Where’s does your anxiety come from?
Anxiety is without a doubt a very debilitating condition for some people. It affects a huge part of their lives and causes much anguish and mental pain. But why doesn’t everyone experience the same levels of anxiety? Why do some people appear to sail through life without a care in the world?
It all begins with your story…
After many years of working with clients that suffer from anxiety, I realise that we all have a story to tell, the story of our lives, which we base our reality on.
Just like an autobiography, you add to your story as your life unfolds. Things, experiences and events happen to you both good and bad, and you add them to your story. It becomes the story of you.
Why is this story important?
Your story helps you to remember what has happened to you in the past, and, if like most of us you feel compelled to try and learn from those memories, you try to keep yourself safe by trying to predict what might happen in the future. A great idea you might think, apart from the fact that you never can be certain what will happen and what won’t.
Sadly, you seem to ignore that fact and cause yourself all sorts of imaginary problems that might or might not happen, trying to insulate yourself from the things you fear happening – the result is anxiety.
So what is your story made of?
Your story is formed little by little as you grow up and experience the world, and each and every experience is added to your story. Some of your experiences are coded as good, some as bad and some aren’t seen as either good or bad, they are just neutral experiences. Many of these experiences are kept hidden away in your subconscious mind, popping up when something triggers them as if by magic, long forgotten or so you thought.
Your story changes…
As you grow so your story changes. Things that seemed important or significant when you were six years old no longer have the same effect on you when you’re twelve years old, and so on as you age. So your story changes with age and experience. You learn what is good, what is bad, what is safe and what is dangerous.
Some of these life experiences develop into beliefs, and these beliefs, both good and bad determine how you react to different situations. There is a problem though, many of your beliefs run in the background out of your awareness and are therefore out of your control as to when and how they affect you.
What is a belief?
Think of beliefs as thoughts that occur so frequently that you don’t even question them.
For instance, I have a belief that I can tie my shoelaces. I don’t need to wonder if I can tie them, I just know that I can simply because I have done it so many times. It is an unquestioned thought, operating out of my awareness.
How does knowing about stories and beliefs help us?
Your story and your beliefs run silently in the background, waiting for the appropriate time, (or most inappropriate time), to pop up and intervene to try and keep you safe. They are the filters you see life through.
Confused, let me try to explain…
Just imagine you are wearing a pair of rose coloured glasses.
Everything you see is now tinted a rosy red.
The sky isn’t the same colour blue anymore, it is tinged with a rosy hue, white shirts are now pink, and so it goes on.
Everything is seen as different from what it really is. Your reality, your view of the world has changed simply because you are looking at life through a coloured filter.
But it is not true reality, just your current experience of it, put on a different coloured pair of glasses and it changes again.
And anxiety can be seen as a filter too…
Anxiety is just like those rose-tinted glasses.
Except life isn’t seen a rosy.
Life is seen as a place of doubt and uncertainty, a place to be wary of. But this isn’t really how the world is. It can’t be because other people experience the world differently to you. Each experience you have is unique to you. It’s just one possible reality out of many, based wholly on your story.
Some people see life differently…
People who are confident and sure of themselves look at their world through different lenses and see a different reality, a world where they can do anything they set their sights on. And if it doesn’t work out the way they wished they simply put it down to experience and try something different.
They simply add the experience to their story and carry on, trying new things and different ways to achieve their goals, because that’s the way they see life. That is their reality based on their story.
Can you change your story?
You can’t change the past, that is gone and what has happened has happened.
What you can do is start to become aware of the thoughts that are triggering your anxiety.
Become aware of the content of those thoughts, examine them to see if there is any truth in them.
Start to uncover the negative beliefs you have and see them for what they really are – just your thoughts viewed through your lens. They are not a prediction of the future.
What is the likelihood of your anxious thoughts becoming true?
Most of the things we fear happening don’t happen, or if they do they are never as bad as we imagined. And imagine is the keyword here, it is our imagination running riot that causes us to feel anxious, and all this anxious thinking is based on the content of the stories we tell ourselves.
Your stories are your history. What happened in the past is not, in most cases, something we can use to accurately predict what might happen in the future.
What would happen if you could write the next chapter of your story looking through different lenses?
You can’t change the past, but you can see it differently…
You can take off your anxiety glasses and see your story, your life and your experiences for what they really are. There is nothing stopping you from doing that, except for the belief that it is difficult or impossible to do. And we already know that a belief is just a thought that you accept as true simply because you have had it so often that you don’t question it.
As you begin to see your life differently you write the next chapter of your story with a different mindset.
You see yourself and your story in a new light…
You see it as the way you were, and not the way you are now. There is a new version of your story.
Your story evolves and so does the way you see what is really happening to you and the world around you.
Your version of reality changes.
You are not your story…
Your story is always changing and the way that you currently see yourself can easily change with just a little practice. But isn’t that hard to do?
Sometimes we just need a little help…
You can read books about dissolving your anxiety and being more confident. You can learn all sorts of tricks and techniques, but that is the hard way, constantly being on guard, on edge, deploying your coping mechanism. Or you can see your story for what it is, a story.
You can try to change by yourself, and for some people that works, but sometimes you may just need a guide, and that’s what I do.
I point people in the right direction. I help them to realise how and what they are doing to themselves because no one is doing it to you. I can help you to find the way that is right for you to write the next chapter of your story.
If you want to have a chat to see if I could point you in the right direction please feel free to call me on 07810 877158 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Who knows by calling me you could be starting to write the next chapter of your story…