Anxiety can strike at any time, but you can always manage anxiety. It often arises when we really want something, or when we want to make a good impression. It can turn you from “confident that you can seize an opportunity” into “nervous and uncertain about your ability” in an instant. But, is there anything you can do to manage anxiety?
Do you, like me, you sometimes find yourself in a situation like this – you are cruising along, imagining that all is well and what you are about to do will work out fine, when suddenly you are attacked by anxiety? This happens at a crucial moment, just as you are about to perform, as a result uncertainty and nervousness inhibits your performance – damn! Is there anything you can do?
Happily the answer is “yes, you can manage sudden attacks of anxiety.”
Of course taking deep breaths always helps. This is because deep breathing oxygenates your blood and helps you to relax. But in this article I want to take anxiety management to a higher level – a much more effective level.
Let me say, as a life-long sufferer from anxiety, that I have not yet found a way to prevent anxiety from occurring. However, I have found an effective way of managing attacks when they happen.
You Cannot Hold Two Thoughts Simultaneously
The first point to bear in mind is that you cannot keep two thoughts in focus at the same time. For instance, you cannot think about a jam sandwich and a double-decker bus simultaneously. Try it. Your mind will switch from one to the other, but it cannot visualise both at exactly the same time. This is useful because it means that you cannot think about being anxious and being confident at the same time. So the first way to manage anxiety is to focus on an image of yourself when you are confident.
Feelings Start as Thoughts
The second point is that your feelings all start as thoughts. You have to experience or think of something sad in order to feel sad. You have to see or think of something horrific in order to feel horror. You have to hear of think of something exciting in order to feel elated. What this means is that your anxiety is always preceded by something that you are thinking about and that thought causes you to feel anxious. So, you need to change the image in your mind to an image of a successful outcome.
Simply Change Your Thought
Therefore if your feeling of anxiety started with a thought and you do not want to feel anxious, all you have to do is change your ‘anxious thought’ to a ‘confident thought’ and hold on to that confident thought.
Of course this is easier said than done because anxiety tends to get a strong hold on us once it has arisen. However, there is a powerful way to conquer anxiety.
Routines Conquer Anxiety
Routines are the answer. I learned this from watching top professionals in the public arena, like sports stars, TV personalities and politicians. I kept asking myself questions like: “how is it that one goal kicker converts 95% of his kicks whilst others miss frequently?” And, “how is it that top golfers manage to hole so many putts, even when they’re under intense pressure?” And, “how can news readers handle sudden interruptions, like urgent breaking news, when they suddenly break into their well-rehearsed bulletins?” And, “how can soldiers on patrol in war zones handle suddenly coming under attack?’
The answer is always the same. These people are professionals. They have trained themselves by rehearsing how to handle pressure by using routines. Some goal kicking routines are very obvious, you see the player going through the exact same procedure before every kick. Soldiers also go though months of training before entering combat zones. But there is no reason why you should not use similar routines to overcome sudden attacks of anxiety.
Routines That Will Help You
In my new book Create The Life You Want every chapter shows you a routine that will help you overcome the obstacles that you might encounter on the journey to becoming the person you can become. You don’t need to be hesitant or doubtful any longer. You can quickly develop your confidence to achieve anything that really matters to you. You can feel relaxed and happy all the time. All you have to do is develop routines.
My next Discover Your Passion 1-Day Workshop will take you through the first step to using your natural talents and abilities to become the person you can become. It is on Sunday 12th November.