A client told me the other day that he’d love to be free from his anxiety but that he couldn’t or he would lose his “edge.”
He is making the same mistake that many of us do, by not differentiating between eager excitement, a high-energy personality and soul-sucking anxiety. They are not the same thing. They don’t have the same source and they play differing roles in your life.
Eager excitement is characterized by wanting to do or have something very much, accompanied by a feeling of great enthusiasm.
High-energy personalities according to coach and counselor, Susan Scott, “are fast talkers, fast thinkers, fast decision makers, fast movers. These are the folks who don’t sit still for long, are always making new plans and coming up with new ideas.”
And according to Wikipedia, anxiety is an emotion characterized by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behavior, such as pacing back and forth, somatic complaints, and rumination.
While they have similar outward manifestations, they are vastly different in their long-term effects.
Eager excitement, while strengthened and quantified by focus and clear goals and a plan, can carry you far into the realm of the success you seek, either at work or in your relationships, or even in a community project you are working on. Eager excitement carried out by someone with a hi-energy personality can be dynamic and fun, fast paced and energizing.
On the other hand, if your plan or vision is being spurred on by anxiety, while it may compel you to accomplish one task after the other in a seemingly efficient way, it is not sustainable. Anxiety, by nature is fear gone amuck. Fear, anxiety and other negative emotions such as anger, certainly do create a certain amount of energy in the body and mind, but it is energy fed by toxins and poisonous hormones and will not only likely create dis-ease in the body, but will have inefficient and ineffective results.
Research shows that not only can this lead to depression, but also maladies such as heart disease, high blood pressure, insomnia, headaches and stroke. Yes, you want success, probably in every area of your life, but you don’t want to kill yourself to get it. In that case, by definition, your pursuit of success gets seriously muddied.
Great relationships, future spouse, more income, higher level positioning at work, fabulous vacations, new car, even fame. None of these is inherently wrong. Whatever your definition of success, you have everything within you to create it. But anxiety is not your friend. It’s also not who you are. And yes, you can be free from it, or at least minimize it.
Anxiety, often characterized by obsessive thinking, can be controlled.
About 60-70,000 thoughts go through your mind every day. You cannot focus on every single one and stay focused. Not even all of them are true. As a matter of fact, many of them are based on unhealthy beliefs that you picked up in childhood that tell you things like you are not loveable, you’ll never amount to anything, you can’t do anything right. These unhealthy lies cause you to strive harder and harder for perfection or “success” and keep you dancing as fast as you can with no real answers or goals. The nebulous belief that “you’ll never be good enough” keeps you striving in unhealthy ways from a source belief that is untrue. You need to choose what you want to think about, and learn to tame your brain.
It’s time to energize yourself from a place within you that is connected to creativity, source energy, love and joy. These characteristics are already inside of you. They have just been stuffed down and drowned out by listening to the beliefs that are untrue. It’s what most of us do, until we learn differently.
This can begin to change in an instant, once you begin to recognize what thought you are thinking and decide whether you want to keep it or change it.
The kind of fear that causes anxiety says “You’re not good enough.” It begins to play over and over in your mind and your body perceives it as a threat that needs to be fought against, so it releases the same alarm that it does if your clothes catch on fire. “I’m in danger! Get out of here.”
In other words, your body is simply responding to a message from your brain that says you’re in danger. And if nobody corrects that message, your body will continue to think it’s in danger and try to defend itself with those toxic hormones. So all you need to do, is correct the faulty thinking, and soothe your troubled mind and body with true, gentle, loving messages.
Don’t condemn your body for betraying you. It’s only doing what it’s programmed to do. It thinks it’s doing you a favor. So honor your body by feeding it well and getting lots of sleep and exercise, but train it as well. As soon as you recognize a toxic thought, you stick a monkey wrench in that swirling tornado of thoughts and say, “No,” and then gently but firmly feed your mind correct information. “You have everything within you to figure this out.” “You know exactly what to do to make this happen.” “You are already whole perfect and complete, just slow down and take a breath.” “One step at a time.”
And then, in that moment of detachment from the drama and insanity, you can find a new way.
Be excited. Be enthusiastic. Be inspired. Be high energy if you like. Be more subdued if you like. Dream your dreams. Make your plan. Be successful. But leave the anxiety behind. It will just make you sick.