No-one likes to feel out of control yet this is how millions of Americans feel each day when experiencing anxiety.
For you, maybe anxiety appears as an intense feeling of panic or doom or maybe you experience it as a more constant underlying feeling of unease of ‘something’s wrong’ in your day to day life?
Either way, anxiety is a very persuasive emotion which stops you leading the life you deserve – free of panic, unease and fear.
Fortunately though, we can get back to living life to the full again – and to taking back full control.
The anxiety cycle
Here’s the thing:
As human beings we have learned how to think over tens of thousands of years, but now it would appear we don’t know how to stop thinking – and it is this incessant, life denying thinking that is causing havoc on our emotions, bodies and ultimately on our lives.
Most people don’t realise that we have tens of thousands of thoughts a day – most of which are negative and repetitive. Every one of those thoughts is one hundred per cent energy which creates emotion such as anxiety.
Emotion, like thought, carries an energy field – and this energy field then flows back to your mind. It is then that ‘anxiety’ is in control and the thoughts you then think are actually reflections of the anxiety.
So not only have the thoughts created the anxiety in the first place, but they are now propelling it.
The great thing is though, they are not ‘your’ thoughts as such, they are not the truth. They are thoughts corresponding to the persuasive power of anxiety. To realise this is literally life changing.
The cycle therefore goes:
Thought = emotion (anxiety) = more anxiety = more anxious thoughts (powered by anxiety).
And so it goes on
A powerful quote by the famous spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle is: “Be aware of thoughts that try and justify or explain the situation but in reality cause it”. This sums this cycle up perfectly.
Taking back control
One of the most transformational practices you can learn when overcoming anxiety is therefore to sever the link between emotion and thought – to break the cycle.
3 steps to doing this:
- Notice. Notice what’s going on. Remind yourself of the cycle and move from ‘thinking’ to ‘awareness’. Remember they are simply thoughts of anxiety.
- Choose. Choose not to let the emotion rise up to your mind. Choose to not get on board with the thoughts that correspond to the emotion. Remember they are the thoughts of anxiety, they are not the truth.
- Be present. To help with the above, take your attention into the body. Feel your feet on the ground, feel your bum against the seat. This moves attention away from the mind.
Severing the link is SO powerful yet so simple – simple but not easy, as you are changing potentially years of habit. In time, these old patterns and thoughts will loosen their grip and fall away and you will literally change neural pathways.
By practicing the above, you will not only break the cycle as it kicks in, but by making it your every day task to observe these thought patterns and shine awareness on them, you will prevent anxiety in the first place.
On a spiritual level, you will create more gaps – gaps in the stream of thinking, gaps of ‘no-mind’ as it is referred to in the Far East.
With practice, these gaps will increase and you can be free of anxiety – and you will open up room for peace, ease and more joy to come in.
This is the catalyst for spiritual transformation and you will take back control.