The Compass Tree
• Do you worry about things that haven't happened yet?
• Do you seem to feel pessimistic about your future? assuming the worst is going to happen?
• Do you sometimes find optimistic people, irritating and reckless
in their lack of thought about what could go wrong?
• Are you losing sleep, about a forthcoming test, interview or speech you have to make?
• Is something playing on your mind?
• Do you picturing something going wrong?
• Can you anticipate hearing how people are going to react badly to you?
• Do you get a gut feeling that something isn't going to work out as you had hoped?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, the chances are you are running some level of anxiety.
Anxiety has been described as a thought about something going wrong in the future, we project the worse possible outcome onto an event which has not happened yet. The resulting fears, negative thoughts and physical symptoms of anxiety are very real and very present to the sufferer.
Anxieties are as wide and as varied as life itself. We all experience anxiety at some times in our lives. Usually it is to preempt bad things happening so we can take action to prepare ourselves emotionally and mentally. There are no hard and fast rules about the whys and wherefores about anxiety. Anxiety can materialize at different times, in different forms for different people for different reasons. However if the anxiety tips the scales it can paralyze you into freezing and taking no action to prepare. This in turn becomes a vicious circle and generates more anxiety. Your brain can not tell the difference between a real or imagined threat, nor does it have the ability to differentiate between your past, present and future. As a result if you imagine something going wrong in the future your body generates all the physical stress symptoms in exactly the same way as if you were facing a real threat in the present moment. Which in turn is stressful. Again anxiety can in turn produce more anxiety. It can be a hard pattern to break on your own.
It is important to know at this point that anxiety is treatable and often with astonishingly rapid results.
Common anxieties are:
• Excessive worry about family
• Exam anxiety
• Performance anxiety
• Sexual anxiety
• Public speaking anxiety
• Sports anxiety
• Health anxiety
• Anxiety about death
• Dating anxiety
• Rejection anxiety
Other anxieties are more encompassing and avoiding situations where the sufferer believes the anxiety will be triggered can become a major motivating factor in day-to-day life. Examples of these include:
• Social Anxiety Disorder
• General Anxiety
• Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
• Body Image Anxiety
Anxieties take a lot of energy to maintain. You are subconsciously spending a lot of effort and energy trying to keep yourself forewarned about possible future catastrophes. Once you start to release the unnecessary worry, your life becomes freer and more enjoyable.
I am passionate about working with anxieties. Several years ago now, my lovely mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I had the absolute pleasure and joy to work with her to release all her fears and worries about dying. She passed peacefully, without feeling any resentment towards her disease. Fear of dying is one of the most common fears people have, to help my own mum clear all of that has to be one of the most empowering and wonderful things I have ever done for anyone.
I am fully aware of how limiting both anxiety and phobias can be. I lived with both for a really long time. I suffered from social anxiety for many years, brought on by developing low self-esteem after a number of physical attacks. I found it really hard to trust that anyone actually liked me. I would use alcohol to numb out the feelings of fear of another attack in any venue I was unfamiliar with. Using the techniques I now use with clients I have overcome my own anxieties. I am by no means an extrovert but I enjoy being social without any fear now. I am confident about being in new places and I don't worry about forthcoming uncertainties any more. I have more freedom and energy to live and enjoy my life on a daily basis and you can too.