Anxiety is such a prevalent issue in our society today, for probably a number of reasons. People try various techniques for overcoming anxiety. Some might work a bit, while others fail terribly.
I've dealt with anxiety for years myself, though I've not talked about it much here. In that time, I've developed my own tools for best overcoming anxiety.
In this video, I'll be discussing the top five tools that have helped me to cope with my anxiety much more easily. I hope it can be of help to you as well.
These techniques aren't just applicable to anxiety, either. They are what I recommend to all of my spiritual coaching clients. They are the way to escape the ego traps that are so prevalent, and enter into a place of true happiness.
So, regardless of whether you experience anxiety or not, I hope that you can find something useful here.
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Hello everyone! My name is Abdullah Ibrahim Olivares, and I'm with Co-Creation Coaching. And today I am talking about something that's very, very important to me, and that is overcoming anxiety.
It's something a lot of people deal with, for a long time. It's something that I've been dealing with for years, as long as I can remember. And it's just a very important topic, because it can really get overwhelming.
And so when you have spiritual techniques that help you in overcoming anxiety, it can really make things easier. And it's not necessarily a quick fix. It's not necessarily something you can just start doing and it's all fixed, and you're cured. It's not about curing or anything like that.
It's just about dealing with what you have—working with what you have, and realizing you have the resources available to do this. You are capable of choosing how you want to feel. And that's something I emphasize with all my clients, with all the people I work with. It's a very strong tenet in NLP, is that you have the capability of feeling the way you want to feel. That is your prerogative.
So, you fully have that choice. And with anxiety when it's really, really bad, a lot of times you can feel like you don't have that choice, but you do entirely have that choice.
What I want to do today is talk about five steps that can help you in overcoming anxiety. These techniques may or may not work for you. Everyone's different. But I find they work with most people. It just depends where you are. And some of them might work and others might not. Just take or leave whatever works for you.
But I'm hoping that you can find something here that's useful for you, and that it can really start to make a dent. Because even just a little bit of openness in your anxiety can really, really make a huge, huge difference. Because it's very overwhelming sometimes. Just lessening that a little bit, giving yourself some breathing room, can be really effective—really helpful.
1. Stop Identifying with the Condition
When you identify with the condition, a lot of people will say things like, “I have anxiety.” “I have depression.” Things like that. And it's not true. Now clinically obviously it might be true, you might be clinically diagnosed with anxiety, generalized anxiety, or depression, or something like that. But as far as you as a person, you're not limited by that label. Labels can be very, very ineffective, because they box us in into a place that we don't necessarily want to be.
You might think things like, “How does an anxious person act? How does an anxious person speak? How does an anxious person think?” You're not an “anxious person.” You're a person who experiences anxiety.
And so when you are limited by this label, when you label yourself with the label of anxiety or depression, it just boxes you in. You don't have all the options you might otherwise have.
It's not empowering to you. You have complete choice, in again how you want to feel, how you want to live, what kind of life you want to have, and to say, “I am an anxious person,” or “I have anxiety,” is just not useful.
I really recommend dropping that label. Sure you can say, “I experience anxiety,” “I experience depression sometimes,” “Sometimes I feel depressed,” “Sometimes I feel anxious.” That's true for anyone. Anyone can say that about themselves. I don't know one person who can't say that. Maybe there are some people; I don't know. But I think the great majority of people, from time to time, experience anxiety or depression. Does it mean that they are anxious people or depressed people? Not necessarily.
So give yourself some openness there, and get rid of that label. That can really help you to feel a little freer.
2. Allow Yourself to Breathe
This is very useful, also. This is a quick fix, sort of. It's something easy you can do when you're out in public and you don't have time to kind of sit down and apply some of these lengthier techniques I'll talk about soon. But it's something very low profile, something you can do very quickly with people around. Just take a few deep breaths and relax.
Because your physiology is intricately linked to your mental and emotional state. Anything you're feeling physically is going to affect your mental and emotional states, and vice versa. Whatever you're feeling emotionally or experiencing mentally is going to affect your physical state.
When you start to feel anxious, you get all tensed up, your muscles start to tighten, and you start to breathe faster. If you consciously reverse that, and you start to breathe more slowly and loosen your muscles and just relax, it's going to help you to feel more relaxed internally. It's a very interesting way that this works, that the body affects us.
But if you allow yourself to do that, you can give yourself some space, literally some breathing room I guess [laughing], to be freed of that feeling of how strongly it's pressing on you. So this can really help.
Some people just take a few deep breaths. And some people will do something structured, like breathe in for 5 seconds, then hold for 5 seconds, then breathe out for 5 seconds. It's just really whatever works for you. There's no right or wrong on this. If it helps you feel relaxed, it's good. That's really all it is.
A lot of times I even forget to do this. It's something I kind of discovered recently that really, really works for me. But it's hard to remember. It's hard to remember to do this all the time, especially when it's right there [laughing].
But if you develop the habit that when the anxiety comes up, that you do this, that you start to take deep breaths and start to relax, it can really have a huge effect.
3. Don't Judge Yourself for Feeling the Way You Feel
This is a very, very important one in my opinion, because a lot of people will, when that anxiety comes up, will judge themselves. “This means that I'm weak. This means something about me as a person.”
This kind of goes back to #1, with identifying with it. “I'm anxious and therefore it means…____.” And that's a limiting belief that you have, and you have to overcome.
But when that feeling comes up, don't judge it. It's not helpful at all in overcoming anxiety, because when that anxiety comes up, or that depression or whatever it is comes up, what good does it do to judge yourself? “Oh here's the feeling, and now I'm going to judge myself, and that's the way it is.”
It gets worse. If the feeling comes up of anxiety, and, “Oh my gosh I'm feeling anxiety, and now what? What does that mean about me? And whatever…,” it gets worse! Because now you have judgment and guilt on top of all of that.
So it's not useful. When that feeling comes up, just accept it. Don't judge it. Don't judge yourself for feeling this way.
Because after this video, if you deal with this on a regular basis, it will come back up, I'm sure. It's not just a quick fix where you just do something and it's gone for life. It is something you will deal with.
So it will come up. Make that a thing that you accept about yourself. It will probably come up again.
And this is not a powerless thing. It's just something that is a fact, and if you judge what a fact is, you're really not doing anything useful for yourself.
By the time the feeling is there, it's too late. You can't do anything about it. You can't undo feeling anxious. So just let it be there and deal with it. There's no point in feeling anxious about this, and getting all worked up about this. There's no point to that. So that is something you want to try to stop doing.
When you stop judging yourself, then overcoming anxiety becomes much, much easier, because then you accept who you are. Not even who you are… like I said you're not anxiety, you're not an anxious person, but it's easier to deal with what is there, when you're not judging it, when you're not judging yourself.
4. Realize Your Thoughts Don't Necessarily Correspond with Reality
This one's really, really important, and I emphasize this so strongly with people. Because when that anxiety comes up, and you start having all these horrible, fearful thoughts—I know how it is [laughing]—it gets really overwhelming.
And you tend to believe in them. You tend to think, “Oh all these things are going to happen!” Even if logically you know they're not going to happen, it's still a fear that you have, an irrational fear, but it's still a fear.
If you just allow these thoughts. If you don't believe them. If you realize these thoughts aren't reality, they're not real, the thing that they represent aren't here happening right now, in 99% of cases. It gives you some space to realize, “Okay, this is just a feeling. This is just an internal state that I'm having. It's not reality.”
Again you don't resist it. You don't push it away. You don't judge it. You just say, “All right, this is what's happening, and it doesn't mean that all these horrible things are going to happen.”
Doing that can really be helpful in overcoming anxiety, because you're going to be hit by all these thoughts, and when you allow yourself to just kind of let them be, and we'll talk about that a little bit more in point #5, when you just allow them to be what they are, and not believe them, and not push them away, they will be processed through much more quickly.
So you don't believe them; you just kind of observe them. This is mindfulness. You just observe them, let them be what they are, and they will go.
Thoughts are fed by belief. They're fed by thinking that they are true. And so I call it starving your thoughts. Starving your negative thoughts. When you have this negative thought, and then you allow it to be there, and you don't believe it.
And not believing it doesn't mean resisting it, it just means kind of finding it interesting. “Okay there's a thought. There's a thought. There's a thought. There's a thought.” And letting them be. You don't have to do anything with them. You don't have to believe them. You don't have to touch them.
So that can be very effective. Like I said, it's one of the things I recommend the most when I'm working with people, because they don't realize this.
And a lot of people who believe in law of attraction will say, “Well if our thoughts become reality, then doesn't that mean that they do correspond with reality?” And the answer is no, it doesn't mean that. Because you would have to focus on them for a very, very long period of time, not just intermittently, not just a few minutes here and there, or even if it's longer. You'd have to focus on them for a long time.
Because you have to realize, the law of attraction responds to your inner state, and as much as the anxiety is really overwhelming, it's probably not that overwhelming 24 hours a day, or during all your waking hours. You probably have some moments where you see the light a little bit, or where you can see a more positive side to things. And that will balance things out. And it means all these bad things aren't going to happen to you.
Now if you constantly are pessimistic and you focus on the negative, then yeah things will probably start to change. But, what we have to realize is that we kind of have, I want to say, inertia on our side. If you fear something horrible happening, usually that horrible thing—just in my own case, I don't know how it is for you—usually that horrible thing is very improbable. It's usually very improbable, if you really look at it rationally. And you usually rationally don't really have a belief that it's going to happen, or you have a belief that it would be very hard for that thing to happen.
So even if you focus on this thing day in and day out, which I don't think you're doing. But even if you are, you'll see the progression of that manifestation. It will take time to get to that point. It will take time. It's not just an instant thing. You'll see things get a little worse. You might see signs of that thing. You have time to realize, “Oh hey, I'm really not focusing on a good thing here.” It's not just something that's going to show up on your doorstep one day. That's not how the law of attraction works.
So when you're overcoming anxiety, realize that these fears don't just show up. If life in general is pretty good, this horrible thing doesn't just show up, 9 times out of 10. Of course you'll see examples where that might happen, but there's a lot more behind the scenes that you might not know about.
So be comforted by that, that your thoughts aren't just going to surprise you one day, just show up on your doorstep in this horrible form. It doesn't happen like that.
5. Accept the Feeling for What It Is
This is also a very, very important step. I mentioned in the last point about accepting your own thoughts. And when you accept this feeling, it doesn't mean believing it. Again it doesn't mean there's something to be anxious about. It just means surrendering into it.
This is very counterintuitive, because when you're working on overcoming anxiety, it seems better to push against it, to push it down, to suppress it, to stop feeling it. That's actually not the case. That will actually increase it, because what you push against is going to grow.
So the best thing to do is actually to surrender to that feeling, to let it in, open the gates, open the floodgates, open the door for that feeling to come in. And yes it will be very overwhelming at first, but only for a short time, if you're really surrendering to it. Only for maybe 30 seconds or less, if you're really letting go.
And when you do that, that feeling is going to come through, let's say like a very powerful wave. It will wash over you, and it's gone. But if you try to contain that wave, it's going to really destroy you. It's going to keep coming back. But if you just let it through, and yeah maybe it hurts for 30 seconds or so, or less, but then it's done. It will be very short if you just relax into it, let it come, let it go. You don't believe it, you don't push it, you don't cling to it, you just experience it.
So again this is another misnomer with the law of attraction sometimes, is, “If I feel these emotions, then all these bad things are going to happen.” No, it's actually only if you push against these emotions, only if you make these emotions become stuck in your energy, in your internal state, that then bad things start to happen.
But when the emotion's there, like I said, it's too late. It's already there. You can't undo it. You can't unfeel it. You can't pretend it didn't happen.
So if you clamp down on it now, it's just going to get stuck. It's like if you have a hose and you pinch off part of the hose, yeah the water's stopped, but the water's still there, it's just going to build up pressure. It's still there. But if you let go, then that water comes through. That's good. You always want your energy to be flowing—your emotional energy to be flowing through.
So, surrender to that anxiety, surrender to that depression, whatever the feeling is. Let it come through—it might be a little scary—let it come through, let those thoughts be what they are like I said in point #4, observe those thoughts, don't believe them, and just surrender to the flow of it. And very, very soon it will be gone. That is the most effective thing you can do.
And these last few points, you kind of need to be sitting alone for this kind of thing to work. You can't just do it in the middle of traffic or something, or interacting with someone. Just sitting down and letting go and letting your thoughts be what they are, and surrendering to this feeling, that takes some time. It takes sort of a meditation of sorts. Take some time, take a deep breath, and let these things come through.
The most effective things hen you're in public, when your'e around people and you can't take the time, just take those deep breaths. Promise yourself, “I will return to this later. I will let this through later,” if there is no time to do it right now.
You can still do it, but a lot of times I find when I'm busy, when my mind's focused on other things, the feeling just sort of sits there in the background. Even though I'm not pushing it necessarily, it just sort of sits there in the background, until I really turn my attention to it and say, “Okay. It's time, I'm here, I'm listening to you. Do your thing.” Then it comes through, and then it starts to go away. But if you're just focused on other things, it's just going to sit there.
So you want to promise yourself some time, take some time and address that feeling. Let it be heard. Let it be processed.
That is really the best way of overcoming anxiety, is like I said, surrendering to this feeling. Taking a few minutes. Letting the thoughts be. Letting the feelings be. Letting them flow through. And you're done.
Thank you everyone and have a wonderful day!