Get Back on the Horse
Episode #10 of the course How to overcome your anxiety by Eileen Purdy MSW, M.Ed.
It’s a fact of life that everything doesn’t always go the way we plan. So, it is important to have a backup. With your anxiety transformation, the backup will include 1) expecting to get knocked off the anxiety-free horse and 2) learning some ways to quickly get back on.
Let’s start with expecting to get knocked off our anxiety-free horse. I know some of you are thinking, “Won’t that create a self-fulfilling prophecy?” or “This may sound superstitious, but why start off jinxing myself? Things are going so well!”
Well, things ARE going well, and our mindsets just need to continue to support that. The first step is getting rid of the mutually exclusive nature of our thinking around our anxiety. This means stop our thinking that either “I am not feeling my anxiety and therefore life is good” OR “I am feeling my anxiety and life sucks.”
This black and white thinking is a total set-up. And acknowledging your anxiety isn’t going to jinx you. I mean, it’s not like I’m suggesting you do this while walking your black cat under a ladder or anything like that. :-)
Seriously though, this next sentence is pure magic. The next time you feel anxiety, think to yourself, “I was expecting to feel this.” Not in a frustrated, defeated way. Do it in an empowering, matter-of-fact way. Sorta like the ol’ “You can’t fire me because I quit!” scenario. You are beating your anxiety at its own game. Win win.
The second approach to getting back up on that horse comes from work by Dr. Carol Dweck. Dr. Dweck discovered that people generally fall into two mindset camps: camp Growth Mindset and camp Fixed Mindset.
With the fixed mindset, you perceive things about yourself to be generally set in stone. Either you’re good at something or you’re not, anxious or not anxious, smart or not so smart, a worrier, clever, funny, high-achieving, athletic, artistic, etc. or not so much. So if you fall into the camp of a fixed mindset and you feel like you’re an anxious person, then whenever you have an anxious thought, feeling, or body sensation, it is just confirmation of your “fixed” situation. Case closed.
With a growth mindset, you think of yourself and your abilities as more fluid. Everything is totally influenced by effort, practice, and not giving up. And, yes, not everyone can be (insert your favorite Olympian’s name here), BUT neuroplasticity proves that we can constantly change and improve!
If you have a growth mindset and you have anxiety, you are able to remind yourself that you are not “a flawed human being destined to suffer with anxiety for the rest of your life” and can more readily get back on the horse.
The best part with this mindset business is that it just requires that you recognize the times you are interpreting events or thoughts in a “fixed” manner and remind yourself that science says you should switch over to “growth.”
Seriously, it is that simple. And with practice, it will become your more dominant “go-to.”
If you’d like to continue your gains on your path to transforming your anxiety, please check out my Anxiety Freedom 4 Week Online Mini-Course. This course, like Highbrow, is intended to fit conveniently into your busy schedule and deliver high-impact results in only 15 minutes a day. Save $25 when you enter the word Highbrow during checkout.
“The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook” by Edmund J. Bourne
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