Anxiety is an emotion we all feel from time to time--sometimes for good reasons, and sometimes not so much. Anxiety is one of the strongest emotions we feel, and it can provide us with motivation, power, push, and drive.
Human brain has evolved uniquely for us to look at the future and review the past. Mother Nature also has provided us with a negative bias. Clearly, these adaptions have helped us survive as a species. Anxiety often comes when our brain creates images of our future that can be scary (remember our inherent negative bias).
At its worst, anxiety can be incredibly frustrating and challenging, we can experience debilitating fear, worry and nervousness. At its best, however, anxiety is an emotion that can fuel us to great success--and ultimately, even happiness--so long as we control the anxiety we feel, and don't let it control us.
Anxiety often can help us pay attention to detail and provide us energy to push through roadblocks. I always remind myself that anxiety and excitement have the same physical “symptoms”, the only difference is the thoughts we have. Change your thoughts and you can change anxiety to excitement!
Want to learn how to turn your anxiety into success? Here are 3 steps to do just that.
Step One - Pause
Naturally, the most straightforward thing to do is simply to observe your anxiety. For most of us, anxiety manifests in form of rapid heart rates, breathing and sweating. One of my students, a busy executive, sits down and writes a blessing “May I be happy and peaceful” and puts his palms over his belly and just observes his breath. This pause often interrupts our negative bias.
Step 2 - Reflect
A nurse friend of mine grabs a pad of paper and writes what is worrying her. The act of writing slows down her thinking and she is able to look at her fears with a more balanced perspective. Write the worst thing that can happen and then look at other possible outcomes. Sometimes, it helps to talk with trusted colleague, friend or family member.
Step 3 - Act
Physical activity is an important step for most of us. In many cases, I will walk out of my office and go for a walk around the block. If the weather is not favorable, I will walk up and down the staircase. Another friend likes to use the coloring book for 5-10 minutes. Dancing to your favorite relaxing music can be powerful. Many of my students like to use “Blessing Meditation” Check this link out for more details.
Be patient and kind to yourself. Gently remind yourself “This too shall pass”. The more you take time to practice these three steps Pause, Reflect and Act”, you will be able to train your brain for love, peace and joy. Send me your questions and comments!
Disclaimer: One in five Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. It's not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet one in three of those suffering receive treatment. Check your healthcare provider and local health department for resources.
a guided finger meditation
Engage your senses with soothing music, guided imagery and a labyrinth tracing activity which leverages the power of touch. Click the album cover to learn more.