This blog is bringing together several blogs to help you with the issues of feeding your anxiety and the habits we have over the worry cycle. It’s time to not let these dis-empowering thoughts and habits stop you from being present in the moment and limiting your ability to fully enjoy your life. This is something that you can now download as a series of podcast or watch the videos online and I would advise that you to use it regularly. Changing habits doesn’t just happen overnight and like anything if we want to be good at it we need to continue to learn and practice.
The blog Don’t Feed The Cat is all about that tiny stray cat that came to your house, you feed it and each time it came back again you continued to feed it. This is just like the habit of worrying, the more you worry about something, the more the worries come back and the more the worries grow. If you keep feeding the cat it will grow bigger, this is the same thing that will happen with your worries and the more anxious you become. The pleasure is though, now you know this you have already started the process of change. The simple answer is, if you don’t want the worries and the fears don’t feed them, just like the cat if you don’t feed it over time it will go away. You have learnt already to curb feeding the cat if the worries come; you don’t need to fight it, you just need to not feed it, distract yourself, do something different over time your mind will start forgetting the habit of worry.
Pinpoint your worry danger zones when you worry the most, then change what you’re doing. For example, if it’s when you get home from work, don’t just sit down in the same chair, as your mind has that association with that spot and worrying. Sit somewhere else or even better do something different have a bath, read a book or put some music on and start cooking, create a song list to sing along with. Doing something different will help change the habit and over time your mind won’t be expecting to worry when you get home, but to be relaxed and enjoy your night.
This analogy shows you exactly what will happen with your habit of worrying, so from now on whenever a thought comes to mind just think about this story and laugh it off, get absorbed in something else and you will soon be worry free. Change doesn’t happen overnight but today could be your day to start the process of change for you. You will be able to look back in a few weeks and see how much this has changed your mind set.
The Cat Is Back looked at several ways you could be inadvertently feeding the cat. Just like leaving the bins out or your back-door open, your letting the cat feed and keeping the worry habit going. You may keep saying to yourself, you’re ok, you can do it, you don’t need to worry, this negative reassurance is feeding your worry habit. You might have said why that’s then? It’s a positive thing to say and I am only trying to motivate myself. Now you know this isn’t the case and your mind is not silly and all it will be thinking is if you are ok you wouldn’t be having to tell yourself you’re ok. It also showed you that asking other people or even asking google for reassurance is the same, so the same principles apply, it doesn’t help it just feeds your worry habit, making you more anxious.
These types of habits stem from our childhood so you may not have even know you were doing it, but now that you do there is no excuse to continue. Now is the time to change and start growing safety and security within you and it’s time to say NO to the things which don’t work. Be clear with yourself and have zero tolerance to these habits, because once you start it can be harder to stop. Change does take effort and just like going to the gym you not going to pop out as superman after one session, but after a few weeks you will start seeing the difference. Following these simple rules will allow you to be another step closer towards being anxiety free.
The Cat Lives On looked at the issues of safety and security and if we don’t feel secure inside we can start searching for it outside of ourselves. As you found out from the blog these habits of comforting ourselves with things has the opposite effect and tells our mind that we don’t feel secure. This then adds to our original worries and anxieties; comfort blankets don’t work they just smother you. Now let’s try and pin point a few comfort blankets you may have in your life, maybe going to certain places makes you feel a bit nervous so you started to carry a bottle of water just in case you get a dry mouth, before you know it you can’t go out without it. Maybe it’s a bad stomach and you have to take Imodium, or maybe your comfort blanket is taking someone with you when you go to certain places. It doesn’t work long term to comfort you, it just breeds more insecurities.
Another way of feeding anxiety is avoidance, say if you feel uncomfortable around dogs you may stay I can’t go near them, stroke them or go to a house with them. After time, we may start to cross the road when we see them, not go to the park as there is more of them there. The reality is, you’ve become more afraid of dogs while trying to avoid them, the avoidant habit is not helping you it’s become part of the problem. Your mind thinks that’s its keeping you safe helping you to avoid scary things, it doesn’t understand that you are nervous because you don’t feel safe inside and have created these irrational fears. Putting things off creates avoidance, avoidance creates fear and fear makes you anxious. If we want to be safe, secure and anxiety free we have to start acting this way over time we can then learn the habits to stay this way.
I Can’t See The Cat then moved on to look at how anxiety can easily overpower our mind and distort our perception to things. We can delude ourselves by maybe saying, we’re not that bothered about joining that group, or chatting to the person next to us, we don’t know them, we’re far too busy, we can’t commit to going, we can’t afford it, we don’t really want to go, or whatever excuse we make. If denial is the real reason you’re not doing something, it is just avoidance and you know now this avoidance will breed more fear, so stop avoiding things its making you more anxious. As your mind stores everything it doesn’t forget, don’t use denial-avoidance your mind won’t be fooled. The more we avoid, the more we tell our mind we are afraid, the fear grows, making us more anxious and then you know it we want to avoid more things.
Now from the blog you can see how the habits of avoidance can grow from one small avoidance. Of course, if someone said doing this would have created all this anxiety you wouldn’t have done, it felt like it wasn’t a big thing and you maybe even didn’t fully acknowledge we’re doing it at times. We think we are being sensible not pushing ourselves, doing what seems easy, we may even think it helps us but it’s not at all, it is a big part of the reason your feeling anxious. So create new challenges every week for yourself, keep your circle moving outwards not inwards.
Remember it was you that made the circle spiral in and the worries grow, so of course it can spiral out and the anxiety will be released. If you haven’t started your plan of action like I suggested then do it today, I know you can do it because I have been just where you are and know I am completely worry and anxiety free.
You are fully aware of the many ways you have been making yourself feeling anxious now it time to stop doing these things and start teaching your mind to feel safe. You know the other way was 100% making it worse-not better, so you have nothing to lose but everything to gain. Steady steps are the best way learn, do the easy things first and build up to the bigger situations. If you’re still thinking that this needs more reinforcement and for most of us it will I want you to use the podcasts and videos I have made and play them not just once but a few times. It will help reinforce what you’re working to achieve.
Keep listening, watching or reading as the full blogs follow this and it will help you to continue the process of change and soon you will be anxiety free.
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