<![CDATA[apexcounselingonline.info - Blog]]>Mon, 13 May 2024 05:28:27 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Anxiety]]>Fri, 26 Jan 2024 18:42:05 GMThttp://apexcounselingonline.info/blog/anxietyAnxiety- we all have it.  It’s part of being a human being. It’s not whether or not we “have” anxiety, it’s how we move through it, and move towards an inner balance when we experience it. What is it telling us about a situation, or about the way we perceive our experience? Often the Anxiety is perpetuated by our thoughts and feelings, and what we have come to believe about ourselves, as well as our emotional "programs" or patterns.  These patterns come up when we are faced with life’s events and challenges, which we can either perceive as good or bad. They have been our coping mechanisms, and the way we have dealt with these feelings in the past. Our beliefs feel very real, and our bodies and brains react as if they are, whether the anxiety is coming from a thought, or whether it is coming from a physical experience that we are going through in that moment. Although everyone experiences anxiety. some people experience higher levels of anxiety that can be ongoing and overpowering.  More often than not, this type of anxiety stems from the momentum of consistent, negative thinking, that continues and builds on itself. I often hear of people who are on medication for Anxiety and/or Depression. Medication has its place in supporting individuals who experience these states of being, however it may often be prescribed with the perception that it will “fix” things.  However, when the thinking patterns do not change, and there is no learning of alternate and healthier ways to work through the issues, the Anxiety and Depression persist, and often the meds increase over time in an effort to continue to level emotions. The mental/emotional turmoil can cause feelings of helplessness.  This causes the Depression to increase, because it may feel as if there are no viable solutions, which increases the feelings of helplessness. In many cases, this cycle can lead to suppressing our feelings, or denying their existence, which further amplifies the issues. When feelings are held in, covered up or denied, they eventually show up in various ways, including misdirected anger or emotions towards others, internalized anger towards ourselves, and physical illness. When we do not identify the true cause of our emotions, the tendency is to blame ourselves or others and fall into the habit of negative, spiral, thinking. This negative thinking and self-talk often leads to life circumstances that increasingly mirror the fear, which can cause the whirlwind of anxious and depressive feelings to intensify, and the self-perpetuating beliefs about one’s self to increase. 

So, what is the answer?  The first step is self-awareness. If you can be open to looking at your thinking and the stories you tell yourself, you are making a very important stride towards change. Look at the ongoing self-talk. What does yours sound like?  Can you tell a different story? It would not be wise to say something you don't believe, or to lie about what you feel; but can you direct your thinking in a slightly less negative direction, even just a little bit? Once you do this, you can continue to move up the emotional scale to better feeling thoughts. This is a powerful tool and it can be the start of recognizing that you are empowered to  shift how think and feel.  

We can only start this process when we are aware of our inner dialogue.  When you are able become aware of your negative response to a situation, take that as a win! Although this could lead to you being critical of yourself, realize instead that recognizing it is the first step! You can see that these thoughts are old programs and you noticing them is essential for change. They have been around a long time and it is not logical that they would be gone overnight. These old ways of thinking have energy and may feel more natural, even comfortable, because of the momentum they have built up in you. When we introduced a new way of thinking, a new pathway is created in the brain. The more we use that thinking pathway, the easier it gets to use. It's similar to exercising a muscle.  We do not expect to be in perfect shape after one or two workouts, and at first we may be sore and uncomfortable. However, the more we make it a part of our every day life, the easier and more natural it becomes. The more we think certain thoughts, the easier they are to think. This is true whether they are positive or negative thoughts. It is important to realize that we are not our thought programs, although it feels as if we are. We get to decide what we believe about ourselves, but it may feel uncomfortable at first. If you are aware your thoughts, you can decide what you want to think, and therefore which programs are running in your mind.  But this way…It would be similar to an outfit you are choosing to wear every day because it’s familiar and easy but it doesn’t fit anymore, and you noticed it’s out of style… Still, you know it and, after all, it’s you, right?  Only if you say so.  You can see it doesn’t fit anymore and decide to start trying some different styles that feel better when you put them on. It may not feel natural at first, but after a week or two it will feel more familiar, until it will feel odd to put the old clothes on. Remember, you wouldn’t be angry at yourself for wearing an old outfit from time to time, so don’t be angry if you fall into an old thought pattern, especially as you’re learning new ones. Just realize it’s all part of the process and the fact that you are aware of it makes you way ahead of the game. When you are aware of yourself, you can make a conscious choice to make changes in your self-talk and thinking patterns.

This is an example of a possible stream of negative self-talk: 
  • “They didn’t even look my way.  No one cares about me or about what I think or say.”

This type of inner dialogue would most likely increase anxiety/depressive feelings, as well as build negative momentum in thinking patterns, which makes negative self-talk feel like a more natural “go-to” for self-dialogue.

These are examples of slightly less negative patterns of self-talk, but something that is believable. If put into regular practice it can become a progressive movement in a better feeling direction. As this happens, the momentum picks up and it begins to feel more natural. An example with the same situation, could sound something like this:
  • “They did not say anything to me, but they are wrapped up in their own thing and I don’t need to know why.  I can focus on what feels right for me and worry less about others and what they think.”   

  • “Not everyone needs to agree with or like me, and I don’t need to worry about that.  I can have my thoughts, and others can have theirs.”

  • “I can focus on what feel right to me and think less about what others think about me

Once you get in the hang of speaking more open ended and positive thoughts, you can increase your levels of positive feelings about yourself, which will create more flow and ease in your new patterns of thinking. A belief is just a thought that you keep thinking, so be aware of what you choose to think, and know you can feel more and more empowered. Starting where you are and being good to yourself is what counts!