Stop Anxiety? Learn What Anxiety Recovery Actually Is

help stop anxietyA general misconception in anxiety recovery is the idea that we can somehow stop anxiety.  We cannot stop anxiety.  Anxiety is ignited by a single thought.  We cannot stop, prevent or control the thoughts we have.  Having something reminds you of your triggers will absolutely create a thought.

So if we can’t stop anxiety, then what is a recovery?

We cannot stop anxiety or the initial thought of anxiety, but we do have the ability to manage additional thoughts.  Having the initial thought in itself does not cause us suffering.  Suffering comes from all the additional thoughts that continue after the initial thought.

Recovery is learning to have a thought and then interrupting the anxious behavior by redirecting our thoughts away from the anxiety.  Recovery is essentially learning to look away from the fear.

So what we need to do is allow the anxiety to be, its ok to be left alone, and put our attention and focus elsewhere. To do this we use tools & techniques (Point #4 – Employ).

The interesting about the “mental” tools is that they are most effective when we create a byproduct.  Counting backward for example, we take a high number and subtract one to give us the new number.  This process interrupts our thinking and creates “space” within your thoughts.  This space is actually where recovery is created.

Likewise, for the “physical” tools they work well when they are shocking to your senses.  I often suggest gums or mints, but I always recommend that they are flavors that you do not like.  What we are trying to do is engage your senses.  Shock your senses.  By doing this it will be more effective at interrupting your thoughts process.

I challenge anyone that is suffering from higher levels of anxiety to hold an ice cube on your arm and let it melt, and tell me that the anxiety still exists.  It cants! The anxious thinking will absolutely be interrupted and the levels will subside.  Now the anxiety may come back, as we direct our attention away from the ice cube melting and refocus back on the anxiety, the anxiety will rise back up.

So even though we did not actually stop anxiety, we redirected our thoughts that allowed the anxiety to dissipate.  Doing this over and over again is how anxiety recovery is created.

The magic of the tools is to create the space and allow for reconditioning of our thought process.  And teach us not to be afraid of the anxiety so much.  And ultimately allow us to look away from the anxiety.  And feel empowered that if (when) it comes back we will be able to handle it more easily.  This is what recovery is.

It was also reported years ago that if a person reads out loud, they cannot have anxiety.  This is the same idea of the tools.  Our minds do not have the capacity to read out loud and feel anxiety at the same time.

By managing our thoughts and learning to look away from anxiety, recovery is created.

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