By Betsy Rabyor:
Anxiety is caused by an overactive mind with repeating thoughts that are fearful. Whatever thoughts we think, generate feelings as an energetic charge in the body muscles. With anxiety, we are fearful or worry about the future or what will happen and then our body muscles charge with adrenaline to prepare us for ‘flight’. But there is no real threatening situation in reality, so we do not run which would discharge the adrenaline. With repeated thoughts like this over time, we stay in a highly charged anxious state. The strong fear vibration in our body is physical and this feeling in turn generates more thoughts that are fearful. With anxiety, we are caught in a circle of fearful thoughts, which keeps the body highly charged with adrenaline, and it is hard to stop it or turn it off once we are in the circular trap.
Anxiety is a learned pattern of thinking and emotionally reacting, and comes from the survival strategy we adopted when we were young as a means to protect ourselves from harm in our environment. All mental health disorders with different labels are survival strategies of the same nature, being a combined cognitive and emotional response programming. In reality, everyone who has not healed their survival strategy has a suppressed mental health disorder, which is the pattern itself. This pattern is learned in our earliest years and exists in our subconscious mind as a programmed response that plays automatically when we feel threatened in life situations. This pattern is valuable for us until the point comes when we need to let it go so we can take another step in our evolution.
When we become aware of ‘our old pattern of thinking and emoting’ as being problematic for functioning in our daily life, this is a positive thing! We are being shown a hidden program from our subconscious mind and now that we are aware of it and can see it, the next is we can now do something to remove this old programming, as we no longer need it. With successful erasure of this program, we will be more spontaneous and our awareness will jump to a higher level. So the truth is everyone whom is not awakened is crazy because of this hidden response happening, but it is within societal accepted standards until it blows up with higher energy and one gets the diagnosis of having a mental health problem. But once you see directly that this programmed response is indeed ‘craziness’, that is your first moment of true sanity!
Getting a mental health disorder is a symptom of an awakening process that is already in progress. All people in their awakening journey will eventually encounter this step and have to learn how to go beyond their programmed survival strategy and erase it.
The way to diffuse a reaction once it is activated is to diffuse it in reverse order of how it built up. First you release the body tension, because once it builds up it ‘triggers’ more of the same kind of thoughts, keeping you stuck in the vicious circle, feeling you cannot stop it. Once you relax the body, then the mind will subsequently calm down. Repeated fearful thoughts cause an adrenaline and anxiety charge to build in the body. If you think fearful thoughts, you will indeed feel afraid. This emotional energy in the body is much stronger than the thoughts themselves. So the way to stop the reaction is to first diffuse the large energy charge in the body that is triggering more thoughts.
First, relax the body muscles and after that tension is gone then your awareness will increase and you can be aware of your thoughts. Once you can observe your thoughts, then you redirect your focus away from thinking by putting your focus (gazing) upon something that does not need thinking, such as a tree or an object in the room or just by observing your breathing. This takes much practice before you can succeed to stop the reaction fully and you must be willing to let go of thinking. This is a key point, because we are not initially willing to drop this reaction as we have had it for a long time and we chose it to protect ourselves from perceived harm. It is our way of escaping reality. Therefore, it is not easy to drop it, because we get a value out of it, by reacting that way. One has to make a clear decision that the value one gets from reacting this way is no longer worth the price one has to pay to keep it.
When you have reached that point, then it is easy to be willing to drop the old thinking pattern and no longer reinforce it. The less you reinforce the old thinking pattern, the more you give the signal to your brain and body that you no longer need this programming and it will be removed from the subconscious memory – it will be erased. The more you practice, the better you get at it and each time you will have less anxiety and stay calmer. Then the day will come where you will have full control over the reaction and your anxiety will be gone.
This way to cure a mental health pattern is slow and it will not give the instant relief a pill will. But if you stick with it, you will get improvement on a daily basis. You cannot see the daily changes so much but you will be able to see them on a weekly or monthly basis. The best part is this way will cure the problem, because you will discover the cause and realize you do have the power to go beyond your old program and drop it.
Editor’s note: This article is the second of a three-part series on Betsy’s journey of dealing with anxiety disorder. Part I talks of coming to terms with her problem, Part II discusses her insights on the problem and how one can stop a panic attack. Part III will highlight key steps Betsy followed to overcome her anxiety.