Do you deal with anxiety? The majority of people do. So, what can you do about it? NOTHING! In fact, nothing is what you can do about it. I know, that doesn’t seem to make any sense does it? Let me explain what I mean by nothing. The key to solving any issue is to understand why you have it. Understanding why something happens is fundamental to applying a solution. Anxiety doesn’t happen because your mind is bored and has nothing to do. It’s quite the opposite. Your mind is doing too much. Anxiety is caused by uncertainty, and uncertainty is the number one fear for all humans. It appears our human mind doesn’t like being in the dark, literally in the dark. What’s going to happen at that big presentation next week? How am I going to make my rent next month? Those scenarios are typical for people dealing with anxiety. So now, let’s examine the first tip I just mentioned about doing nothing.
Tip #1 – NOTHING
A strategy I share with people is really a simple approach. Try using indifference to stop your mind from stressing about uncertainty. Doing nothing is not passive, it’s a strategy. Indifference is a remarkably effective tool. For example, you see a child at the mall screaming and kicking about getting ice cream. The poor Mom is embarrassed, stressed, worried that everyone is watching. She wants to end the stress, so she heads to the ice cream store and the problem is solved. Not so fast. What did she just teach the child? She reinforced that kicking and screaming gets the action desired. What do you think is going to happen on the next trip to the mall? You know exactly what’s going to happen. Let’s take a look at this approach. The Mom says, “Whatever”. She tells her child that we can head home anytime he is finished. In the meantime, she just looks indifferent, sits on the bench. So what! Whatever! Your mind is no different than that child. If you keep responding to these anxious thoughts your mind is going to keep them coming. Thoughts are calls for actions, actions that are not possible to do right now. Make sense? The rent is going to get paid just like it has every other month. Anxiety doesn’t make it happen. Just do what you have done every other month and it just works. Right now, what do you have to do about paying the rent next month? NOTHING!
Tip #2 – Breathing
An excellent strategy for anxiety is something you’re really good at. Breathing. If you’re not good at it that’s another topic. You do it every second of every minute. Now, that’s not entirely true. When someone gets anxious, they actually change their breathing. Some people even stop breathing for a few seconds and that changes the oxygen CO2 in the blood. When you reduce the oxygen levels in your body that naturally begins the process of anxiety. In most cases it’s below your conscious awareness. The goal is to get the system back in balance and the anxiety will lift. Try the 5, 6, and 7 breathing method. Here’s how it works. First, exhale all the air in your lungs. Next, breathe in through your nose for 5 seconds. Next, hold the breath for 6 seconds. Next, exhale all the air for 7 seconds. Repeat this 3 to 4 times and watch how quickly the anxiety dissipates.
Tip #3 – Become Intentional
Another great strategy is to lean into the anxiety. Examine what action your mind is calling for. Examine the thought using some reason and logic. Does the anxiety make sense, is there an action possible? I teach people in our TIPP program to examine thoughts using the following criteria. Is the thought beneficial? Is it appealing? Is it possible? Is thinking about paying next month's rent beneficial? It could be if you need to do something about it right now. If there is no action required, then the thought wasn’t beneficial. Was it appealing? Is it appealing to think about things that are not possible right now? If you notice, I keep using the words, RIGHT NOW. The only thing you can do anything about is something that’s happening right now. It’s OK to plan on paying the rent. Keep putting some of your pay aside to make sure you have money to pay the rent. If you’re doing that then you’ve planned accordingly. If not, then the anxious thought brought something to your attention. Anxiety is usually coming from predicting something is going to happen. However, if you have a plan then chances are you are on track so need for the thought. If your thoughts become predictive, like something will go wrong, then your mind will keep calling for actions and bring anxious thoughts. Having a solid plan about what to do is a good thing. When you see the plan going wrong, your mind will keep anxious thoughts coming until you take an action. Ask yourself, is the thought beneficial, appealing or possible.