Is anxiety meant to be bullying you? The authors believe the answer is no, because there is a better way. We all have purposes to our lives, and living with anxiety dominating is not one of them. We believe you can take charge of anxiety; gaining the freedom that is rightfully yours.
While it is a privilege to be alive in this tech age with smartphones practically glued to our hands; the fact is, people are experiencing anxiety in numbers never seen before. It is for this reason the authors are sharing new general anxiety solutions for such a time as this. With this simple and easy-to-read approach, you will learn how to feel calmer and safer. You can take charge, and have hope again for your journey ahead.
|Publisher:||Balboa Press AU|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.23(d)|
About the Author
Jennifer Marsland is an author and qualified counsellor who has worked extensively with anxious clients and has a medical background. Jennifer is married and has three adult children, and two grandchildren.
Read an Excerpt
Who would you be if you could fire anxiety?
Please take a moment to answer the question: Who would you be if you were anxiety free. .... .... .... .... .... .... ...?
Many people describe anxiety as something that holds them back from being the person they could be. In certain cultures, if people have anxiety they are even led to believe that something must be wrong; so, they carry on hiding it, trying to be positive. This false positivity comes at a cost because the unseen anxiety remains, waiting to rear its head at the most inconvenient moments.
An important point to remember : Anxiety is not stress.
Stress is part of life. It always has been and always will be. A lot has changed in society, but people have always been the same. There will always be stressors! The stressors today are very different regarding busyness and cultural demands. Today in our fast pace living there are a lot of demanding circumstances that cause excessive strains on emotional and mental resources.
Anxiety is not stress. Anxiety continues long after the stressor is gone! Particularly if the stress was not managed at the time possibly due to an underlying belief that you are not enough to deal with it. For some people, anxiety snowballs and extends beyond the current threat, merging into other areas where things aren't going right. But here is the bottom line: Anxiety only occurs when there is an imminent perceived threat to a person's psychological and social well-being.
What anxiety really is
The root of all anxiety is fear! There are two meanings of fear. The first meaning relates to a healthy fear. Healthy fear is what we instantly feel when we are facing a tangible, visible threat. When we see a danger up ahead, this fear warns us and looks after our well- being. We are familiar with healthy fear and cope well with tangible threats as we know how to manage them.
The second meaning relates to anxious fear. The Latin definition of this fear is a physical manifestation of being scared. This fear occurs when exposed to intangible perceived threats that we cannot see, but instead feel physically. This fear is sensed whenever a perceived psychological or relational threat is anticipated or when unconsciously reminded of a past one. Anxious fear can even be felt when you are not living according to your true purpose or not using your gifts in life. Anxiety can be felt also when you are lacking personal goals and direction, or even when feeling bored without a plan to reinvigorate your life. It can also occur during times of unexpected and unfamiliar change or during the loss of someone or something very important to you. Without warning, and when completely unprepared, this fear causes uninvited intrusive and racing thoughts, a rapid heart rate, dry mouth, nausea and sweating, hyperarousal, muscular tension etc. These physical manifestations of fear are anxiety in a nutshell. They make a person feel vulnerable and out of control. Nobody likes feeling this way.
Those who experience anxiety will say that they often cannot think straight when anxious. Being unable to think clearly, is not something imagined as science proves that fear makes it hard to use the logical part of the brain at that time. It is hard to think logically because chemicals are released by the brain to help you deal with the perceived threat.
Here are some common examples of intrusive anxious fear thoughts.
(fill in the blank)
What if I fail at ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
What if I panic in the next ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
I won't be good enough at ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ....... ...
What if certain people find out I have this anxiety ... ... ...
What if I am in this boring job forever ... ... ... ... ... ...
I should have it all together or ... ... ... ... ... ....... ...
I shouldn't feel ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
I am feeling so out of control that ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
I can't do ... ... ....... ... anymore
What if . ........ ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
When feeling anxious in social or other situations, what is it that you really fear ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ......?
Anxiety is fear of fear itself.
Does that mean people have to remain stuck with the unwanted anxious thoughts going round and round in the head or continuing to experience the unpleasant body sensations with no relief? A big resounding NO! As you progress through this book, you will discover solutions that will enable you to hire inner calm and fire anxiety out of your life. It is a new day; you are in charge and the power is now yours.
At the beginning of this chapter, you were asked a question: Who would you be if you could fire anxiety? You are already that person!CHAPTER 2
In the next chapter, we will uncover what the mind does when it is anxious. However, because we can feel fear before we think it, it is imperative to look at the bodily sensations (physical manifestations of fear) first. In dealing first with the body's response to the perceived threat, it enables cortical blood-flow to return to the prefrontal cortex (the reasoning centre in the brain) (1).
Our minds and bodies have been created to keep us safe and are constantly scanning for threat. If this were not the case, we would walk out in front of moving cars or take other risks because we have not scanned for potential danger. Once we have perceived a threat, powerful stress hormones energize the body to keep us safe.
How the body keeps us safe
Suppose we were to walk too close to the edge of a busy road and a car comes out of nowhere. Our bodies would instantly respond with a rapid heart rate, knot in the stomach to warn us of the danger. The point of this is: our highly charged bodily sensations tell us to quickly move and step back to safety. After getting ourselves to a safe place, we would then catch our breath, wait for our heart rate to slow down, think, "wow that was scary," name the emotion and then maybe told a few friends about the incident and how it affected us. Our friends empathize with us, and we feel heard. Then we would have gone on with our day having processed what we felt in our body.
Through this process, we learn to have a healthy respect for these sensations. The rapid heartbeat or other body sensations that occur do not continue to frighten us because we know that our bodies are doing what they are supposed to do to keep us safe. Responding with "wow that was scary" shows the compassion we have for ourselves during that dangerous time. It is this acknowledging that partly reduces stress levels after being exposed to tangible threats.
In Tangible Threat
During this time of intangible psychological perceived threat, you might feel the same alarming sensations (just like the busy road). Instead of slowing the breath and heart rate down, staying with the sensation, naming the emotion and speaking kindly to yourself, as you did with the tangible danger, these sensations frighten a person. Instead of telling someone about the experience, you may have kept it to yourself and suffered in silence. On the other hand, you might have confided in someone who tried to help you by saying something like "don't worry, you will be ok." However, the sensations remain raw and unprocessed in the body.
Having never been taught how to cope with unseen expected and unexpected threats, people make assumptions about why they didn't cope. They then can make up stories such as: "I have to hold it all together and be strong." This lack of self-compassion keeps the fear sensation raw within you and ultimately unprocessed.
Some might be so frightened of the sensation; that they abandon their true-courageous-self by doing all sorts of things to avoid facing that situation again. We are not talking here though about avoiding abusive relationships which only is common sense to stay away from. We are talking about avoiding a shopping mall, socializing, being alone or other situations where you are actually safe, but anxiety is experienced. We will discuss this more in the anxiety traps chapter. Avoiding the situation that triggered the highly charged sensations only reinforces and strengthens the fear; because the body remembers everything. An example of the body remembering would be: songs, scents, and tastes taking you right back to a place where you first experienced that memory. Do you have an example of this happening to you?
Similarly, if a weightlifter stops lifting for a while and then resumes lifting, the muscles remember. The information, stored in their muscles, helps them to resume lifting the weights again. It is called muscle memory. Muscle memory is one side of how the body remembers, but on the other hand, the body also remembers stressful events, painful experiences or disrespectful relationships had with other people. These situations, that are big or small, are hidden from conscious memory but are remembered by the body.
Last century it was discovered that memories could activate the stress response. Past situations, too painful to process, lay dormant in the body waiting for re-activation through the memory of certain sounds, words, smells or other reminders of danger. The human body is amazingly created this way to prevent us going back into harmful situations. Whenever we associate a current distressful situation with a past threat, the body feels that it is actually experiencing the original threat, when in fact, it is not. The imagination can intensify that sensation of fear in the body.
Humans crave safety, but to feel safe you have to be able to trust the fight, flight and freeze struggle the nervous system puts you through when a threat is perceived. A lot of people may not be aware that their bodies are hardwired for this kind of struggle and were never told how to cooperate when threat is perceived. It is not a life sentence; you have the opportunity to heal!
When next time you are feeling the struggle, applying some first aid to yourself will help you feel safe. At an actual accident scene, the ambulance officer gives first aid to the person by getting them to a safe place and then checking the airway. Then the officer will say "I am here, you are safe." Then the problem is rectified. People also need psychological first aid when anxious. This type of first aid enables the cortical blood- flow in the brain to go back into your prefrontal cortex (your reasoning centre). It is so you can think clearly enough to do the exercises following the first aid.
Sit up straight, shoulders back and smile.
With your feet, feel the stable ground beneath you.
Exhale as slowly as you can, as much as you need until you start to slow down.
Be compassionate and say to yourself. "This is hard, but I am here for you."
Lastly, hug yourself. The reason for this is that your brain will release calming chemicals that have natural analgesic effects. Remind yourself that you are safe right now!
The following exercises will help release the sensations from where they are stuck in your body. You will need to set aside some time to do these exercises, and may need to repeat when necessary. The best thing about these exercises, and the most imperative to remember is that you do not need to relive any events or relational interactions that trigger the sensations in you; you need to renegotiate them and then release them . What we want you to focus on here is what is going on in your body now and not what happened in the past or what might happen in the future.
Preparation for the following exercise
"Find a safe, quiet place, possibly with your spouse, counsellor or trusted friend to notice sensations you have when experiencing anxiety. Never do this exercise while driving. You were created with the incredible ability to observe what is going on in you. "It is about observing the sensations (like watching the water float by with distance between you and the water) tracking the sensations. While they seem still, there is always movement". When you step back from the sensations and notice them, you no longer get bullied by them. When you trust that manifestations of fear are only temporary and are not going to harm you, then you can notice them and cooperate with them. Every human can feel these sensations, and in feeling them, you are normal. If you can stay with those uncomfortable sensations and give them compassion and understanding, they will feel heard, and then be integrated. They will not harm you!.
Remind yourself you are in your safe place and compassionately ask yourself this question:
When I feel anxious, where in my body do I feel the physical sensations ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...?
Is it in my stomach, throat or chest or somewhere else? Then identify what is happening in that area: Is it a rapid heartbeat, tightness in chest or head, a knot or a fluttery feeling in the stomach, temperature changes, muscle tightening in the stomach, sick feeling in stomach, fast breathing, tingling or other sensations. Does it have size, colour or shape? There will be movement in the sensation.
Notice these sensations in a compassionate, objective way and let them move through naturally. You will notice that they will naturally peak, then begin to diminish and resolve. Remember, you are in a safe place, and you are in control.
When you experience good feelings (sensations), where in your body do you feel the physical sensation ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...?
Observe the sensation with a distance between you and the sensation. To find this feeling, think about something that makes you happy like sunshine on your body, being in nature, watching clouds float by in the blue sky, beautiful music or helping someone. Is that sensation felt as a warmth, an openness in the chest, relaxation of the stomach or another sensation ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...?
It is different for everybody (there will be movement with this sensation too). Observe these physical sensations and follow the changes that are occurring in the body, remember you are in control. When you locate the good sensations, you have what is called a resource, and then you can then pendulate between the anxious and the good sensations which will be explained further on.
When you feel where the good physical sensation is, you will notice that it will naturally peak, then begin to diminish and resolve. It is also true for the other unpleasant anxiety sensations. When you contact the sensation, it will begin to change, simply because that's the nature of all sensations.
Some are so caught up in the experience of anxiety that when asked where the good sensations are, it seems like it is the first time that they have stopped to realize that the good sensations are there too. It is a lightbulb moment to realize that the good sensations are the same as the anxious ones in that they are just sensations. They are sensations, but just different. Both types of bodily sensations do not harm you, and they both pass naturally.
Take all the time you need to observe what sensation you are having and where it is in your body. Try not to analyze, or explain what is happening. Just experience it knowing it will only last a short time and will not hurt you. As you stay with the sensation, it may continue to get worse, then better, as it peaks, diminishes and resolves.
It's important to realize that you can pendulate — swing back and forth — between part 1 (the anxiety sensation) and part 2 (the pleasant sensation), and this means that you're no longer stuck. If you are feeling too overwhelmed, you can always stop and start again when you are ready. Remember, you are in control and are in a safe place.
You can do these exercises anytime you feel anxious. Take yourself off to a quiet space, and feel the sensations. They will always peak, diminish and resolve. They will not harm you.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Anxiety, You're Fired!"
Copyright © 2018 Villatora and Jennifer Marsland.
Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Who would you be if you could fire anxiety?, 1,
Chapter 2 The Body, 5,
Chapter 3 Thoughts that do not shut up, 16,
Chapter 4 Anxiety traps, 29,
Chapter 5 Trapped Emotions, 41,
Chapter 6 Letting Go, 47,
Chapter 7 Trojan Horse, 52,
Chapter 8 Simplify, 57,
Chapter 9 The Seed, 63,
Chapter 10 Sleep Saboteur, 68,
Chapter 11 Wrap up, 72,