Today I want to share a thing with you for which I wasn’t an exception either.
I used to have random anxiety attacks for no reason.
You might have read tons of philosophy on feeling anxious, its origin and effects on your life.
But believe me, going deep into how the brain produces anxiety is of no use if you want to overcome it and stay healthy and robust.
I often say that it is all in your head.
Where is the danger?
Does it feel like you are dying?
Does death really come?
Do you feel suffocation?
Do you really suffocate?
Do you feel like fainting?
Do you actually faint?
Still you are you are scared of all these things and many other things.
What is the thing that is messing with you?
If you take a closer look you will understand that it is your thoughts and beliefs that are actually inviting distress in your life.
That’s why it is said that – “It’s all in your head.”
Take an example,
Suppose you are an anxiety sufferer and you always panic. You have palpitations every now and then. You are always scared that it should not be a heart attack.
You panic and say – Maybe this time it is a heart attack!
Now, you might be surrounded by old people in your friends and family who might have blood pressure and other heart conditions. They might be under treatment for those things.
You are scared that you may have a heart attack. Why will you have a heart attack instead of the oldies who are having high blood pressure and heart conditions?
If heart attacks are going to happen they will happen to them first. In fact, they know it. If you ask them they will admit that they have heart and blood pressure problems and they are susceptible to heart attacks in the extreme case.
What is the reason they don’t fear the same way you do?
It sounds weird that healthy individuals fear heart attacks more than the deceased ones do!
It sounds weirder that individuals without heart blockages are concerned about heart attacks more than the ones who actually have heart blockages!
Same was the case with me. I wasn’t an exception either!
When I examined thoughts closely I found out what was my part in the anxiety that I was suffering.
Here are the 3 Thinking Mistakes that Keep you Feeling Anxious
1. You see everything through the anxious mind frame
When you say I am feeling anxious, you unconsciously admit there is some problem happening with you. This affirmation does not have to be a verbalization.
Thoughts pass through your consciousness without you noticing them. Surely, they are on the perception level and there is no verbalization of them. You don’t notice what you are thinking. We call it pre-conscious thoughts.
When you are feeling anxious you see everything in a negative fashion in that mode. You see catastrophe in everything.
If you are feeling anxious and you are going somewhere driving a car, you are scared of an accident.
If you ate at some roadside eatable, you feel that you might get diarrhea or vomiting because of that!
If you have parked your bike in an unknown place, you are always worried that it should not get stolen!
2.You find evidence for the bad outcomes when you are feeling anxious
When you are edgy you are pretty sure that something dangerous is going to happen and you will be a victim of it.
You strive to find the evidence to prove what you are feeling or predicting is true. No doubt you find them but they are distorted because they are not found be a normal mind. They have been found by an anxious and edgy mind.
You often have palpitations and chest pain when you are feeling anxious. You find the evidence that you are having these symptoms because of a blockage in your heart artery. You find that conclusion on your own and start believing it. So according to you, palpitation and chest pain are the evidence of heart blockage.
One of the symptoms of feeling anxious is feeling lightheadedness and dizzy. You come to the conclusion that it surely has to be a brain tumor that is making you feel like that. So, the brain tumor is your self-diagnosis and dizziness and lightheadedness are your evidence for the brain tumor.
But the sad news is that none of your diagnoses are correct because it is simply a cognitive distortion!
3. You think to the two extremes – commonly called as polarized thinking
.You have been feeling anxious for a long time now and you are fed up with feeling like this. The result of this is that you are desperately finding ways to get rid of these feelings.
No wonder you often say – “I don’t think like that, it happens automatically.”
You are in the agony saying that “I want to get rid of feeling anxious right now.”
You may be annoyed by the fact that nobody knows how to help you get out of all this.
So finally, you are seeing only two options in front of you. They are- Either keep suffering or get cured of it without a pinch of anxiety in your life!
These are the two extreme ends of your tyrannical expectation.
You get upset about everything and say – “Let it be, let me suffer. It is my destiny.”
You want to be either anxious or you want to be completely free of all anxiety!
If you look closely this expectation does not let you live peacefully. It invites more distress in your daily living and drains your productive energy which is really important to carry your work and chase your dreams.
I also went through the same situation until I finally realized that rushing towards both these ends is not at all beneficial.
I had to find a middle path.
I read Dr. David Burns’s work and Dr. David Carbonell’s work and realized that it is necessary to learn to live with anxiety.
It is not associated with pain. It does not mean that you need to live with panic attacks every day. It refers to taking certain steps to handle and reduce your anxiety with proper self-help techniques developed by psychotherapists.