How To Overcome Anxiety & Fear (Part 1)
When my clients struggle with anxious thoughts, worry and fear, there are some simple techniques on how to overcome anxiety that I use with them and they´ve gotten some amazing results.
Now I want to share those techniques with you, too.
No matter what your fear looks like, these techniques will help reduce the anxiety you feel and, ultimately put an end to the fear that´s been holding you back.
It doesn´t matter whether your fear makes sense or not, anxiety is busily planting seeds of doubt deep inside your mind.
A Vicious Circle of Anxiety & Fear
First, let´s take a look at what drives those anxious thoughts…then I´ll share a few ideas on how to overcome anxiety and take back control of your life.
To be honest, it doesn´t matter where your anxious thoughts come from – fact is they generally follow a fairly predictable pattern…
When you notice anxious thoughts creeping in, your first immediate reaction is one of fear; a reaction that puts all the nerve-endings in your central nervous system on edge. Because of all the nerve-endings in your stomach, the fear seems to settle there and begins gnawing away at you as you those anxious thoughts twist and turn, and take control of your mind.
It´s a vicious circle – the more fearful you react to the anxious thoughts, the more intense your experience becomes.
Like brutally bouncing balls, your anxious thoughts ricochet inside your mind, causing wave after wave of fear and anxiety to flood your body.
You may even feel as though your anxious thoughts are robbing you of all control as you battle to shake off those frightening feelings
…the harder you try, the more distressed you become.
It´s a bit like telling someone not to think of a pink bunny with big floppy ears. Once you´ve mentioned it, it´s all they can think of. Strange I know, but that´s how our brains are wired to work. When you tell yourself not to think of something, that´s all you´re going to be able to think about!
Putting The Break On Anxious Thoughts
Before I show you how to overcome anxiety, there´s something important you need to know:
- When anxious thoughts push their way into your mind, it´s important not to try to push them away.
Let them in, allow them to be there. The more you can welcome them, the easier it will be.
While your anxious thoughts will never disappear completely, you can learn to react to them differently. And when you change how you react, it won´t matter whether you have them or not. After all, it´s how we react to circumstances that defines any of our experiences in life.
From time to time, we all experience thoughts that are crazy or frightening. And most of us recognize those thoughts for what they are: momentary anxious thoughts it´s not worth worrying about.
When you struggle with anxiety, those same thoughts can easily spin out of control, setting off a cycle of fear. The key to breaking that cycle is changing how you react to your fearful thoughts.
And the way you do that is by…
- seeing your thoughts for what they are.
- giving them a name.
- taking notice of them as neutrally as you can.
- focusing your energy on what you were originally doing and
- proceeding with that activity.
How To Overcome Anxiety in 5 Simple Steps
Let me show you how this works:
Things are going well. You´re busy working your way through your to-do list when an anxious thought pushes its way into your mind.
You used to react to ideas like this with anxiety, trying to push it away and ban it from your thoughts.
Now, though, you say to yourself:
That´s just fear of rejection rearing its ugly head
(– or fear of ridicule, disappointment, loneliness, failure…you get the idea.)
I could really let it bother me, scare me and make me crazy but I´m not. I`m not going to react to it. I´m not going to try to stop it. I´m just going to see it for what it is and let it be.
Chances are, of course, that the thought isn´t going to just give up and go away because you choose not to react. It may very well turn around and hit you with a new level of frightening possibilities you hadn´t thought of yet. No matter…
Do just what you did before.
Take notice of it
while staying as neutral as you can.
your energy on what you were doing before the anxious thought arose and
Each and every one of us has thousands and thousands of logical – and not so logical – thoughts flowing through our minds every day.
I call this the Anxiety Relief 5-Step Process. Use it and you will gradually come to recognize your anxious thoughts for what they truly are: nothing more than a quirk of the mind.
Anxiety Relief Exercise 2: Welcome It In
Once you start getting comfortable with the Anxiety Relief 5-Step Process and are feeling the results, here´s another exercise you can do:
Consciously welcome an anxious thought that´s plagued you in the past, into your mind.
Draw the thought out into the light so you can see it and examine it.
I know, you may be thinking: What are you crazy?! All I want is to get rid of those thoughts!
But, honestly, doing this exercise can be super empowering because it puts you in the driver´s seat. It lets you take control of the situation.
Did you know that fear feeds off the idea that you cannot handle the thoughts it throws your way? When you dodge, run or hide from them, fear expands and grows.
So, stop. Turn around and look it in the face. Let go of the struggle and say to yourself: I can handle these thoughts. Of course I can.
That inner struggle comes from thinking things like….
I can´t deal with thinking about this – I want it to go away.
I hate this thought; I want it to stop!
Instead, welcome them in. See them for what they are. Name them and take notice, as neutrally as you can.
Control Is Yours, If You Want It
I´m not saying this is going to be easy. And yet, my clients tell me the more they practice these exercises, the more in control they feel.
If you find yourself taking two steps back for every step forward, remember that´s to be expected at first.
Don´t give up.
Change comes from action and the most effective action can come in the form of baby steps.
Don´t let your mind convince you that there´s no way out. There is.
Use these simple techniques to learn how to overcome anxiety and you can live the life you´ve always imagined.
Isn´t it time you stopped handing anxiety the power to rob you of your dreams?