There’s a lot of anxiety and fear in the air at the moment because of the challenging times we are experiencing. Human beings are generally resistant to change and we dislike uncertainty. Our brains like habit and routine but both have been disrupted.
The power of your thoughts
How we think about things, the sense we make of our situation, affects how we experience life and the emotions we feel. If your thoughts are negative and pessimistic you are more likely to feel stressed and worried, unable to make good decisions. The more you think positively about this situation, understanding that it will pass and some good may come from it, the more able you will be to think clearly and act logically.
There is an added health benefit to being able to think positively because it boosts your health and your immune system. Anxiety and worry cause the release of the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. Those hormones inflame your body and, in the long term, lower your resistance to illness.
A RADICAL approach to changing your thoughts
Thinking negative thoughts and feeling negative emotions such as anxiety is natural at times of massive change. As my friend, the Shamanic Healer, Daniel Guttierez says, ‘It’s alright to go there. It’s not alright to stay there.’ You need techniques to address unhelpful thoughts and move on.
Here is my RADICAL approach to shift anxiety and fear developed from Positive Psychology, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, The Work of Byron Katie and Radical Mindfulness
Recognise that you are thinking an unhelpful thought.
- Is the thought positive or negative?
- Does it give rise to a pleasant or unpleasant emotion? Does it give rise to anxiety or fear?
- Will the thought move you forward or keep you stuck?
- Does this thought lead to growth or contraction?
Acknowledge the thought and the emotion that arises.
- Without judgement, notice what you are thinking and feeling.
- Notice where in your body you are feeling it.
- Accept it with compassion and kindness for yourself. It is temporary and you will take action to deal with it.
- Be aware of the trigger for the thought. Was it something you heard or saw or felt?
Do something physical to change how you feel.
- Shift your mood by tricking your brain into thinking you are smiling. Put a pen between your lips sideways. Lift your chin. Roll your eyes upwards and move them from side to side five times.
- Stand in the superhero stance for two minutes. Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Put your hands on your hips. Beam your gaze out directly. Do it with superhero attitude.
- Do your happy dance for three minutes
- Put on your favourite happy song and sing along.
Identify a new more helpful thought.
- What could you think differently?
- What would ‘best you’ think in this situation?
- What would someone you respect think?
- If a friend was in this situation what would you say to them?
Capture the new thought(s).
- Write down the new helpful thought(s)
- How much do you believe the new thought(s)?
- Notice how the new thought changes how you feel.
Amplify the new thought
- Picture yourself believing the new thought(s).
- See yourself looking more positive.
- Make that image big and clear and colourful.
- Spend a few minutes enjoying that best version of you.
Learn and Laugh
- Notice what you have learned from the experience.
- How could you use the new thoughts in the future?
- How could you use this technique again?
- Can you avoid the triggers you identified?
- Laugh! You got through this and dealt with it.
I have talked through this technique on my Royston Hypnotherapy Facebook Page.
If you need any help with this technique or to deal with your anxiety or fear contact me.
The Work by Byron Katie
Radical Mindfulness by Daniel Guttierez
Thrive by Rob Kelly