If you suffer from anxiety.. You have 3 choices
- To try and live with it
- Manage it
- Overcome it
What has amazed me over more than a decade of working with people is the amount of people in each category… It’s like a pyramid!
The bottom category is people unaware that they are even struggling with anxiety or trying to avoid it. Hoping/ praying it will go away.
Then a smaller group of people try to learn how to deal with their anxiety and learn strategies, perhaps learn breathing techniques, do some CBT, do a bit of yoga and this is a wonderful step in the right direction. However these people are still at times experiencing just as much pain as the first group.Sometimes even more so, due to the fact they are TRYING lots of things that are not working and feeling like they have no hope. Sometimes these people drop out of this category and go back down to the first group and try to avoid it or try to live with it.
Now my favorite group ! These people are different, they choose to overcome anxiety. Seeing it as a hurdle to overcome in life. Willing to do things in a new way. Open to learning a new way of thinking about things, open to learning how to rewire their nervous system.. This group is the group that soon stops living with Anxiety.. That’s one of the two reasons this group is so small. Because it’s only a matter of time before lots of these people no longer have anxiety.
I think the first two are like swimming against a current! You rarely make any progress. The last group is like rafting down a rapid.
Or I think the first two are like riding an exercise bike – You never make any distance. The last group is like riding in a peloton. The group actually helps you and you not only make progress and get to your destination, it’s easier because of the group.
So what decides which of the categories you are in?
Two – things:
- The amount of pain you have gone through!! Often we start being able to avoid it, live with it, when it gets bad enough we are motivated to learn something new.. It might be a simple google search or you see a youtube video that prompts you to learn and do something new.. At that point you shift your motivation and you level up into the manage it group… This is a great step. But from what I have witnessed in my career. Most people get stuck in this level for a very long time because the ‘ help’ they seek keeps them stuck! As most of it is actually oriented around management strategies at best… commonly like therapists / psychologists and breathing techniques.
- The other factor that determines this group is their WILL power! They know they are not living life the way they want to be living, they know it is the anxiety holding them back from stepping into more of their potential and happiness in the world and they are determined to go beyond this temporary barrier.
Some people use pain to climb the levels. With enough suffering they become highly motivated to take action! This can be a trap within itself as it keeps the person unintentionally trying to manage the anxiety and is stuck within it. But if they are also open minded and find a great facilitator (of which there are many), they will overcome it.
The other way to climb the levels is when someone is inspired to learn to make their life better than it has ever been before.
Another and final observation I want to share with you, after witnessing hundreds of people with anxiety, is that a person’s quality of life is related to which level they are in. With people who try to ignore it / avoid it – they have the lowest quality of life, and the people who are determined to overcome it are the happiest. They also make the quickest progress.
Please keep in mind whatever group you find yourself in now, know that you can change it. It’s one decision away, that’s all the difference.
One decision .. today I commit within myself to overcome this. You did not wish to have this in your life! But you are on this journey anyway. Might as well grow from it and make life better because of being on it… that’s my next blog article.