Today I'm challenging your anxiety to a dual and here’s the best news; YOU CAN'T LOSE! Recently I wrote to you about using anxiety as launch pad to move you forward by allowing yourself to feel the anxious feelings use those feelings to take action. Today I’m sharing how you can start doing the things that scare you in small steps to shift the power anxiety holds from something that holds you back to a feeling of forward motion. When you learn how to "do it afraid" you teach your brain and body you are safe. You lower the intensity of anxiety. You feel anxious less often. You love and trust yourself in a way you may have never thought possible. You can't lose!
BUT... if you fear how your body feels, you might think something is wrong and try to solve a problem that doesn't exist.
Your brain does its best work to save you by keeping you feeling anxious. It might tell you'll be abandoned or alone, you'll lose you purpose, you'll get sick or die, you'll hurt or feel something painful.
These are all programmed into your brain and your brain will come up with all kids of stories to keep you from experiencing anything your brain PERCEIVES as dangerous.
(Notice I said perceives because your brain doesn't know what is true and what is only a story.)
You avoid doing the things that make you feel anxious because the feelings in your body and the scary thoughts feel incredibly real and threatening.
Since anxiety isn’t rational, you fall into a common cycle of avoidance, reassurance, and escape. All of these things feel good in the moment but make your anxiety worse over time.
Here's what needs to happen instead. You learn to embrace the suck.
You have to be willing to be uncomfortable and anxious in order to NOT feel uncomfortable and anxious. Anxiety has to become a non-issue, or even better, a motivating factor to do what scares you. This is a simple mindset shift we practice when I work with people learning to do the things that scare them. You can start by changing the meaning you put on the feelings of fear and anxiety. Try this switch. Fear can mean
F - Forget E - Everything A - And R- Run.
F - False E -Evidence A - Appearing R - Real Fear feels like excitement in your body and the only thing that is keeping you afraid are your thoughts about a situation. By reframing thoughts and you can create feelings of motivation to do things when you're afraid instead of running away. It's simple!
Here's how you can start now.
Talk to me. I help people find the thoughts that are keeping them stuck and create new, motivating thoughts. When you do this, you move into anxiety instead of avoiding what scares you. I do this myself and I can help you too.
Make a list of your top 5 scariest scenarios: the things that feel too big and scary to do.
Rank them from scariest (5) to the least scary (1)
Choose the easiest and least scary scenario then imagine how you wantit to go. Use all of your senses as you imagine yourself being successful.
Choose to do the thing you fear. Yes, even though your body feels anxious. Even when your mind is trying to stop you. Do it afraid!
Celebrate! Do a little dance. Cheer and High 5 yourself. Tell someone - TELL ME - what you did and get that dopamine flowing!
Do it again and again and again.
This is called future pacing and it is one of my FAVORITE tools to use when I'm coaching someone. In future pacing you get to experience situations and responses in advance.
Since your brain doesn’t work with time or truth, it experiences the thoughts as the present; as if they are actually happening, even when you're snuggled in a chair.
This is why your anxious thoughts feel real and how you learn new ways to respond.
Recognizing anxious thoughts as only thoughts and learning to rephrase them as fears instead of truths makes the scary thoughts quieter, your body respond less, and you learn to trust and love yourself!