My friend Clagary Avansino from British VOGUE asked me if I would write an article for her new website about how to Let Go of Anxiety. It was a real honour and a pleasure to write this article for her. As anxiety is a feeling, created by a thought, I truly believe we can head into 'calm' no matter what is going down, and here are my top tips on how to do exactly that, today in my article for Clagary.
Anxiety is something you can control...
1. Retreat & Retract. Sometimes we can become obsessed with a thought that creates worry and anxiety. It can take up so much mental space, drain your energy and ultimately take you out of your present moment, stopping you from enjoying your day. Since this is usually just mind-made thoughts creating negativity, it’s really important to retreat and retract. In other words take a moment to chill it out. Take yourself out of your office and go for a short walk, or grab a coffee and just retreat. Then take a moment to stop, breathe and calm yourself down by remind yourself that is your choice to feel this way and that this is not the best choice of feeling for the rest of the day.
2. Check your thoughts. Anxiety is a feeling being created simply and solely from your thoughts. Thoughts pop into our minds all the time and it’s good to be reminded that actually, we have a lot more control of the thoughts that we choose than we realise. The only reason you are feeling this way is because you are thinking in a ‘catastrophic’ way in other words is negative! Slow down your thought process and work out what thoughts are serving you right now and what thoughts are not. In other words if you are thinking ‘I cannot believe my email system is down and I now I cannot do ANYTHING, what will my clients think of me’ this will be creating a lot of negative feelings. Instead start to question that thought, ask yourself is this thought serving me or making me feel bad? If it is the latter then question the hell out of it and start thinking about your situation in a more positive way for example ‘my emails will work again and right now I am doing my best within the current situation!’
3. Your thoughts are not facts. Us humans really do believe that what we think is always a fact. The truth is when we believe that every thought we have is true, we open ourselves up to a whole world of pain and stress. If a thought comes into your mind that 'you're not good enough' and you believe it, it can trigger a tonne of other negative thoughts and feelings around this. However this is an un-managed mind. We have to learn to become mindful and recognise that our thoughts are not facts, and in turn we find a lot more peace. Allow these thoughts to float in and then out of your mind, and remember they are just thoughts.
4. Anxiety is a feeling and you are in control! Anxiety is simply a feeling created by a negative thought process. Ultimately we get to choose how we feel. Choosing Anxiety is not ideal on any day so its time to start deciding how you do want to feel and then work your mind around how you are going to get there. Feelings are simply just a feeling. They cannot hurt you unless you sit in the negative all day without wanting to change it. Choose a different feeling like ‘calm’ and then get your head right. How can I think about this in order to feel ‘calmer’? Then question yourself. Remember this is massive growth for you so go gently. But don’t sit there thinking ‘I cant do this’. You can. Now go question!
5. Have a chat with yourself. A great exercise to try now is to write down your anxious thoughts or worries in a notepad. Then imagine your friend is telling you this is how she feels. How would you answer her back? What would you say to her from the point of view of being a caring, rational and loving friend. What For example, if your thought is 'I am freaking out about going out on this date later, what if it is just awful’ you could respond to the thought with ‘This is only dinner with a boy! He could be a really interesting person and it might be a really enjoyable evening whether there is romance there or not. He might even be more scared than you!’. Following through on your thoughts make them less scary
6. It's only adrenaline! Many feelings we choose also result in physical symptoms. When we choose anxiety we are creating many uncomfortable physical symptoms like feeling jittery, palpitations, sweaty palm etc., you are literally creating your own adrenaline. Your mind is powerful and you are letting it set off a roller coaster in your own body! Your body thinks it needs to fight, or flight (run away from danger) so it starts to produce a physical reaction. Although adrenaline feels scary, it can’t really hurt you. So next time you experience those weird feeling symptoms, remember, it's just adrenaline and you calm it down by calming down your mind.
7. Talk to someone. Anxiety can feel very isolating when you believe you're alone in what you're going through and that you are the only one in the world that feels like this. The truth is that anxiety is actually very common. It is something that you do not have to live with and something that you can change. It’s really important to open up to friends and loved ones about your thoughts and feelings as talking about things can help you to feel better right away and get you seeing things with a clearer and more realistic, truthful perspective. There is also so much information on the internet discussing anxiety so you can always take a moment to read a few blogs or articles on anxiety or even check out some online forums. Just remember this; anxiety is totally your choice. Choose a different thought and get a different feeling. Work on it and see how this changes for you. It’s guaranteed.
See the full article here