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December 19, 2013

Anxiety is an energetic way we typically we feel when we are preparing for an important event in  our lives. Unfortunately it is an energy which is frequently misunderstood.

Imagine if you are giving a presentation to a mid sized to a large sized audience, chances are that you are going to be experiencing a significant degree of anxiety as the event date approaches. How you initially manage your feelings of anxiety, is determined by your beliefs and expectations regarding feeling anxious.

So if you are feeling particularly fearful in response to your anxious feelings, then it stands to reason that you will regard the energy you are experiencing with significant dread as the date approaches. What if you could see your anxiety as a good sign? What if you could see your anxiety as a sign that your body is going through the physiological changes it needs to go through in order for you to be at your very best on the day of the actual event?

If this idea sounds appealing to you, then the process of going through such a change comes from learning to accept life on life’s terms. So rather than envision your worst fears, (things that shouldn’t happen to you) adopt an attitude of hoping and praying for the best, while being prepared to learn the lesson you need to learn from the outcome of the event, regardless of how things go. With the  intent of using the lesson you learned from the event to further your growth as a person.

Understandably, not everyone who struggles with anxiety, struggles due to specific issues that he or she is aware of, often times people experience chronic forms of anxiety for reasons they struggle to explain. This is especially true for sufferers of panic attacks. I have found that when treating such people in these predicaments, they are often enmeshed with several thoughts during the day about possible scenarios of things that could go wrong. What I would usually tell such people is that their experiences with anxiety is provoked not by a specific issue, but by several issues most of which are irrational and blown out of proportion by their thoughts.

eye to eye
Imagine if say, seventy-five percent of your daily thoughts were negative? Specifically, imagine if seventy-five percent of those thoughts consisted of your dread of encountering worst case scenarios?

The process of getting to a healthier place where you able to genuinely perceive your feelings of anxiety as a good sign comes from changing your beliefs about your expectations. To put more bluntly learn to preference your expectations. It makes it easier for you to accept and cope with disappointments and learn the lesson you need to learn from it.

Working with a good Therapist, is the first step towards understanding the history of your beliefs and picking up cognitive strategies to begin practicing change.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.

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