore focusing your mind on six awarenesses at once requires all your concentration and reduces the ability to think about What Isn’t. This provides a pathway for you to return to peace in the present moment.
Something interesting that you might notice when using this exercise is that each moment is complete unto itself. The Universe creates and maintains harmony in every moment and every place. It is only CRITICS outside of the Here and Now that imperfection can be constructed, but outside of Here and Now is only an illusion. We may not like the current harmony of life and may even wish for something outside the Here and Now. But only if we allow ourselves to feel and accept the harmony of the moment can we realise that it is a complete moment.
When concentrating on each item in the exercise, be aware of What Is and release What Isn’t. in For example, “I’m grateful that I’m not sick” is focusing on What Isn’t. Instead, focus on What Is, such as “I am grateful I am healthy.” You get more of what you focus on and focusing on “not being sick” keeps you more connected to the sickness than health.
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