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Highly Curious Approach to Gaining Power Over Anxiety

smart anxious misfitsWhen anxiety hits, most of us cower to it. We submit to the primal instinct that says, fight, freeze or flee!

What if we did something different by conscious choice – something radically curious, unconventional and perhaps totally embarrassing?

I know, embarrassment is a powerful deterrent – very powerful. Wouldn’t blame you if didn’t even want to read on for all the gory details.

Still, if the choice is to hide from embarrassment and suffer anxiety for the rest of your life, or take a risk and deal with it productively, which would you take?

I know, I might hide forever as well.

Suppose we didn’t hide though. What would that look like?

Well, rather than hide anxiety, you’d reveal it. You’d totally OUT your tendency to be nervous, worry, panic, sweat and fret. Anxiety may not be something to hide anyway. It probably just means that you’re highly intelligent.

Let’s look at a couple of scenarios.

Sales Pressure at the Chiropractor

True story. The other day, I was in a chiropractor’s office getting an introductory screening. He found a couple of issues and proceeded to make his pitch. I hate sales pitches. I feel pressured and anxious. I don’t want to say no and reject someone who is just doing their job and needs to make a sale. I also want to take my own sweet time and make a solid decision….slowly….and in my own best interest.

The doc….he wants to make that sale. After all, he’s correctly identified important physical issues that I should deal with.  Here we are….sign up!

Pressure is building. Suddenly, I decided not to just sit there and feel my anxiety swell, then break out in a cold sweat. So, I didn’t. I interrupted him and said, “Man, I am feeling anxious right now. I need to go outside and get a breath of air before we continue.”

His face went blank, then brightened. “Sure, anything you need. Let me know when you’re ready,” he replied.

I left, breathed some fresh air and gathered myself. Then, I strolled back in and listened comfortably to what he had to say. Funny, he seemed less invested in the sale this time, which helped me stay relaxed for the remainder of the meeting.

Drawing a Blank in Conversation

This is not a personal example. It is inspired by a scenario mentioned in the Smart, Anxious Misfits Facebook Group. (If you’re a smart person who is prone to anxiety and do not feel like you fit in, there is a home waiting for you in this group. Ask to join.

So, there you are minding your own business. Suddenly someone comes up and asks a question. You hate spontaneous questions because your mind always goes blank. Then, you fumble around for any answer just to avoid looking like an idiot.

People have NO IDEA how intelligent and thoughtful you are because your anxiety will not allow you to express your thoughts in any kind of timely manner. Frustrating.

How would this look in a radically revealing process?

You would say something like:

Oh hey – wow – I want to answer you but I am having high anxiety right now and drawing a total blank. Please bear with me until it passes. I really want to answer you. Wait for it…..wait for it….just a bit longer, probably! Ok…now, here is what I think. As long as I don’t panic again, I’ll get it out.

Yes, all of this sounds so extreme and embarrassing.

That’s only because we live in a world where most of us are brainwashed to believe anxiety is shameful. We think we should live without it or be perceived as weak or defective. Yet, our brains are hardwired to fight, fight or flee – as the highest priority – at the perception of a threat. In other words, no one is immune.

We’re ashamed of something that is universally experienced. Go figure.

stop brainwashing no indoctrinationAnxiety is a reality. When we try to avoid it, we are trying to avoid reality – the reality that our brain is responding to a threat it perceives as real. What’s wrong with that?

Personally, I think the expectation that we should hide anxiety is the extreme – and extremely distorted – position. It’s the tendency to hide that steals our power and makes us victims to anxiety.

Did I suggest this would be easy to do? Nope. It is very intimidating. Best to practice in a safe place first, as always. Hey, why not join the Smart, Anxious Misfits and discover a place where you can be real and not feel like a misfit at all? This may be your road to power.

Highly Curious Approach to Gaining Power Over Anxiety

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.


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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2015). Highly Curious Approach to Gaining Power Over Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 15, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/power-submission/2015/10/highly-curious-approach-to-gaining-power-over-anxiety/

 

Last updated: 7 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.