Before I give you the second important question to ask yourself let me share with you some information garnered from Dr. David Burns. Dr. Burns is a psychiatrist and expert on the subject of anxiety. The wording is his own.
[su_box title=”Anxiety Myths” style=”noise” box_color=”#706e6e” title_color=”#ffffff” radius=”5″]
1) Anxiety never causes strokes or heart attacks
2) You cannot pass out during a panic attack because your heart is beating rapidly and pumping extra blood to the brain
3) Panic attacks never lead to insanity or a loss of control. You are worrying about something that is blatantly unrealistic.
4) [Despite popular myth to the contrary] Let me make one thing abundantly clear: We do not know of any physical or chemical imbalance that causes anxiety or panic.[/su_box]
With the above given as a backdrop, let me now give you our second question.
“What exactly is this anxiety I am experiencing?”
When you are anxious, it is imperative that you understand this – anxiety is just a feeling. That’s it!
Yes, the catalyst for anxiety is a (usually subconscious) thought. Yes, anxiety results in physical symptoms.
But a catalyst is not the thing catalyzed. A symptom is not the thing symptomized. Anxiety is just a feeling.
And in and of itself, a feeling can’t hurt you.
This point frustrates some and even angers others. Curiously, they want their anxiety to hold something equivalent to titanic power over which they have little if any influence.
But that is just not the case. I will say again… anxiety is just a feeling!
It is not a statement of fact about you. It is not life threatening (see Dr. Burns above). It is not a leviathan of energy over which you have no power. It is not the master of you (unless you allow it).
It is just a feeling.
If you will retire to the place where you go to sit and reflect (for me, it’s my deck) and give calm and quiet attention to this point, I think you will reap great benefit from the exercise.
You will gain a foothold of power and some confidence over this pesky enemy. You will realize that, as awful as it can make you feel, anxiety is just that… a feeling.
I mentioned earlier in this piece that this fact frustrates and even angers some clients. This is usually because of an error they make in their thinking.
When they first hear that anxiety is just a feeling, many mistakenly think you’re saying anxiety isn’t real. This causes them to feel foolish, embarrassed, and like a bit of a simpleton.
But this is a mistaken way of interpreting our crucial statement. OF COURSE ANXIETY IS REAL! No sensible person would deny that.
But the all-important question is… a real what?
Anxiety is a real feeling.
As I said earlier, Your anxiety is not a statement of fact about you. It is not life threatening. It is not a leviathan of energy over which you have no power. Unless you allow it, it is not the master of you.
It is just a feeling.