Feel undermined by people who should be encouraging? I want to open up a conversation (with some remedies) about anxiety-the great modern plague.
It started by feeling a little bit down.
Have you ever had that situation where you know you need to do SOMETHING to move ahead, but don’t know yet what it is?
Or, for some reason, it makes you feel nervous & down, like a niggling sensation that just won’t go away?
The definition of anxious (according to dictionary.com) is: feeling or showing worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
Deriving from the old latin word anxius (from angere, which means ‘to choke’), anxiety means you are ‘strangling your creative powers’ as Dr Norman Peale puts it.
‘Worry’ is very similar. It comes from the anglo-saxon word ‘wyrgan’-meaning literally to strangle.
Les Brown, the great Motivational Speaker says: “It takes a lot of spiritual, emotional and mental energy for you to reach your goal, and you can run faster with 100 and one to go, than with one around your neck.”
Are you surrounding yourself with people who are building you up, or bringing you down?
Now, don’t get me wrong, they’re not ‘bad’ people, and many will have good intentions. But their words of caution, though, can put us off travelling towards the very horizons we want-and in fact, need-to expand.
The great philosopher, William James said…“We need only in cold blood act as if the thing in question were real, and it will become infallibly real, by growing into such a connection with our life that it will become real. It will become so knit with habit and emotion that our interests in it will be those which characterise belief.”
Now, if you don’t know who William James is, he was an American philosopher and psychologist, and the first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States.
He was also a leading thinker of the late nineteenth century, one of the most influential U.S. philosophers, and has been labelled the “Father of American psychology”.
So what do you do when you are anxious? Here are some tips by the NHS (the National Health Service in the UK) to help:
Ten ways to fight your fears
1. Take time out
It’s impossible to think clearly when you’re flooded with fear or anxiety. The first thing to do is take time out so you can physically calm down.
Distract yourself from the worry for 15 minutes by walking around the block, making a cup of tea or having a bath.
2. Breathe through panic
If you start to get a faster heartbeat or sweating palms, the best thing is not to fight it.
Stay where you are and simply feel the panic without trying to distract yourself. Place the palm of your hand on your stomach and breathe slowly and deeply.
The goal is to help the mind get used to coping with panic, which takes the fear of fear away.
Try this breathing technique for stress.
3. Face your fears
Avoiding fears only makes them scarier. Whatever your fear, if you face it, it should start to fade. If you panic one day getting into a lift, for example, it’s best to get back into a lift the next day.
4. Imagine the worst
Try imagining the worst thing that can happen – perhaps it’s panicking and having a heart attack. Then try to think yourself into having a heart attack. It’s just not possible. The fear will run away the more you chase it.
5. Look at the evidence
It sometimes helps to challenge fearful thoughts. For example, if you’re scared of getting trapped in a lift and suffocating, ask yourself if you have ever heard of this happening to someone. Ask yourself what you would say to a friend who had a similar fear.
6. Don’t try to be perfect
Life is full of stresses, yet many of us feel that our lives must be perfect. Bad days and setbacks will always happen, and it’s important to remember that life is messy.
7. Visualise a happy place
Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a place of safety and calm. It could be a picture of you walking on a beautiful beach, or snuggled up in bed with the cat next to you, or a happy memory from childhood. Let the positive feelings soothe you until you feel more relaxed.
8. Talk about it
Sharing fears takes away a lot of their scariness. If you can’t talk to a partner, friend or family member, call a helpline such as the Samaritans (116 123, open 24 hours a day).
If your fears aren’t going away, you can ask your GP for help. GPs can refer people for counselling, psychotherapy or help through an online mental health service, such as FearFighter.
9. Go back to basics
Lots of people turn to alcohol or drugs to self-treat anxiety, but this will only make matters worse. Simple, everyday things like a good night’s sleep, a wholesome meal and a walk are often the best cures for anxiety.
10. Reward yourself
Finally, give yourself a treat. When you’ve made that call you’ve been dreading, for example, reinforce your success by treating yourself to a massage, a country walk, a meal out, a book, a DVD, or whatever little gift makes you happy.
I really hope that’s helped. Just remember, you are not alone in facing your fears. Even great people have fears.
Just like in ‘the fight of the two wolves’, what you feed, wins.
‘How much power does your fear really have, and are you the one feeding it?’ Les Brown.
Work out where your fear gets it’s power from. If it’s your thoughts, you can change that. If it’s someone else, then it’s time to give them the boot. They won’t leave until you tell them to. And tell them persistently.
P.S Just remember, a bit part of anxiety is confidence. I’ve gained so much confidence starting my own business (in 2018). I used to be VERY shy & introverted. If you decide to, you can also meet Stuart here, one of the guys who started me on a whole new way of life, without obligation.