My last blog discussed fear and anxiety and some preliminary ways one might overcome their tendency to feel overwhelmed by fear and anxiety. This post will expand on this topic by adding very practical ways you can kick fear and anxiety to the curb.
It is generally accepted that thoughts lead to emotions or feelings that then lead to a response (behavior). If this is true, then leaning how to battle your thoughts that lead to anxiety and fear would be very helpful in bringing peace and calm to your life.
Example: Just this morning as I sat outside enjoying a hot, steaming cup of coffee watching the sun slowing rising with a warm, golden glow on the horizon. The chirping birds sang a chorus of twittery excitement for the new day. My mind relaxed and filled with calmness, my body had a warmth radiating throughout and all in my world at this moment was at peace. UNTIL….I remembered an afternoon deadline that loomed over my day. My mind swirled with all the what if’s and I could feel my jaw clench and my stomach tighten. My world was now interrupted with anxious thoughts and a mild sense of panic flowed over me. Did you track with me through my thought process and could you sense how I felt in that moment of realizing my anxious thoughts?
Here are 5 Ways to Kick Fear and Anxiety to the Curb:
#1 – Acknowledge the battle.
Do you realize when you enter the battlefield of your mind? What is going on in there? What occupies much of your mental real estate? Are you thoughts helpful or menacing? Do you overthink or play the “what-if” game? Call it out! Realize what you are up against. Don’t be passive or accepting of these disturbing thoughts.
#2 – Externalize.
A favorite way that I suggest is naming your anxiety. You read that right, give it a name. Albert, Agnes, Bernie, Henry, Gladys, or whatever you feel like naming it. Giving it a name, externalizes it as if it was something outside your mind and body. This will be helpful in giving it the boot. When your anxiety has a name, it takes on a separate identity that is easier to fight against than some nebulous thing attached to feelings inside you. Come on, try it. What will you call your anxiety?
#3 – Fight Aggressively.
To protect your home from intruders, what would you do? Lock the doors, install deadbolts, (maybe even double deadbolts), install a security system or would you leave the doors unlocked or perhaps even open it a crack? I know, that is ludicrous! Of course you would take measures to protect your home. So what steps have you taken to protect your mind from intrusive thoughts? How will you fight for peace in your mental space? Here are a few suggestions: Recognize the first sign of a threatening thought. Don’t play with the thought. Throw the intruder out, call it by name. Bolt the door of your mind. Be proactive in monitoring your thoughts and asking are they true or are they false. Protect your mind from the negative, peace destroying thoughts.
#4 – Focus and Replace.
Focus on things that are positive and bring your joy. Replace those negative thoughts with positive thoughts. What are you grateful for? What things, people or places bring you a sense of happiness and joy? What positive steps can you take right now in this moment to fill your mind with gratitude? Perhaps, you need a visual reminder to help you refocus your thoughts. A favorite photo of your “happy place”, a special person, an accomplishment, a favorite encouragement or scripture verse may be helpful. Place it in a handy place when the battle begins. Look at it often or think about how you are in control of your thoughts. You choose what you think about. Choose joy. Choose warm, sunny memories to wash away those toxic thoughts.
#5 – Practice, Practice, Practice.
Barring the door to your mind from anxious or fearful thoughts sounds simple but it is not. It takes practice in all these steps to “catch” the thought at its first intrusive entrance into our minds. Then to kick into action with the following steps to build a fortified space between our ears where we control what thoughts we allow into this space and what emotional experience happens from these thoughts. This is sometimes an all out war!
It is time to fight for a calmer, more peaceful mind!
So gather your strength and imagine what a peaceful, calm mental space would enable you to experience with less fear and anxiety roaming around. How would you feel? How would you move out into your day with confidence and an inner strength? How badly do you want peace from terrorizing thoughts? Then get ready for battle!
You can do this….Kick your fear and anxiety to the curb. It is possible, there is hope!