Anxiety, like all other emotions, is important and useful. But fear is meant to be a short-term alarm system and not a long-term emotion. Many people are in a state of constant tension and concern. If you take a closer look, you ll see, that tension and concern are a form of anxiety. When I talk to people in my practice about anxiety, I hear such things as: "I have to look closely at my fears and then fight them". And in the behavioral therapy seminars I was taught to look for the triggers of fear, to gradually get people used to their fear, by exposing them to the so-called "fear-triggering stimulus" until the fear becomes less. Certainly, it works. For this specific fear it does. The question is: does a deep-rooted, fundamental anxiety exist in people? Could it be, that the fear will than just shift to other areas? In my opinion it is worth to take a closer look, from a different perspective: You could say in general: Wherever I focus with my attention, I create something. It is not possible to focus my attention on something in order to reduce or take away something. Additional attention adds more to it and cannot take away. So if I pay attention to my anxiety I may gain more understanding about the anxiety, but with other words I am adding to the general topic of anxiety, rather than reducing it. Our brain just works that way. Do you know the short self-test with the lemon? No? It works like this: Please close your eyes. Now say to yourself: "I'm not seeing a yellow lemon". What happened? Right. You saw a yellow lemon. Now if you say to yourself instead: "I see a pink elephant", then you will not see a yellow lemon, but: Tata! There he is the pink elephant. Now, what has an pink elephant and a yellow lemon to do with anxiety? Let’s substitute for the elephant trust and for the lemon anxiety. If I am in a inner state of trust, anxiety will be reduced. Trust neutralizes worries, fear, anxiety, tension and instead I will feel relaxed. If I practice this over and over again, the synapses in my brain that are related to trust, will become stronger and stronger. There are different forms of trust: Confidence, the believe that everything will be fine, trust in other people, trust in a higher power, trust in nature, trust in a system. So next time when you think: "This person has disappointed me, I don’t trust in people anymore" - think again! You are not hurting them, You are just harming yourself! You just wide opened the door and invited anxiety in. Anxiety is of course now planning to stay, after that friendly invite. Anxiety actually is planning to become the boss of your "inner team". But, do you remember, what I said in the beginning? Anxiety has the job to be a short-term "emergency messenger". Anxiety is not meant to stay for long. So, I think, it is not only worth it, but essential to work on yourself, to strengthen your trust. Build up your trust-muscle and protect yourself from anxiety. Focus on the trust, put your attention there! What is helpful for you to strengthen your trust? Please share your ideas and experiences with me. I look forward to hearing from you.
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