Important question - because the answer is the key to a life with much less anxiety. A life where depression doesn’t count.
It’s easy to busy ourselves with big questions like ‘what makes me happy?’. Trouble is, we rarely know the answer.
A nice car?
It doesn’t take long before these things don’t count for much. The short-term fix of happiness they produce soon runs out.
Instead, a better, more focused question to ask yourself is ‘why do I do what I do?’. If you allow yourself to stop and think about the answer it will lead to the things that create true happiness.
True happiness comes with a lot less anxiety and stress, and depression will never make the equation.
It’s estimated that we have about 60,000 thoughts a day (the thought that just come into your head is one of them).
As a high anxiety sufferer (over-thinker) you could probably add another 20,000 to that stat.
There’s only one thing that projects these thoughts into reality, and that’s feeling.
THOUGHT > DISMISS
THOUGHT > FEELING > REALITY
The reason anxiety and stress are so powerful is because they create bags of feeling generated by unwanted and unpleasant ‘what if…' thoughts (feelings like worry, apprehension, and despair).
So, rather than being dismissed, thoughts related to anxiety and stress are projected into reality.
Focus is the Key to Overcoming Unwanted Thoughts
If Steve Jobs didn’t have Apple products to invent, or Einstein didn’t focus on cracking the theory of relativity, their powerful minds would have probably struggled with excessive and unwanted thoughts too.
As a high anxiety sufferer you have a naturally creative mind - more active than the average. This gift can create an unwanted reality filled with more anxiety and stress, or, if you choose to focus on what you want, it can take you wherever you want to go.
We’re being tricked by anxiety. A day trip to the National Space Centre proved just how much.
As I sat comfortably in the cinema waiting for the film to come on a picture of stars and planets suddenly filled the dark room. (If you’ve been to the Space Centre in Leicester you’ll know the cinema isn’t just a flat screen - it’s a 360 degree screen that completely covers the ceiling.)
As the film played the stars and planets started to move backwards, which gave me the sensation that I was literally travelling through space.
It reminded me of when I used to struggle with the supermarket. I could be standing in the supermarket when all of sudden the floor would feel as though it was swallowing me up, and the aisles would close in on me (a form of agoraphobia).
Or in social situations, where I could be in the company of friends minding my own business when a panic attack would come from nowhere, consuming me and making me want to run to the nearest exit (social anxiety).
Why Anxiety is Tricking Us
Going back to the cinema - it was the film that tricked my mind into thinking I was travelling through space. Anxiety does the same thing. It tricks your mind into believing things are happening that aren’t real.
The supermarket floor isn’t swallowing you up.
The aisles aren’t closing in on you.
Uncomfortable social environments are all made up in the mind.
It’s only when I became more comfortable with my environment I was able to stop allowing anxiety to trick me. With time and practice it stopped trying (it probably got bored), and the fear of the supermarket (agoraphobia) and social anxiety became a distant memory.
When anxiety tries it’s trickery on me now (it does with everyone) I’m well placed to know it’s all just a con.
I couldn't leave my house for months. I'd get to the front door and fear would consume me.
'What if' irrational thoughts controlled by high anxiety prevented me from seeing the truth - that I was placing my chips in the wrong box.
Agoraphobia is driven by the fear of leaving your comfort zone (normally your home), and what will happen to you if you do.
99.99% of the time nothing happens.
If you knew you had a 99.99% chance of winning at the roulette table, my guess is you'd spend a lot of time at the casino!
If you're agoraphobic, you have to ask yourself why you're consistently backing the wrong horse. Those tiny odds are stacked heavily against you.
The safe bet is opening the door.
Anxiety is biting and you need a solution, fast.
You jump on the computer and start searching Google for a quick fix. It doesn’t exist, but that doesn’t stop websites offering you one.
Before you punch in your card details I want you to take a step back and ask yourself: Is this person / company / website wanting to help me, or just wanting to take my money?
The seduction of money means that there won’t ever be a shortage of cowboys waiting to prey on the vulnerable, and the only way we’re going to get rid of these unscrupulous companies is to stop giving them money.
Don’t waste your time or money
The easiest way to save your time and money when looking for a solution for anxiety is to avoid methods and websites that immediately sell to you, usually using hard or hidden sales techniques to get you to buy their product.
They’re not always obvious, but some of the things to look out for include:
- A method offering a quick fix, elimination, or cure (they don’t exist).
- Methods offering high-priced products such as CD’s and DVD’s (they’re more interested in your money than they are in helping you).
- Celebrity endorsements (usually they’ve been paid to endorse the product).
- Money back guarantees (you expect a money back guarantee on a dishwasher - not your state of mind!).
- Old and tired methods that don’t work (like Distraction).
The truth is, you don’t need any of the above. You just need answers.
Getting answers, allowing them to sink in, and putting them in to practice will take a little longer than you want, but it’s well worth the wait. Don’t allow the fear that made you jump on the computer control your actions - it’s allowing the cowboys to flourish, and your self-esteem to plummet.
Be strong and patient - it’s the difference between quick fixes that don’t work, and lifetime change.
The best way to connect with Carl and join the discussion is on his Facebook page