Anxiety is the name we give to the acute and/or chronic stress we experience in response to a perceived future threat.
Anxiety can be extremely useful when it serves to keep us safe. It is appropriate, for example, that when we are about to cross a busy road, that we focus on the potential risks from traffic. Having no anxiety in this situation might result in us walking across without looking – which could easily get us killed. This is an example of useful anxiety because it helps us to take appropriate action.
Never experiencing anxiety would be a very dangerous thing. We need some anxiety to stay safe and to help us focus on the things that are important for our physical and emotional well-being.
However, anxiety caused by habitual worry can make our life miserable. Prolonged (i.e. chronic) anxiety is dangerous for our long term mental and physical health. It can lead to risk-taking, avoidance, depression and addictive behaviour, as well as more serious health concerns.
So it is vitally important that we are able to avoid or minimise our experience of chronic anxiety. There are many ways of doing this. What all effective anxiety management techniques have in common is that they work by sending a message to our brain that despite how we are currently feeling, no future threat exists.
The STOP technique
Here is a simple to use, yet effective Freedom from Anxiety Technique I learnt from the wonderful team at IN8. It’s called the STOP technique.
Whenever you catch yourself worrying put out your arm (like a police officer stopping traffic) and say (ideally out loud):
“Stop! I recognise this as a worry. It is real & I’m not going to deny it but…”
Then imagine moving your hand to the side saying: “I’m going to place it to the side so I can deal with it later* if I can be bothered. Right now, I’ve got more important things to get on with!”
[*You might already be reserving time each day, in which to do all your worrying. Engaging in ‘Worry Time” is a great way of teaching yourself to overcome problematic worrying. ]
I encourage you to practice this simple technique regularly. Once it becomes a habit you’ll find you spend less time caught in the grip of unhelpful worries.
Need help in mastering your anxiety and stress?
If you are suffering with anxiety, stress, chronic stress and want to be free of them and to start enjoying life fully again, call me on 021 056 8389 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name & number, or use the Book Now button below.
REMEMBER – “When you change your mind you change your life.”
Tony helps people of all ages live their lives free of unnecessary stress, anxiety and depression, and be happier, healthier and more fulfilled.