Anxiety Equals Fear and Excitement – This post was written by Mark Lees, M.A.
Anxiety is not a bad thing at all. In fact, it’s what prevents the Tiger from eating us. When we feel in harm’s way, threatened, or even prompted to take something seriously, prepare and plan, anxiety serves as a great motivator. However, it is when we are not in a place of threat and our anxiety and or panic kicks in, then anxiety can prove to be a hindrance, distraction and debilitating enough that we cannot function as we should.
So where does our anxiety come from? For me, and so many of the clients I work with, anxiety is based in invalid fictitious thinking and quite honestly, just making it up. I tend to look for things to get anxious about and believe me I can find them. Eighty-six of Ninety-Nine thoughts we have are invalid and fictitious. This same thinking is what fuels anxiety. Anxiety also comes from future thinking, trying to plan a future that does not exist and fear of the unknown. This doesn’t mean we do not consider what we are doing next week, next month or even next year. The “event ” is 10% real, the other 90% is based on dramatic made up invalid thoughts resulting in anxiety and fear.
How does anxiety affect us? It robs us of our peace, it stops us. It messes with our sleep, our diet, our stomachs, our backs, our shoulders and our heads, our hearts, it creates disease. Not to mention unhealthy ways we may self-medicate our anxiety. Anxiety also causes emotional distress affecting our mental and emotional balance. Anxiety interferes with clarity of thought which is a barrier to focus and action. Incredible the power that our made up thinking has over us if we choose to let it. It amazes me that the symptoms of physical and emotional distress are very real, but the anxiety that caused them are based in fictitious thinking. I read once that accidents, disease, and physical distress are anxiety based 98% of the time, that’s a powerful statistic. So does this mean that Anxiety is all in our head? I say yes.
What can we do about anxiety, to relieve the symptoms? The most powerful anxiety relief I have ever prescribed for myself or anyone else is to just breathe. A simple inhale 5 counts, hold 5 counts and exhale 5 counts does wonders for immediate anxiety and panic. There are many other breathing exercises you can find at any good self-care or anxiety related Google search, even Pinterest. The best thing, besides being no cost, is that it can be done anywhere, anytime, alone or if you are in a crowded room. It lessens pain and calms you to clarity which will lead you to focus and action. Change a thought move a muscle…It is why I hike, being outdoors in nature is such a soothing way to relieve my anxiety. We all have our go to natural methods, do what works for you and do a lot of it. Another great anxiety relief tool is to question your own thinking, ask yourself “What proof do I have that the thought I am having is valid, even real?” You can be your most effective counselor.
Anxiety will always be with us, but that’s not a bad thing. It is when it controls our Peace and proves to be damaging and works against us do we then need to be proactive in managing our anxiety. We do get choices, we do have ways to manage our anxiety in healthy ways, and it does get better and very manageable.
You are where you are supposed to be. Just Breathe……
You can follow get even more great advice on living with anxiety from Mark on his Instagram page: @hikertherapysandiego