Anxious thoughts and feelings are hard-wired into us to avoid danger. They are there to keep us safe. But the trouble is these days we are rarely lunch for a lion and the threat is usually no more than a threat to the ego, not life and limb! As somebody said “Your ego is not your amigo”
Have you noticed how anxious thoughts have a nasty habit of hanging around long after their usefulness has past?
We naturally try and block anxieties, or if that fails, struggle to get rid of them. This doesn’t work because what you resist persists, and anxious feelings become stronger when you focus on them. So the trick is to withdraw your attention instead. I know this is easier said than done because it involves overriding messages from the primitive part of the brain with the more evolved rational parts of the brain.
How to do this? Here are a couple of tips to help you put anxieties in their place:
1) Paradoxically, and contrary to our primitive instincts, it works better to acknowledge then ignore unhelpful anxieties. We need to embrace them with an attitude of acceptance and a dose of “So what”.
2) Deal with worries and fears like this. Imagine welcoming them, as you would latecomers interrupting a performance or presentation you are giving. Latecomers often subconsciously want attention by the way 😉 You are the host. Welcome them with “Hello. Please take a seat over there…”
I love this method as you are neither fighting anxieties, nor allowing them to interrupt whatever you are doing.
What are your tips for treating with indifference negative thoughts that are past their sell-by date? Post them below.
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