Anxiety is an emotional response, that no human is immune to experiencing.
But sometimes its stranglehold becomes painfully limiting.
Sometimes it stops us excelling in life.
Sometimes it stops us feeling enriched by life.
In this episode we’re going to get underneath your personal relationship to anxiety and bring you three important assets.
LINKS AND RESOURCES
- Would you like a clear and individualised strategy to move through the experience of anxiety positively? Schedule your introductory Coaching Session.
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- Stress keeping you falling short? Download TAMING STRESS. Click here.
- Not sure why you fall short on what you want? Tune into the very first episode here.
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ANXIETY: YOUR 3 ASSETS
I know anxiety well. She used to sit awfully heavy.
Used to drive me to avoidance of my ambitions. Used to drive me to avoidance of social settings. Avoidance of any situation that may draw attention to self. I’d stand two steps out of the circle, said ‘no’ when it could easily have been a yes, and I would keep my life full to avoid any questioning around whether I was playing small or living full.
This emotion used to drive me to the avoidance of most things that would make me stretch, and feel proud about who I was and how I showed up.
Anxiety is not something that disappears, for it is an emotion for all of us humans to experience.
But it need not sit so heavy that life’s experiences, ambitions and connections are limited. Restricted on a pathway to regret.
TO HELP YOU TO MOVE THROUGH THIS EXPERIENCE, I HAVE THREE ASSETS, AND EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US POSSESSES ALL THREE.
THE FIRST ASSET IS YOUR BRAIN.
We use this asset to gain an understanding of our personal relationship to anxiety. When we do this, we can bring the experience of anxiety to a place where it can become an emotional experience that feels like:
‘power within’ versus a ‘power over’.
A power within alerts you to pay attention and make some changes VERSUS a power over that sends us into a pattern of behaviour that can sit on the spectrum between ineffective busy-ness and behavioural paralysis.
You have a relationship to this experience of anxiety, whether you’re aware of it or not, and if it’s a relationship that needs shifting, you can use your brain as one of these three very powerful assets you already have within you.
So, let’s look first at this relationship to anxiety you currently have.
What do you believe about anxiety?
Is it something to avoid? Or something to welcome?
Is it something to fix? Or something to experience and learn from?
Is it something happening to you? Or is it something that is happening from within you?
You see, this emotional response of anxiety, is just that, an emotional response. It has no meaning. Zilch. Until we add meaning to it.
So, I ask you to contemplate, do you see anxiety as something to avoid or something to welcome?
BECAUSE HERE’S TWO SCENARIOS.
You have a relationship to anxiety of avoidance. A relationship that shouts frantically to run away fast.
You have a relationship to anxiety that is welcoming. By welcoming, perhaps think of it like welcoming someone into your home in this way. They knock on the door and it’s pretty inconvenient, but deep down you know they have well-meaning intentions, and that person’s visit usually leaves you feeling better with new insight, fulfilment, energy and motivation.
Right now, take a moment………What is your relationship to anxiety?
Now, I’m having a stab in the dark, that if you’re tuning in eagerly to this episode, with a title such, that it’s likely your relationship to anxiety is more aligned to Scenario 1: AVOID AT ALL COSTS. SOMETHING IS WRONG. SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH ME.
If my assumptions are accurate, let’s take a few moments to uncover your patterns of avoidance, for they give us some great insight into where we invest our energy to loosen anxiety’s stranglehold. To know what routines, habits and cognitive input we best integrate.
When we’re running away from that emotional response of anxiety, where the Sympathetic Nervous System (fight, flight, fright) is Chief, we’re in a common physiological response of:
- Tight chest
- Shallow breathing
- Heart rate explosion
- Heat spreading all over
- Feel sick
- Sweaty palms
- Cognitive function and saliva disappear
We get this physiological response to some level. We don’t like. Feels bad and wrong.
So, we normally have a pattern that we use and it’s goes one way or another.
THE FIRST WAY: We Tighten Control, Go Faster + Harder – over operate
THE SECOND Way: We go into a paralysis of sorts. Inoperative in our normal capabilities – under operate
Often our innate personality type plays a role in how we respond, as well as certain roles we fulfil in life. Nonetheless there is usually a pattern.
Let’s say you go harder, faster and tighten the grip on everything. You over-operate.
Here’s THREE likely drivers for you if you sit in over-operating:
- You have a resistant relationship to vulnerability. You may have seen as a child; signals that ‘brave and strong’ are the way you should be. You may have been born into a family where you had to be ‘brave and strong’. You may have had a school mate that was embarrassing with what she talked about, and you decided in those moments, you were not going to share about yourself like that.
- Your personality temperament may be the cautious, processing type, in which case the lens you see things through is more pessimistic and dangerous and part of your natural strengths is to ‘do’, to ‘take action’, and so this is your go to response.
- You may have been rewarded for achievement, this looks like rewards for winning, being the best at something, getting top grades, being great at sport, generally being in the top % and your worthiness has been nicely tied in to the need to achieve. But if we’re really living life in an enriching and excelling way, making the most of it, we can’t be the best at everything. But that fear of failure, and the worthiness being linked to achievement, creates an emotion of anxiety, and we busy and over-operate.
Let’s say you’re step into that other pattern, the paralysis type.
This response may be driven commonly TWO things:
- It’s very likely, that you have beliefs (and perhaps even evidence) that you’re not very disciplined, reliable, capable, perhaps even hopeless. You doubt yourself at most turns. This may come from a parent, a teacher, some wonderful human in your youth that was most likely the type that over-operated, that labelled you as ‘lazy’, ‘forgetful’, ‘hopeless’ or any number of unkind words that we’ve all most likely let slip from our mouths. Unfortunately.
- Your personality temperament may be the watching type, capable of acting, but often someone has acted before you. Perhaps you weren’t given the time you needed to act by a parent or sibling.
USE THIS BRAIN ASSET TO:
- Shine a light on what your relationship/ belief is about anxiety (bad or good, something to fix or an experience to grow).
- And then use your brain as an asset to understand how that relationship to anxiety is driving you toward certain pattern responses. Over-operation or under-operating. And take this podcast back a few minutes to identify, WHY you adopted those patterns.
YOUR SECOND ASSET IS YOUR BODY.
Once again, you have one. So this anxiety that feels out of your control, can move within your control.
Once we know what our brain believes and has us programmed to do in an experience of anxiety, we look more closely at our BODY Asset. For it’s always communicating to you, not like your brain tries to tell you in thoughts, more in symptoms and how you feel.
We know that the general stress response, that dominant Sympathetic Nervous System activation, will drive a physiological response that feels like what we call ‘anxiety’.
So, it makes sense that if we reduce as many stress triggers as possible (and I know there’s over 50), that we can actually reduce the frequency and duration of that stress response and significantly reduce the severity and impact of anxiety.
Here’s just a few things you may look toward in nourishing that second asset, the body, rather than starving it:
- Focussing on 6 handfuls of greens every day for magnesium absorption that could support the nervous system
- Consistently consuming fermented foods three times a day with meals, in a condiment size amount so that you can create B vitamins and you’re neurotransmitters like Dopamine and Serotonin are present and working in a way that drives emotional stability or exacerbates anxiety.
- Ensuring that you’re consuming foods high in B Vitamins so that nervous system and adrenal system can function well
- It may mean getting to bed earlier, so the stress hormones are balanced and your body has time to repair
- It may mean hydrating, more water or better water
- It may mean mediation, journaling
- It may mean reducing chemical exposure
- Perhaps you’re getting up too early or too late
- Perhaps you’ve forgotten how to breathe in a way that supports that precious nervous system
- Perhaps you’re surviving on adrenal spiking caffeine
The key here is in using your symptoms (aka the communication from your body) to look at what your body is screaming.
AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF HOW YOU SUPPORT YOUR FIRST TWO ASSETS (your brain and your body) WILL BE DICTATED BY YOUR THIRD ASSET. YOUR BEHAVIOURS.
ASSET #3. BEHAVIOURS.
The routines and habits you consistently adopt.
You see, this stranglehold of anxiety has more to do with what you ‘do’ consistently, your routines, than it does with a heredity gene or a past experience.
If I was to knock on your door, could I see a system or routine that brings calm versus chaos.
Do I see what you intentionally have planned for your finite time and habits.
Because the things our body needs that we outlined earlier, you’ll never magically have more time for, never, please don’t wait for time.
And the way we think will not magically change.
What you routinely do is what brings those two assets to their fullest potential.
And if there is no intentional plan to stay accountable to, your mental clutter and pressure of time, will drive a response of anxiety regardless.
All three assets matter: brain, body and behaviours.
What is happening in your brain, what does your body need, and how on earth are you set up to make that happen?
And there’s usually a gap or few somewhere in there, and you’d prefer to live life excelling toward your ambitions, and you’re ready to begin to experience that whilst feeling enriched and vital, then I really encourage you to book an Introductory Session.
I get underneath all those mental, physical, emotional and social stress triggers, and we come together for 90mins via zoom to create a plan. You then have the option to use The Whole Life Success Planner as your personal daily, weekly, monthly accountability and focus tool to ensure those behaviours are met.
You don’t have to do that, but start somewhere, for if we don’t begin somewhere, little by little, those little nicks become a big, festering sore.