In my opinion, I believe there are 2 solutions to overcoming anxiety permanently. There is the internal solution and the external solution.
The internal solution
The internal solution is what we can do (or rather not do) to set ourselves up for an inner environment of good mental health.
The internal solution to overcoming anxiety is to just give up the fight. Don’t mentally try to stop the anxiety. Don’t try and escape from it. Just allow the anxiety to wash over you. Ride it like the waves. This shifts the state from resistance to allowance. Practice this makes it much easier to drive it out. Our experience is supposed to be fleeting. It’s not supposed to be fixed. Thoughts, emotions and the symptoms all pass when we allow them to be there.
This is a counter-intuitive approach for when it comes to tackling anxiety but it’s extremely effective. It lays down a solid foundation and makes it easier to apply solution #2.
All of these thoughts, sensations and emotions that we experience are not to be argued with, reasoned with, pushed away or resisted. This doesn’t mean that resisting our anxiety will cause us any harm, it just means we will give it more energy.
Of course we don’t want to experience anxiety, but telling ourselves that isn’t going to make any difference in reducing it. It just fuels it if anything. We have to trick our minds into thinking we actually want to experience it. Believe it or not, this will have a transformative effect. When we trick our minds into believing that we are fine with what we’re thinking and feeling, then we will reset back to balance and defuse the fear.
Side note: However uncomfortable we feel with all these thoughts and feelings, we have to realise that we’re not coming to any harm. We’ve experienced them a quadrillion amount of times and never come to any harm. They are just thoughts and feelings which are transitory.
As a reminder, we can tell ourselves that there is no thought and feeling that can hurt me.
When we can allow ourselves to be okay with how we’re feeling, we’re subconsciously sending a message to our subconscious mind that we are not afraid and therefore safe. Once the subconscious mind has received the message that we’re safe, then the anxiety will settle back down.
The external solution
The external solution to overcoming anxiety is by manipulating our environment in a way that helps us stop the bad habits and encourages us to follow through with healthier and productive ones.
Our current behaviours are what’s keeping the anxiety alive. When we learn to modify our behaviours, we can eliminate the anxiety habit.
To explain this in an easier way, if we can stop doing the things which are feeding our anxiety, we can eliminate the anxiety through eliminating bad habits.
Our intellectual mind is hungry for external stimuli. Have you ever noticed that when you do something fun, challenging and creative, you feel refreshed, energised and feel a lot better after you’ve done it?
We feel like we’ve satisfied the hungry belly of the mind and that is exactly what we’ve done.
This is an excerpt taken from an article I was reading online: “Having definite plans and staying busy helps the recovering addict to avoid having excess free time…” The report further explains that “unstructured time can lead to boredom” and increase the risk of returning to old (unhealthy and risky) patterns. But structured routines help you feel more in control; they give you a sense of having taken responsibility for making positive changes; and they help you build confidence.” Read more of this article here.
So in terms of anxiety, having unstructured time can lead us to slipping back to old thinking and behavioural patterns. When we use our time productively by taking away the unstructured periods, we can start to replace the negative habits. This is why it’s important to use our time wisely.
In summary, it’s important that both solutions are applied. They both feed each other. If you’re in a resistive state, it’s going to be harder to focus our senses on enjoyable routines and activities and stay immersed in them. Allowing our minds to be exactly as they are is the lesson here.
If we are not using our time wisely by filling it in with things which support our mental health and enjoyment, then just allowing our minds to be will be less effective. They need that extra stimulation from incoming data. We can take advantage of this by immersing ourselves in creative and enjoyable hobbies.
Activities which don’t engage our minds need to be minimised as much as possible.
The solution in two sentences – It’s best that we give up the fight with our internal state and focus our attention on mentally stimulating and enjoyable hobbies. Doing this will allow the anxiety to defuse naturally.
I highly recommend checking out a program called the Linden Method which is a perfect solution for the external side of things. I’ve only mentioned a tip of the ice berg. Unfortunately I can’t get into the core materials of the program due to copyright policies.
This is just a rough outline to show you what helped me when everything else I tried didn’t.
Just to let you know, I make no money when I promote The Linden Method through my blog. I am just being honest with you when it comes to ways of dealing with anxiety. This is what worked for me when everything else I did failed.
I do, however, make money from coaching sessions because I am a qualified anxiety practitioner for this program. You can read more about that here.