30 Mar

Most of us believe that anxiety comes from difficult circumstances.  It actually doesn't.  What the scientific data tells us is that anxiety is actually a product of the interpretation we have of our circumstances.  When we learn this, it gives us the ability we didn't know we had to overcome the anxiety that has plagued us. It comes down to knowing how to change our interpretation.  That is completely under our control, rather than the way we experience anxiety just happening to us.

Here's how it works.  You know how when you watch a movie, for a short time you forget that it's a movie and you get caught up in it, and feel all the feelings that you would have if it was happening?  You kind of forget that it isn't real, so you are all sentimental and happy for the lovers who are falling in love...  Our you are on the edge of your seat about the good guy who is being attacked by the criminals gunning for him.  

It works the same way with anxiety.  You forget that you are imagining a situation in your head, and then you feel nervous and upset about what it would be like if it were happening.  Do you notice that so many of your worries and fears start with the thought, "What if..."  "What if I don't get that promotion that I need?"  What if she doesn't like me any more?"  "What is this weird pain in my side?  What if it's cancer?"

Getting free from anxiety starts with recognizing that it is happening in your imagination.  You are directing a movie in you mind and getting caught up in it as if it were real.  Then, the next step involves changing the script.  You turn it into a movie that works out the way you want it to.  Your brain doesn't know the difference..  You can create a movie that doesn't go well and feel anxious.  Or you can create a movie that goes better and you'll feel pleased that the scenes you are imagining go so well.

These skills fall under the practice of what we call mindfulness.  Search that term on the internet and you will find so much help there.  It also reflects a tried-and-true set of skills called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT.  You can research those too, or I can help you learn them quickly.


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