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Coping with anxiety

 | March 16, 2012

Anxiety relates to a future time and situation. It also comes from scattered attention and lack of focus. It is the unknown that causes apprehension and anxiousness.


You are walking in a shopping mall on a Sunday morning. There are not many people moving around as it is still early. As you walk, you notice the sound of footsteps behind you and, for no apparent reason, you wonder whether these steps are purposely keeping pace with yours. A thought crosses your mind: “Maybe I’m about to be mugged?”

As the steps come closer, your heart starts to race, your cheeks become flushed. You suddenly feel very dizzy, as though you will faint where you stand. Then just when you became certain you can’t tolerate the fear, the sound of the footsteps turn off onto a different direction. You look around and see the cleaner women hurrying away.

Anxiety is an unpleasant emotion generated within you. It gives you a vague, unspecified feeling that harm is coming to you in some way. Contrary to popular belief, anxiety does not arise directly out of dangerous or painful situations. Anxiety actually arises out of your thoughts. In a given situation, it’s the thought of potential danger, not actual danger that produces the symptoms of anxiety. Extreme forms of anxiety are called panic attacks.

I had a client with anxiety issues, who said that each day when he commuted in the Putra LRT from stations between Ampang to Petaling Jaya, he had to get off at each station. He had to calm his nerves before boarding the next train, till he reached his destination. The powerful feelings of anxiety can involve some or all of these physical symptoms: a rapid heartbeat, body tremors, sweating, difficulty in breathing, dry mouth, chest tightness, dizziness, insomnia,, fatigue, cramps , loss of appetite, sweaty palms, nausea or diarrhea.

In psychology there are several theories as to the cause of anxiety. The learning theory considers it as a reaction to pain, so the therapist will suggest keeping away from the source of the pain. Cognitive theory evaluates the cause of the problem and the therapist suggests using positive self-talk to combat anxiety. Physiological theory suggests drugs to combat anxiety. Sometimes there are no other alternative, but most drugs cause side effects, so make sure then your decision as to whether this is the type of treatment you want or need.

Psychoanalytic theory recognises two types of anxiety. This is anxiety resulting from trauma and signal anxiety, which is in effect when the sufferer is trying to protect himself from anxiety resulting from trauma.

Live in the moment

Anxiety relates to a future time and situation. It also comes from scattered attention and lack of focus. It is the unknown that causes apprehension and anxiousness. A good way to cope with anxiety is to live in the moment. We decide ourselves into thinking we can control, manipulate, or shape the future. In actuality, there are so many variables that we really can’t see all the possibilities that can occur. In fact, worrying or being anxious causes more anxiety and may cause missing a valuable moment. Anxiety has always been the fuel for fear!

In anxiety, the more you anticipate what’s going to happen, the more anxious you become. This is because the subconscious law of conflict allows us to discover logic losing to imagination. While we may convince ourselves to take the logical course of action, we still imagine ourselves following our subconscious desires and reactions. Remember: you are what you think! Positive emotions bring positive results, so learn to laugh at the outcome and think positive. Focus on your breath, breathing slowly and this will deeply activate the vagus nerve, which is the major quieting nerve of the body.

Self-hypnosis is a very positive way to produce relaxation and lower anxiety. Trance work, which is hypnosis, can bridge the gap between thought and action and help to bring about positive change. Centering yourself with other exercise programmes that includes breath work like tai chi, yoga, and qi gong do help.

“Place your forefinger over your left nostril and press lightly to close the nostril. Now take a deep breath, inhaling through your right nostril. Think of your lungs filling up and expanding completely, imagine how they will look as they expand. Remove your finger from your left nostril and place it on your right nostril. Exhale fully and completely through your left nostril. Repeat till your anxiety eases.”

Julian is a London trained subconscious specialist with Hypno-Station. He is Malaysia’s most renowned clinical hypnotherapist, media personality, columnist, event host and book author. He can be contacted at [email protected].


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