Grabbing the Bull by the Horns

14.09.2016 |

Episode #9 of the course How to overcome your anxiety by Eileen Purdy MSW, M.Ed.


This email course can be just one more anti-anxiety strategy to add to your personal development resume. You can go through it and just let it wash over you and hope for the best. That’s no fun. And besides, your resume is getting a bit long.

So, based on the fact that you are reading your ninth email, I’m guessing this course is going to be different. And neuroscience will back me up on that one.

First, because you’ve been practicing small wins, and second, because you’ve been doing some WOOP.

Let me explain.

The first secret to making changes is through small wins. Actually, Highbrow’s short, manageable courses fit this success formula very well. Small wins are based on the little achievements you experience day to day. Since you are learning and practicing daily with this course, you should definitely count them as wins—don’t take them for granted. It’s real progress in the direction of your end goal. Paying attention to the small things provides momentum and the foundation for bigger gains!

The second secret to making changes is through WOOP. And like the small wins, you’ve already been doing some WOOP in this course. Today, you’ll learn what the heck I’m talking about… and do some more.

Dr. Oettingham was intrigued by the trendy belief that if one just thinks positively, one will reach their goals. So she conducted her own research. From it, she synthesized four steps (with the acronym WOOP) that really do enable people to meet their goals. Positive thinking was part of it but needed the other three steps to really work. Here are her four steps.

1. What is your Wish? What is your most important wish or struggle to overcome?

2. What is the best Outcome?If your wish is fulfilled, where would that leave you? What would be the best, most positive outcome? Think and try to visualize how fulfilling your wish would feel. (This is the positive thinking step.)

3. What is your main inner Obstacle? What is it within you that holds you back from fulfilling your wish?

4. Make a Plan. What can you do to overcome your obstacle?

So today, in your continued path of small wins, answer the 1st and 2nd points below. Why not the 3rd and 4th, you ask? Well, because you already completed those in previous lessons! Can I hear a woop woop for that? :-)

1. Pick a Wish around your anxiety.

2. Identify your best Outcome and take a moment to imagine it as fully as you can.

3. Identify your main inner Obstacle and take a moment to imagine it fully. (Day 6 and 7 worked on this with hidden thoughts and beliefs.)

4. Have a Plan for yourself. Identify one action you can take or one thought you can think to overcome your obstacle when you experience it. (Hint: Try the label “false alarm,” grab control of your breathing, and refocus concretely on the present).

It is important to have a positive thought or goal, but research also suggests you know what is likely to get in your way and have a plan of attack ready to go! WOOP!


Recommended book

“What To Say When You Talk To Your Self” by Dr. Shad Helmstetter


Share with friends