What is anxiety? Anxiety is a natural response to what you perceive as a threat. When you perceive something as dangerous, your body prepares you for a flight or fight response to ensure your survival. We all feel anxious sometimes. It is absolutely normal to feel anxious when there is an obvious threat to you, like when, for example, somebody is pointing a gun at your head-it is a real threat. The problem is when there is no real danger, but you imagine negative scary thoughts and scary images and respond to them as if they were real. This way you make yourself anxious, when there is no real threat out there. As mentioned earlier, anxiety is a response to what you perceive as a threat to you. The good news is that you can change your perception of things.
Anxiety is directly connected to how you tolerate uncertainty. Many anxious people instead of accepting uncertainty and being comfortable with it, have the habit of projecting negative scenarios about something they are uncertain about and become anxious about those negative scenarios, which they invented in their mind. To avoid feeling anxious, these people therefore avoid going to new places, doing new tasks or meeting new people, trying this way to avoid facing uncertainty.
As the threat is in perception, and perception is very individual, let’s explore what different people may perceive as threatening.
Perfectionists, for example, have a belief that they must do everything right and have unrealistically high standards of themselves. They believe that if they don’t do something right, then they are not good enough, or they can’t be loved or respected. Thus a perfectionist will be highly anxious to make a mistake, to do something wrong, when in the real world people evolve by trial and error and imperfection is inbuilt into being human. Perfectionism or in other words, self-imposed toxic beliefs, is the cause of anxiety for many people. Once a person gets rid of these unhealthy limiting beliefs and replaces them with empowering healthy beliefs, then he or she will feel ok in the situations which caused them anxiety in the past.
Another common reason for anxiety is the perceived threat of being negatively judged by other people. This type of anxiety is called social anxiety. A person imagines being criticised or negatively judged by other people and perceives it as a threat to his or her self-worth. As a result, a person feels very anxious around other people. Here you need to work on 2 things to eliminate social anxiety: 1. Realize that you respond not to the real threat, but to your own scary thoughts and learn to ignore the negative thoughts instead of treating them as reality. 2. Secondly, you need to learn an important skill of how to be around other people and not to feel vulnerable, so that if somebody does criticise some of your actions, you can treat it simply as information, for you to decide whether to take anything useful out of it, or just to ignore it as you would ignore any other useless information. Just think about it: every day you get online or in your email inbox lots of information, and yet you don’t take it all onboard, right? You take on board what you think is useful to you and ignore spam and other useless information. You can learn to transfer the same skill to the information spoken out about your actions, as it is just information, somebody’s opinion. And as you know already, opinions are not facts. Moreover, you need to learn to separate yourself from your behaviour: you are not your actions or emotions; you are much more than that! Once you realise that, then you can feel good about youreself as a person while at the same time you may feel dissatisfied with your particular behaviour.
Another reason for anxiety is constant worry: people believe that they must be vigilant at all times, otherwise something bad might happen to them. Being constantly vigilant, worrying about all sorts of things that could go wrong consumes a lot of mental energy and makes people anxious. Asking yourself ‘’what can go wrong?’’’ focuses your brain on coming up with lots of scary ideas of what can go wrong. It is an important skill to learn to focus your mind on what you want to happen instead of what you are afraid might happen. You also need to remember that possibility of something happening is different from probability of it happening. Yes, it is POSSIBLE that you can be stricken by lightning, but what is the PROBABILITY of it happening? It is also important to learn to live in the present moment, focusing outside yourself, instead of being caught up in your thoughts most of the time.
If you ask yourself scary ‘’What if questions’’, such as ‘’what if I lose my job? What if my partner leaves me?’’, then it is crucially important that you go through a problem solving process to answer these questions immediately. Leaving these questions unanswered gives you the feeling that you won’t be able to deal with it and leaves you with fear and anxiety. If you ask yourself ‘’What if?” question, then you need to ask yourself straight away: ‘’What shall I do about it if that happens?’’ You might not like dealing with such a challenging situation, but it is essential for you to know that you can deal with it.
Anxiety is usually triggered when you overestimate the risk of something bad happening to you and at the same time you underestimate your abilities to deal with it. So you need to learn to assess risks more realistically and learn strategies to cope with life challenges effectively.
Think about people who don’t suffer from anxiety. How do they do it? Well, they simply don’t create dangers in their perception. They focus on what they want in life instead of what they don’t want and they have a belief that if problems do occur, they will manage them somehow. In other words, they don’t overestimate the risks and they don’t underestimate their resourcefulness. Like everyone else, they would prefer things to go well all the time, but they believe that they can handle negative events if they do happen. When they ask themselves ‘’’what if ‘’ questions, they answer them by sensible planning, so that if such a negative possibility occurs, they are well prepared for it.
At Light Your Star we’ve helped hundreds of people overcome permanently their anxiety usually in a matter of 2-6 sessions, as we use in our therapeutic approach the cutting edge psychotherapies, NLP and hypnosis to help you build the skills you need in order to perceive and respond to life in effective and empowering ways, leaving anxiety producing strategies in the past.
Call us now on 0414 737 965 to arrange for your FREE first breakthrough consultation (Free offer is limited to the first 50 people only) or fill in the contact form on our website www.lightyourstar.com.au