Careful where you point that thing Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Friday, 23 April 2021 06:30
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What am I afraid of seeing? What am I afraid it will show about me? Why does it matter? Is it even true? What does it remind me of? What am I afraid of feeling? Who does this fear actually belong to?

Fear is an emotion we’re all familiar with – probably more so this past year than ever before. For many of us it has become a habit; not a fear about something specific, but more like a constantly humming white noise in the background. Those who stick labels onto things call it anxiety.

And anxiety, says therapist Ashley James, is not even an emotion. Unlike emotions such as hurt, anger or sadness, anxiety cannot be felt about past events. It simply is the stress response. While anxiety could be triggered by real-life events, such as illness or loss of income, its most common trigger is the stress that comes from our own thinking about the events.

Ashley explains that our nervous system has two modes: rest-and-digest or fight-and-flight. In fight-and-flight, blood is shunted away from digestion and the logic centres of our brain to bring more blood to our legs and arms so that we can run away from a threat or have the strength to do battle.

Once the threat is over, we can go back to rest-and-digest mode. The problem, says Ashley, is that we don’t. We’ve created a habit of thinking, which continually triggers the stress mode. This kind of thinking gets us to focus on what we do not want.

From there, we have a cascade of hormones that keep sending us into fight-or-flight mode and keep us out of healing mode. It means that we’re not fighting diseases, digesting and absorbing nutrition or keeping a robust immune system. Also, to allow our brain into pure reaction mode, we lose the ability to control critical thinking and complex problem solving.

The treatment is to turn off the brain’s stress response so that the brain can tell the body it is safe.

Your body is always listening to your thoughts and see the threats-you-think-about as actual threats in the environment.

That’s why you have to learn how to rewire your brain. Instead of imagining what could go wrong, you can imagine how you want a situation to turn out. Christy Whitman offers three steps to guide you out of the darkness of confusion into the light of possibility in any situation. 

Step 1: Accept that you are where you are. We so often try to rush past where-we-are in an effort to get someplace better without truly acknowledging all that the present moment has to offer.  “The fact is, the wisdom you need to make a change in your life is entwined within the very circumstances you now find yourself in. By fully embracing the contrast of what isn’t working, you open yourself up to clarity and new direction,” Christy says.  

Step 2: Acknowledge that no matter where you are, you always have the power to direct your thoughts. Your experience in every moment is the direct result of the perspective you hold. Whenever something unwanted shows up in your experience, you can choose how to view it. 

Step 3: Ask yourself: “Who do I want to be in this situation?” This question helps you to make things clear to yourself and it helps you to focus on what you do want, instead of what you don’t. 

If you think that this kind of focus implies laser-sharp concentration, you can relax. It’s more like daydreaming, letting your imagination off the leash to follow the trail of that which tantalizes. Please don’t think that by turning to your imagination you’re going somewhere to escape. No, girlfriend, you’re going somewhere to create.

There are no municipal regulations for castles in the air. You can use your imagination as a movie trailer and listen to the music the spheres will play as the soundtrack to every step you take. Or not. Sadly, by constant worrying, most of us suffer more from our imagination than we benefit from it.
So, as Mike Dooley says: Imagination – careful where you point that thing, girlfriend.

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