Anxiety is Your Body's Response to Fear Based Thinking
Anxiety is 100% the physical response your body has to fear. Sometimes the fear stems from a real threat. If you’ve ever been bushwalking and seen a snake you would be absolutely grateful your body responds to the threat and triggers you to move to safety.
More generally in our everyday life or work-home-sleep-repeat the fear typically comes from an imagined danger. Meaning that the fear emotion is caused by our own thoughts. Things (or obsessing!) about the future and all the unknowns is what actually triggers the fear.
Your worried and fearful thoughts then spark a hormone response in your body. Your body is flushed with cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones as the fight or flight mode gets turned on. Your body thinks it needs to act on these fearful thoughts and either get you out of the situation or fight it.
The anxiety symptoms you get may differ from the woman next to you - stomach-ache, racing heart, racing mind, the shakes, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, muscle tension, insomnia etc The problem is that the body is amped up, just from what you’ve been thinking! The stress hormones have nowhere to release.
The good news in all of this is that I “thinking” got you in the situation, then our thoughts can be changed and ultimately get us out of it!
If you suffer anxiety, the key to freeing yourself is learning how to master your mind, and doing some work to heal your unconscious belief system and release that base level emotion of fear.
The flow on effect is that our body response changes!
So, if you are ready to release the fear here are my 3 steps to help you start to learn to shift your anxiety:
1. Get clear on what is real …. and what’s imagined
I bet you’ve looped around in your mind down a rabbit hole of “what if this and what if that happens” over analysing and over thinking every possible scenario of this situation GOING WRONG.
It is basically your imagination having a field day. Triggered by that first fearful worried thought. So, when the loop starts, I want you to catch yourself. Sometimes that is the hardest step. Catch the thought process before it spirals. If you can do that, you can master anything.
First things first move your body, go for a walk, get some fresh air, take some deep square breaths. Get out of the space you were in. You want to move your body and shift that flush of stress hormones. Remember the fear from your mind has just flooded your body with hormones.
Then Ask yourself: Is this a real or imagined scenario?
Am I on the “what if” loop Janel was talking about AND imagining every possible scenario going wrong, and being the worst it could ever be?
Say to yourself “This situation is not real. It is not set in stone. It has not happened. I am safe, I am safe, I am safe”
Use this like a mantra and keep repeating it until the feeling begins to lighten as you realise that this is your imagination taking you places that you do not need to go.
2. Thinking too big causes the fear
Break it down into specifics to get clear on the fear:
What am I afraid of? Slow down, and tune in.
What specifically am I anxious about?
Why is that a concern?
What are you specifically worried about in THAT concern?
How is that a problem for you right now?
What is this stopping you from doing, or causing you to do right now? Are you lashing out? Are you an emotional wreck?
And once you’ve got specific about it then get rationalise it, lets shine some reality on it!
Ask yourself “What would happen if this thing, that you now realise you’ve imagined in your mind, did actually happen?
On a scale of 1-10 how likely is it that this could actually happen.
And if it did how bad would it be? Is it really as bas as what you’ve imagined which is the sky is falling.
Sometimes our imagination has us down a rabbit hole and in reality, on the scale the event actually happening is like a 2-3, or but the fear in us triggered as a 10.
This step is all about perspective.
3. Flip the switch and shed some light on the WHY
Why is Anxiety is showing up in your life?
This may be an entirely new concept for you, and it may or may not resonate and I’m ok either way.
I’m talking about the WHY – have you ever asked yourself WHY is this fear showing up in your life? What do I need to learn?
A growth mindset says that everything we go through, every challenge every obstacle is an opportunity to learn and shift and grow.
Tad James, one of the founders on Neuro Linguistics Programming, the coaching modality that I have been professionally trained in states that :
“Anxiety is your unconscious mind telling you to focus on what you want” – this body response you are having is reminding you to stop and focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want.
So, what is your anxiety trying to tell you?
Maybe even instead of hating on your anxiety could you shift your perspective and see your anxiety as a signal from a friend within?
And when you start to feel anxious you realise this friend is asking for your attention? She wants you to wake up. She wants to work with you, there is something she wants to tell you.
So, ask her – ok friend you’ve got my attention. What am I focusing on? Am I focusing on what I want, or what I do not want?
Ask – what do I want here?
Is that toxic job or friendship or relationships not what I want? And yet I continue to keep going back?
Do I keep pushing myself to do things in situations, or for other people that I really do not want to do?
This concept may take some time to ponder, but this is what I am here for!
I am here as a Mindset Coach to stretch your conscious and unconscious thought process to help you get back to thriving.
If you prefer to watch than read - here you go!
If you struggle with Anxiety and you would like to find freedom from this grip of fear in your life, then I would love to help you.
I run a 2 session short program that will help you to identify the root cause or event that has programmed your anxiety and release it. You’ll get an understanding of the specifics of what triggers your anxiety. And you leave the session with an amazing tool – you will learn my anxiety release technique to have help you in future.