We all get anxious sometimes. In fact, anxiety is a fascinating emotion because we feel like it just happens to us. But the truth is there is always a thought that occurs, before we have any emotion or feeling, including anxiety. The thought is what creates the feeling.
One of the things we can do when we feel anxious is to just allow the emotion to be there, without resisting it, or trying to push it away. Really feel the feeling. Ask ourselves questions about it such as; where is it in my body? What does it feel like?, how would I describe it? On a scale of 0 – 10 (with 10 being maximum and 0 being none) how strong is the feeling?
When we start asking ourselves questions like this, we can begin to look at our emotions from the position of an observer. This helps us to accept that emotions are just vibrations in our body, caused by the thoughts we are thinking.
Our feelings don’t have to control us. We can actually feel anxious and be ok with that. Know that it does not mean anything is terribly wrong, or that we have to change something. According to psychologist and coach Brook Castello, 50% of our emotions are going to be negative emotions like anxiety. The other 50% are going to be positive emotions.
Anxiety only becomes a problem when we identify too strongly with it and can’t imagine living our life without it. Usually this means it has been something we have experienced for a long time. If this is the case, it might be useful to talk to a coach, psychologist or counsellor.
In the meantime, we can see if we can find the thought that is causing the emotion. If we are having trouble identifying that thought, doing a thought download might help. This involves spending 10 -20 minutes writing down everything we are thinking. Emptying our minds. We need to make sure no one else will read what we write, so we are free to be totally honest. This may give us an insight in to what our thought is that is making us anxious.
Often, we blame an event for us feeling anxious. But it is never the event. It is not something our husband is doing, or the fact that we might get sick, or lose our job, or that someone said something mean to us. Any of these things might be what is happening, but it is not what causes us to feel good or bad. It is our thoughts about the event, that causes us to feel anxious.
If it was really the event that made us feel anxious, then all humans would feel the same, when an event happens. For example, if having to go to work each morning makes us feel anxious, then everyone who has to go to work each morning, should feel anxious. But we know that is not true.
Likewise, if the fact that we could get sick makes us feel anxious, then all humans should feel anxious, because any one of us could get sick. But the truth is, everyone does not feel anxious about that.
Being anxious is caused by the thoughts we are thinking about an event. If we are feeling anxious, the first step to is to try and identify the thoughts that we are thinking that are causing that feeling. Then work on changing the thoughts, so that we get a different feeling.
Written by Lynda Timperley Btch, Dip Psych, Cert Life Coaching
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