I once coached a guy who for a long time suffered from severe anxiety and panic attacks. He had done a lot of work around it. He had support to manage the worst of it and was moving forward from some major difficulties in his life. But he still had a tendency to believe wholeheartedly in his anxious thoughts whenever he wanted to try new things. So he wanted some extra support from me, to achieve some specific goals.
These goals were small to other people but huge, to him. Which is when he asked me if I thought I could help him to move forward in this very specific way. Of course, I said yes, and that I’d love to.
I’m so glad I did because he was such a joy to work with. It was beautiful to watch him begin to see through his thought processes and believed-in thoughts. His face had such an expression of surprise at times during the sessions.
Like he was finally seeing clearly:
“Did I really just accept that belief or thought process as true all this time, without ever questioning its validity? Woah…”
I loved those ‘Woah’ moments. I asked him at the end of the session, on one of the last times we met, how he was feeling. And he said simply one word… Peaceful. Now for an anxious man, that was all the feedback I needed.
Anxiety and The Body/Mind
The contrast between feeling peace in the body/mind and feeling anxiety in both, is stark. The endless circular thinking of the mind and corresponding symptoms in the body really get to us. These anxiety thought attacks are exhausting. The mind thoughts usually starts off at a slow boil, checking to see if they’ve got our attention. Once they’re sure they have, then off we go!
Every bad thing that ever happened in the past. Each time we failed at something. Every negative word someone once said to us, gets a run through. Then, believing in those thought memories, we are hooked.
Now, of course, the body starts to chime in with its temperature changes, increased heart rate, breathlessness, weariness, and lethargy. Or the opposite, lots of nervous energy, and voila! We’ve got anxiety going on in stereo! What do we do then?
Riding Out The Anxiety Cycle
Well, of course, you can just let the anxiety cycle ride itself out on its own. After all, everything is finite in this world so you can allow your anxiety to reach its peak and then watch it subside. Because if you’re fully believing in these symptoms of anxiety then you probably aren’t much focused on the cause at that moment. Though I doubt that it’s much fun to experience yet another anxiety cycle in this way.
Still, as I said, everything is finite in this world, so you know ultimately, that ‘this too will pass.’ Alternatively, you can choose to really get to the core, the root cause of your anxiety, and work from there. For it is knowing that cause and not just dealing with the symptoms, that gives us back our power in any situation.
Does That Mean Always Having To Go Deep?
This doesn’t have to mean a deep-rooted exploration of every time you’ve ever felt an anxious thought. It doesn’t mean endlessly exploring what someone did or didn’t do to you. You just need to find where you’re holding onto those stories in your body/mind and work from there. And that means you’re then back in the driving seat.
Because if you can observe your anxiety then you can surmise from that space of observation, that your anxiety is actually separate from you and therefore not you, and therefore you are not it, and the spell starts to be broken.
The mind is a beautiful thing. So is the body. They are excellent way-showers and pointers to where we are holding on to something that no longer serves us. They can also show us where we are blindly believing in things that cause us pain. They both have the power to alert us to where we’re not in alignment with our highest good.
The Body And Mind Are Powerful
The body and mind combined, are powerful. They can project us into anxious, altered or emotive states, with consummate ease. They’re beautiful to watch and silently observe. They can also hold us hostage. Running our lives when we don’t know how to read their signals, signs, and pointers effectively.
Yet when we do, when we begin to see through their coded messages, we find greater freedom. We’re less anxious, less caring of what others do or don’t, think of us. We’re freer, and it shows. We feel it and others see it. It’s a beautiful thing.
Therefore, in a roundabout way, your anxiety too, is a beautiful thing. It’s a pointer, a signpost, a way-shower, a guide to where you are allowing your mind to take charge. It’s the way that your body gets to show you that what you’re focusing on at that moment, is no longer serving you. When looked at in this way, you might even begin to love your anxiety. Then bless it and release it.
Believe me, your body and mind will thank you for it!
Previously published on Goodmenproject.com