How to beat anxiety
Anxiety can stop you from living your dreams. It riddles your mind with self-doubt. You desperately want to try something new like get a promotion, make more money, change career, learn how to drive, or develop new relationships. However, there’s a feeling of dread that you just can’t escape!
How can you shift from a place of uncertainty and fear to one of confidence? There’s a way. It’s all a matter of developing new and healthier perspectives.
Take a minute and think about something you really want to do? If you are certain that you will accomplish your goal, you will act. However, if you believe that no matter how hard you try, you won’t succeed at all, you’re not going to take the first step.
There’s also that feeling of being stuck in the middle. You want to give it your best shot, but you're stuck in limbo, not sure of whether to try, or not to try? Anxiety thrives in the ‘no man’s land’ of indecision. Once you’re stuck, Anxiety takes hold.
One way to combat anxiety is to play it at its own game. Anxiety will throw up all kinds of terrible images in your head. You’ll experience flashes of it all going wrong, of falling flat on your face. After all, if you walk into an interview and you stumble over your words, not only will you have failed, but the interviewer is likely to think bad of you. That’s anxiety playing the worse case scenario.
If you want better results, practice visualisation. When you’re proactively creating positive images in your head, you’re stifling anxiety. You’re not allowing it any space to manoeuvre. It wants to drown you in self-doubt and limiting beliefs. When you’re imagining a better future for yourself, you’re swimming for the shore of confidence and self-belief. Sure, the currents of anxiety are trying to drag you under, but you’re not going against the current. You’re simply going with the flow.
Taking time to develop certainty and confidence in your future, is sapping anxiety of energy. It has been using terrible images of you failing to hold you back. Now you’re turning the tables. Using the exact same method anxiety utilises to develop a healthier perspective of yourself.
Positive visualisation is used by athletes and people involved in high performance pursuits. It is a form of self-hypnosis. A sprinter takes time out before a race to imagine that they’re crossing the line in record time. Just before a concert, a singer imagines herself on stage, giving the performance of her life. In fact, more and more successful people are using positive reinforcement through visualisation. It’s what helps them get in the zone.
Consider Usain Bolt, the current record holder of the 100-meter sprint. For decades, it was believed that running 100 meters in under 10 seconds was humanly impossible. But Usain Bolt obliterated that record! How did he do it?
Usain didn’t just prepare himself physically, through endless repetitions of sprints. He also practised in his mind. He imagined himself beating the world record by crossing the finishing line in record time. Usain and his coaching staff knew that no matter how many times he sprinted during training, if he wanted to break the world record, he had to shift his perspective. He had to imagine, without a shadow of a doubt, he’d do it.
Positive imagery will not happen overnight. Like anything else, it will take practice to erase the old programming playing in your mind. But with time and constant practice you can develop it.
It is not a matter of super-human ability. Everyone possesses an imagination. If you can think it, you can conceive it. You’re already a star in your own show!
When you begin to imagine positive events occurring in your life, you’re taking the first step towards personal success.
You can take visualisation to the next level! Simply take 5 minutes out of your day to imagine you succeeding at something. Perhaps you have a job interview looming. Maybe you’re a little nervous, and that is perfectly OK.
Find a quiet place and either sit or lie down. Take a few calming breaths. Now, imagine that you’re walking into the interview room. You are walking tall, striding confidently. You’re calm and collective. The interviewers look stern but professional. They’re asking you a sequence of questions, trying to trip you up. You’re answers flow naturally, as if you’ve rehearsed this a thousand times. Nothing phases you.
Yet it’s also important to prepare for difficulties. Maybe one of the interviewers has asked a difficult question. It is something you forgot to prepare for. Now what do you do? How do you handle this? Is there a way of responding that expresses both professionalism and humility?
If you’ve gone through this mental rehearsal exercise, there can be no nasty surprises. You’ve already prepared for the best and the worse outcomes. You can use this visualisation exercise for pretty much anything you can think of!
Go through the visualisation process at least once per day. After a few days you will experience a noticeable change in the way you think about a situation.
Remember you’re already a success. Using positive visualisation also helps you remember the times when you were great.
Best of luck.
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