How our basic assumptions about the world can trigger anxiety attacks

Very often, part of the exploration that I do with my clients involves distinguishing between how they think, feel and act in the world when coming from a place of desire and self-love (tuned into a feeling of strength and confidence) versus how they think, feel and act based out of fear and avoidance. This might sound simple and straight forward, but to really learn this different approach to life, so that it is second nature… this takes lots of practice! I help clients gain an understanding and awareness of how these two fundamentally different ways of existing and living your life have very different outcomes for our relationships, personal life and emotional states. This gets clients excited about making a shift in their approach because suddenly they see that there is real hope for them to experience life differently.

There are very often “ah-ha!” moments and a “letting-go” of negative emotions when clients are able to build a deeper awareness of their fears and where these fears are rooted from (often previous life experiences). But, we don’t talk about our fears for the sake of dwelling in the past. Rather, we use this awareness as a point of reference to discover what is personally meaningful and important areas to build new, more positive ways of approaching the situation.

So, what does this actually have to do with anxiety attacks?

Our anxiety is often caused by a basic fear. We might have a hard time pointing out to ourselves what that basic fear really is. It is scary to look fear in the eye and name it. But it’s there none-the-less. We all have fears, whether or not we feed into them. These fears can sometimes lead us to automatically assume that the worst will happen within the very situations that mean the most to us. Our fears whisper to us so often that we may stop even noticing that this is happening. Fear tells us that “he doesn’t care about you”, “you can’t do anything right”, “you’re never going to get better”, etc. over and over until we start taking these self-defeating messages things for granted. They can start to form a basic belief about ourselves and others.

Anxiety attacks happen when fear causes us discomfort, and we try to avoid that feeling at all costs. It is so common for people to try to push their anxiety away, out of a natural impulse for self-protection. Unfortunately, doing so has the opposite affect that we had hoped for. Trying to escape or ignore our anxiety tends to mean you are engaging in a continued pattern of avoidance, which further feeds the fear, and encourages our anxiety to grow larger and more menacing. As this cycle continues, our uncomfortable emotions increase exponentially. In the thick of this, as our emotions are being experienced from a state of fear and avoidance, it is becomes quite challenging to remember what it felt like to see things from a hopeful, self-loving, calm state of mind.

OK… so what should I do then, if I want to feel better?

Ironically, the key is to break this cycle, is by forming a new relationship with your fears. With my support, my clients learn to start accepting and even appreciating their fears (weird thought, eh?), and they are surprised to see that their fears can be used to lead them even deeper into positive emotions. When they notice uncomfortable emotions, this becomes a trigger to tap into their alternate, self-loving state of being.

As you can see, I work with my clients to build their confidence in shifting away from avoidance and feeding their fears, and freeing them to approach situations in an entirely new way. If this is something that you would like to learn more about, I would be happy to discuss with you how we might work together to achieve this in your life. Also, if you enjoyed this blog post, feel free to subscribe to the LifeRoots Newsletter and I will occasionally send you a heads up when new blog posts become available for your perusing!

 

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