The Single Most Important Factor To Obtain Freedom From Anxiety And Stress

Break FreeFrom Anxiety And Stress

There is no shortage of advice on how to get free of anxiety and stress—everything from taking deep breaths to snapping rubber bands on your wrist. The problem is, most don’t make any lasting change. But those that do all have one thing in common. This is the single most important thing you need to know to get free of anxiety and stress.

The idea is this: What you think determines what you see. It sounds so simplistic that it seems almost ridiculous, but stay with me. What you think LITERALLY shapes your entire experience of life. And when you are anxious or stressed, if you don’t get your hands on the thoughts that are behind it, you won’t get any relief.

Let’s understand this concept in more depth: Imagine a banquet table with a beautiful feast laid out upon it. Two people come along…one is starving to the point of near death and the other has consciously undertaken a fast for spiritual purposes. This same banquet table looks completely different to each of these two people. Our thoughts determine what we see. Similarly, think about a time when you believed a friend had slighted you. Suddenly, they become your enemy, you are noticing all their faults and judging them accordingly. They even look physically different to you. Then you discover they did not, in fact, say what you thought they had said. The entire perception drops away and you see your dear friend again, perhaps glowing more brightly than before. One more example: remember a time when you were house hunting or car shopping? Did you notice how the “for sale” signs jumped out at you from everywhere or the model of car you were interested in started showing up all over the road?

Let’s watch this process in action. Pictures a series of dots:

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. . . .

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Now see them as four squares, each square composed of four dots. Notice how “real” and fixed this perception becomes! Now imagine four larger overlapping squares, each square composed of nine dots. We can make a cross, two columns, or any of an incredible variety of forms and patterns of relationships, all according to the thoughts we choose to think.

How do we apply this to the problem of anxiety and stress? By being vigilant with the thoughts we are thinking, and refusing to think those thoughts which cause the problem. We may choose any thoughts that don’t produce stress or anxiety. But here’s the challenging part: We are so convinced that our circumstances and the events outside of us cause our upset that we never get around to testing this idea. Choosing different thoughts about a situation actually requires great courage; the courage to move against the traditional thinking we have been thoroughly indoctrinated into. But if we want to escape our anxiety and stress, there is no other way. Choose different thoughts than those you’ve been thinking and your problem will literally change in your perception. At the least, you will see it as a problem which can now be managed; calmly. Often, it transforms into something else entirely or disappears altogether.

So there you have it…the great secret to happiness. And indeed it is. But as a psychologist and life coach, it’s my job to help people apply this principle in a way that works. If a person takes on this practice with great courage, honesty and perseverance, they will see truly miraculous changes occur. But because we’re so conditioned to believe we are not in control of our thoughts, it’s often not enough to say “I’m simply going to think differently about this thing”. Instead, we must use skillful means to trick our minds into thinking different thoughts. In fact, that’s what we’ve been doing in each of the articles throughout these newsletters. In the end, they are all variations on how to get at the one great truth that only our thoughts determine what we see—how we feel and the entire experience we have of whatever is going on around us. This truth, in fact, holds the power of the universe, since the universe itself is but the experience that comes from our chosen thoughts.

So if we want to get free of anxiety and create a joyful life, begin this practice: Start to notice and then doubt your certainty that what is going on “out there” is making you feel and think the way you do. Then, simply, begin training your mind to choose different thoughts about the the situation…any thoughts at all that are not about stress or anxiety. The problem will be that as you try to choose different thoughts, you will quickly be seduced by the anxiety into thinking what you have always thought in the past. This is where we have to bring forth our commitment. You will need to sustain your effort to think different thoughts about the situation for a long enough period (perhaps a couple of minutes) to see your old perception let go of its hold. Everytime you want to think “Yes, but let’s get real…that thing out there really is scary or stressful” you have to renew your commitment to getting free. There’s no way around it…our thoughts DO create our experience. Which experience would you choose: fear or joy?

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  1. Ashley
    10 years ago

    Everyone has emotions, both men and women. Emotions are frequently called feelings. Feelings are from experiences of love, hate, anger, trust, joy, fear, panic, and grief. Emotions are related but different than mood. There are the excellent emotions, then the dreadful emotions like anxiety or depression. Emotions that feel appalling similar to depression or anxiety, can affect your life and make it harder for you to live every day. Emotional problems usually lead to physiological disorders. Doctors give medications to people with emotional problems for instance anxiety. I believe that medications are not the way to help. Medications make the emotional problems worse, other help needs to be given to people with these troubles.

    Dr. Todd Pressman a Licensed Clinical Psychologist emphasizes that anxiety causes “panic attacks, lack of focus or concentration, headaches, problems sleeping, sadness or crying spells, flashbacks, constant worrying, scary thoughts, low energy, and exhaustion all the time”. Anxiety can get very serious and lead to depression and other physiological disorders (Pressman). Anxiety should be taking seriously. When experiencing these problems, you need to seek help.

    Anxiety generally is a term for many disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. Disorders like these affect how we feel and behave, they can turn into real physical symptoms. Mild anxiety is indistinguishable and disturbing, and severe anxiety can be tremendously devastating and have a serious shock on daily life (Smith). Everyone

    deserves to live a joyful life, and be happy. Getting help with anxiety can boost happiness and help you to live the life you deserve.

    When ever you feel like something is wrong or you are having any symptoms of anxiety disorder you go to the doctor, they ask you questions about how you are feeling and look at your medical history. Then you are diagnosed. Doctors then prescribe you a medication for your anxiety. Sometimes it may not even work, or you could create other problems from it like not being able to sleep. You could go through a number of medications until one may work. If you go a psychiatrist to have therapy, they also will prescribe you a medication. There are many different types of medications that are given to patients with anxiety. Anti-anxiety drugs like Benzodiazepines and newer drugs like antidepressants and beta-blockers are prescribed. Whenever a patient takes medication it will relieve some of the symptoms they are having (Smith). It seems that all you have to do is go to the doctor tell them symptoms of anxiety and you are handed drugs. I think that is very wrong. Patients should be given more direction and educated more about what anxiety really is. Patients should be educated so they can decide if they want to be on medication. Patients should be told about withdrawal from being on the medication and also that youcan become addicted.

    Whenever you have anxiety problems and are taking medications, it isn’t truly fixing your problem. “These medications can be very effective, but they shouldn’t be thought of as a cure” (Smith). Like other medications there are side effects. When taking anxiety medication you can become addicted (Smith). A lot of times the medication that you are on won’t work anymore leading to more drugs and higher dosages. If you become addicted to anxiety medicine it can lead to other drug abuse. Taking medications for anxiety isn’t really helping you long term, because once the medications ware off the problems and emotions are still there. Use of

    medication alone is not nearly enough. One you stop taking the anxiety medication, the symptoms come back (Smith).

    A non drug treatment is better for anxiety and the effects will be long term with no risk factors (Smith). Instead of doctor looks at how you feel and you medical history, then giving you medication. Or whenever you are on prescribed medication and the doctor just hands you more, and tries different kinds. I think that the doctor should refer you to a therapist that doesn’t give medication. Or the doctors should tell you what in your life you should cut back on and lifestyle changes you can make. The doctors should actually be helping and not encourage just sedating and blocking the problems and things that are triggering why you are feeling how you are feeling. Exercise, therapy, and self help strategies should be prescribed not medication that is going to disarray the person up more and not really help the problem they are having. Patients with anxiety disorder need to learn where anxiety comes from, and how it is created, then the patient should find out the root and what the problem really is that is creating the anxiety. After that patients should be suggested tools to use to deal with their anxiety (Pressman).

    Doctors give strong medications to patients that seem to over sedate them. When this happens the patient will look like they are drunk. Benzodiazepines reduce brain activity, only temporally reducing the anxiety disorder. The patient will feel sleepy, foggy, and uncoordinated. Side effects can also be slurred speech, impaired judgment, dizziness, slow reflexes, and clumsiness. These medications can make it harder to go to work, school, and drive (Smith). Having anxiety disorder I would want help to get rid of it and be able to live a happy life again and be normal. I think its wrong doctors are just so freely handing medications like this out to patients and saying it will help them. Making you look drunk, and feel dizzy is not really helping the disorder. Also making you become dependent on this drug to not feel the anxiety isn’t really

    helping, it’s only creating more, and a whole new problem. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, adequate sleep, a healthy diet, talk therapy, meditation, biofeedback, hypnosis, and acupuncture are some alternatives to anxiety help rather than just taking medications (Smith).

    An invention should be made to make anxiety go away. Anxiety is usually caused because of something or a number of things that happened in your life. Patients should be flashed back from when they were a child and see what all has happened in their life. Subjective feelings, physical responses, and expressive behavior are how emotions are generated (Emotions). Teas and aromatherapy can be used instead of medications. In addition warms baths, or trying to find a hobby like reading a book.

    The use of medication is not the way to the cure of anxiety, you yourself have to do some self reflecting and find something natural that is going to help you, not temporally make your emotions go away with medication. Everything has a cause and effect like the medications. The effect is anxiety, you need to find the effect and accept your problems, then a solution. Mental health treatment is a larger issue than some people think, especial in todays society. I think that it would be in society’s best interest to manage those that do have a mental disorder. Slight or severe mental illness needs to be taking seriously. We need to manage mental disorders so we can have healthy and higher functioning individuals, these individuals including parents, workers, and community leaders. I believe that good mental health will benefit everyone.