Let's talk about anxiety ... and how to get rid of it. Fast!
Updated: Dec 3, 2019
Let’s talk about anxiety.
What is it?
What causes it?
How do you get rid of it?
What is anxiety?
Putting it into everyday language, anxiety is an imagined response to something that hasn’t happened yet. The thought of something, the anticipation, the worry … that’s an imagined response.
OK, I hear you say – “but what about when I’m IN a situation? That’s not imagined, it’s actually happening to me”. Well, no it’s not. If you’re swimming in the ocean and you’re experiencing anxiety and panic attacks about sharks, it’s possibly with good reason, but you’re still alive. If you are with a group of strangers at an event and you experience anxiety in the thick of it all – yes, you’re there … but the anxiety you feel (about being out of place, about people’s perception of you, about saying the wrong thing) is for something that hasn’t happened yet. Sure, you may see people looking at you – but your anxiety is what’s deciphering (imagining) what they’re thinking.
What causes it?
This may be hard to believe, but anxiety has a positive intention. It’s your friend. It’s just a pretty weird friend. Your ego, your mind, your subconscious (whatever term you prefer to use) is generating your anxiety to keep you safe. Yup, believe it or not, it loves you more than your mother does :-)
You see, if your mind perceives a threat (real or imagined) it will generate a feeling of anxiety, panic, fear (or all of those) because by doing that – there’s a good chance you won’t enter that (again, perceived) risky environment. In other words, if you’re scared shitless about doing something – it’s likely you won’t do it … and therefore, you’re ‘safe’. Chalk up a point to your mind for saving you.
So, what originally causes it?
Well there are several reasons, but in my experience, working with clients, it’s usually one of two things.
1. Once upon a time you were in a situation and it didn’t end well. (You may have been embarrassed, hurt, judged, injured etc), therefore, you may have developed a sense of anxiety around that situation so you don’t experience that again.
2. Someone else’s beliefs. As a child, your mum may have said, “don’t go near the water, you could drown”, or someone may have said “don’t trust beautiful women, they’ll steal your husband”. None of these things would have been said to generate anxiety, they would have all been well-meaning, but your sub-conscious has no concept of humour, timing or tone so can grab it as a belief that will start from that moment, or surface later in life for no reason.
How do you get rid of it?
In most cases, that’s easier than you think. Your mind grabbed hold of that anxiety quickly – so it can release it just as quick. Think of your mind as a big filing cabinet and under each situation there’s a response filed under it. For example, you see your partner, the filed, automatic response if to feel happy, feel love (or maybe feel shitty if they forgot your birthday haha).
Likewise, situations such as public speaking, swimming, talking in a crowd, starting something new, learning to drive, job interviews, animals … anything at all, also have their own filed responses.
So, what can NLP do? Well, we use a range of really simple techniques to literally empty out the filing cabinet and restore it to a state of calm. We give your mind a new way of responding and the techniques we use make these your new reality. You don’t need to ‘try’ to do it, you don’t need to practice … it just happens and your mind no longer reverts to the old state (unless you really want it to).
Your mind works with pictures (for example, when you’re experiencing anxiety, the thoughts that go through your mind are visualisations, you have a movie in your mind, you ‘see’ what could happen and that in turn makes the fear, and the threat, real.
Obviously, this is a very simplified overview, but this is the experience I’ve gained through guiding clients to release their anxiety.
So, in conclusion, anxiety is your mind’s way of keeping you safe. When you introduce NLP techniques, you release the concept of that particular threat and you take your sub-conscious, ego or inner self out of the driver’s seat and let it enjoy the ride and the beautiful new view from the passenger seat with a delicious vanilla latte in hand...
You don’t want to delete it all together - you need it. Your ego is what stops you stepping out onto a busy road, it’s what stops you putting your hand on the stove and it’s what makes you immediately jump when you hear a loud noise. It serves an essential purpose … but sometimes, in regards to anxiety, it just overdoes it.
Think how life will be for you when anxiety becomes simply a word instead of part of your life.
Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming
Master Practitioner of Time Line Therapy®
Master Practitioner of Clinical Hypnotherapy
Master Practitioner of Life Coaching
Partnering with individuals and organisations wanting the absolute best out of themselves and the people they lead.