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How I Attack Anxiety

February 24, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“Nothing can stop me now cause I just don’t care anymore.” Trent Reznor, Piggy

I can’t tell you what Trent Reznor had in mind when he wrote this line from Piggy but I can tell you what it means for me. It has to do with how you define the words “don’t care anymore.” For me, in this context “don’t care” does not mean “of little importance,” rather it is an indicator of how I feel about myself. I care about family, friends, beliefs and ideas. But none of these stop me from doing anything or prevent me from being the kind of person I intend to be.

Don’t Care What Others Think

The kind of caring that does stop me from pursuing my dreams is when I care too much about the opinions of other people. So, in my mind, Trent’s line would read, “nothing can stop me now cause I just don’t care what people think anymore.”

So, you may ask, what does this have to do with anxiety? And I respond, “Everything!” Anxiety is largely a disabling disorder that prevents many of us from doing our dream because of fear—fear of rejection, fear of humiliation, fear of failure. And all of these fears are predicated on the feedback of others, and is then exacerbated by the value we allow the opinions of others to have on our self-image.

The Unfortunate Impacts of Anxiety

I think I have most likely battled with anxiety most of my life. But, in the last ten or so years anxiety has driven me to retire early, quit public speaking, and ultimately to resign my executive coaching program. The physical effects have ranged from full-blown panic attacks to a slight, but unpredictable, stutter.

For the last three years, and most especially in the past few months, I have discovered a handful of mental exercises that have successfully helped reduce many of my anxiety issues. I would have never thought it was even possible, but it is surprisingly… can I say simple?

[Before I reveal the few thought processes I have used to battle or attack my anxiety I think it is important to mention the importance of the biochemical aspects of the disorder. If you suffer from acute anxiety disorder you may be in need of some medication, not to necessarily to suppress your anxiety but to insure the chemicals in your brain are doing what they are supposed to do. That’s between you and your doctor.]

Alter Your Thinking

Three mental exercises have seriously impacted the effects of anxiety on my life.

  1. Genuinely discover a way to love and respect yourself.

You are uniquely talented and gifted and yet you go about your daily life comparing yourself to others you consider more successful. What if you were to list the significant ways you have impacted others—family, friends and colleagues? I know many feel you have accomplished little impact, but that is untrue. Of all people it is crucial to love yourself first and respect what you done for the benefit of yourself and those you love.

Self-love may be one of the most difficult of all challenges you face but if you approach that challenge with confidence and caring you will be surprised at the outcome. If you succeed the result will be shocking. Other’s opinions mean far less when you are confident in your own innate and earned value you bring to this world.

  1. Reframe and transform your story of a haunted past.

I had a childhood that I have, for the most of my life, viewed as one of rejection, abandonment and humiliation. The worse thing of it all is I allowed those impressions to define me as an adult. But when Jamie Learner encouraged me to view my past through the lens of an adult, I was shocked that I quite naturally “reframed” and “transformed” my view of my past. First, I took the view of considering what I learned in those years and how those difficulties actually formed the strength I have to succeed in my life as and adult.

Secondly, I came to an understanding that I was not rejected, but I was put into a situation that a child perceives as rejection but an adult understands as circumstances that merely “appeared” to be rejection. In truth I was put in places of temporary housing that were never intended to last long. I was not rejected; I was an unfortunate pawn in an unfortunate, yet forgivable situation.

  1. Focus on doing what you love or find passion in.

Finally, winning the battle with anxiety requires loving what you do. If you are stuck hating what you do, you do it poorly, receive negative feedback and find yourself believing the negative feedback people or bosses have to say about you. But when you are in your “sweet spot” you are running on all cylinders, working with a sense of purpose and value and therefore excited about yourself and your achievements.

I’m not so sure how much of this makes sense, but I do know these three simple tactics have radically changed my life. It requires a conscious effort, one done with at least one other supportive and loving person.

But after decades of fighting this battle with anxiety I believe I am on the path to genuine success: the success of believing in myself, hope for a future, and a belief that the negative opinions of others are not allowed to attack my core. Yes, I care about me.

Anxiety is the Problem of Believing the Negative BS from Others

Photo courtesy of valzhina at istockphoto

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