Friday, September 11, 2015

How to Decipher and Interpret your Anxiety


There are many people in my life, who I know personally, and who I work with professionally who experience intense anxiety throughout their weeks. It makes me feel horrible for them. They tell me that they lose sleep and have trouble concentrating. It is affecting their progress in school and at work.

One common symptom that you may notice if you have a loved one with anxiety is that they will ask you several odd questions about their life. They may say things like, "do you think everything is going to be okay for me?" or "can you promise that I will be alright?" Questions like these are a major red flag for people with anxiety. People with anxiety often let their emotions and their thoughts get the best of them. They show zero control of their thoughts. And if you cannot control your thoughts, you cannot control your emotions, and you cannot control your behavior and actions. Your thoughts are the foundation for all action. Everything begins as a thought.

But what exactly is anxiety? It is a word we hear quite often.

Remember, our definition of things drives our beliefs. So what is the definition?

How about this:
Anxiety is the fear of future struggle. 

People with anxiety often worry in the present, when everything may "a-okay", that something bad may be happening to them in the near or distant future. In many ways, it is a complete distraction from the present, ignoring all the good and the blessings at hand, and choosing to worry about something that has nothing to do with the present time. Appreciating what you have and learning to practice joy and gratitude toward your blessings is a key foundation for happiness. So, having anxiety can keep you from being happy.

One important aspect of anxiety is what the individual is actually anxious about. As I said before, most anxious thoughts have nothing to do with what is happening in the present, they are often directed toward the future. So, it can be said that most anxious thoughts are totally irrational. We all know that is impossible to predict the future. To fear that struggle is going to happen in the future is no practical. Learning to focus on the present can help you keep your mind in the NOW, and decrease anxious thoughts.

Go ahead and think about the last few things you were anxious about. Did they end up happening? Chances are they did not. This is because the future will always be a mystery, and anything can happen in life. To presume that a specific struggle is going to happen can only lead to negative thoughts, emotions, and experiences.

It should also be known that struggle in life in inevitable. We ALL struggle and go through the rain at times. Struggle will never be totally absent from our lives, even the multi-billionaires with big healthy families. There is no doubt that struggle is difficult and not ideal. However, it is a pre-requisite for one of the greatest things in life: PROGRESS! Without struggle there is no progress. Think of all the times in your life that you struggled. Struggle comes into our lives to teach us something. We learn about ourselves and our lives because of the struggles we went through. And this brings progress! There is only one difference between positive thinkers and negative thinkers: positive thinkers know that pain in temporary. They fully understand that they will encounter pain and experience it. However, they KNOW that they WILL get through it, because it is temporary!

So what is the best way to get through your anxious thoughts? FAITH.

And remember how important our definitions are to your thoughts on certain topics? What is the definition of faith:

Faith is the belief that everything is going to work out and be okay.  

It is important to recognize that faith does not have to be associated with religion. Faith is not just your belief in God or a higher power. Faith is simply your belief that life with turn out okay, and you will make it through the temporary struggles.

I like to say, "Faith reminds us of the FACTS." I believe if you are an individual who is honorable, compassionate, and you have it in your heart to care of others, especially strangers, then everything in your life is going to work out for you. You will make it through ANY struggle. The higher powers of this earth will take care of you, because you have chosen to be good. Your faith will remind you of this while you experience any struggle or anticipate it.

Focus on these new definitions I have provided for you. They can help to change your way of thinking. Faith can get you out of your anxious times. Faith can remind you of the FACTS. The facts that your life is great, and you are an even greater person.

Keep the Faith, and #GrowNOW.

-Mike

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