It is easy to think or feel that anxiety is just something that is happening to you and you are merely a victim.
There are some circumstances where this is true. When you are having anxiety, but know you have been taking excellent care of your mind, then yes, the anxiety is coming from a deeper place within you.
Possibly some past experience of unresolved trauma or stored emotional energy. This energy surfaces at times that do not make logical sense to you. Meaning, there seems to be no apparent stress or reason for it to surface at that moment. There is no apparent trigger. This is a past trauma or post traumatic stress.
However, most of the anxiety that society is experiencing now is due to poor inner parenting or poor mental health care. This is current stress, meaning stressful thoughts that are being allowed into your mental space right now. We are watching other minds creating stress through judgements, perceptions, and thoughts of the future and then choosing to join them. Other minds are freaking out. We spend most of the day watching these other minds freak out..we then freak out too.
You must take responsibility for your mind care. You have a choice. Care for your mind. Know it's limits. Know what it can handle and what it can't.
The child or mind is the anxious one.
Separate out from the anxiety. Do this by realizing your are not your mind. You are not the part that is anxious. Your mind or your inner child is anxious. Yes, both of you feel the anxiety or excess energy running through your body, but it's being stimulated by the mind. You , who you are, is the forever calm presence. Embody the calm presence of the adult nurturing caretaker, and take charge of this situation. Talk to the child. Ask it what is wrong. Notice what it has been thinking about and how often it has been thinking about that topic. Then begin taking better care of this part of you.
If anxiety is surfacing in the form or panic attacks for no apparent reason, allow a professional to help you release that stored energy.
Understand that anxiety is simply excess energy full of the adrenaline hormone that makes you feel jittery, clammy, short of breathe, as well as other symptoms that can occur. It starts from perceived fear in the mind and then the body gets involved as it thinks it is in danger. It is not pleasant of course but don't let the mind make a huge deal of it. Don't let the mind build even more fear or anxiety over feeling fear and anxiety. Let your mind know, that when you feel symptoms of anxiety, your body is just doing it's job and letting you as the caretaker know, that you might want to check in on and take care of your mind.
Watch what you are feeding it.
Know what scares your mind or inner child and what comforts it and then chose to feed it comfort instead of fear. Allowing it to watch other minds argue, attack one another, hurt one another physically or verbally is feeding it fear. Allowing it to listen to others minds talk about the uncertainty of the future and speculate on what could or might happen is feeding it fear. Chose wisely what you allow your mind to watch and listen to.
Monitor and redirect as needed. (This is parenting.)
It is important to listen to the thought or content topic your mind is entertaining within your inner dialogue. What is it focusing on? How much space does that topic take up in your mind? How often do you think about it? How is it making your mind feel emotionally by allowing it to think about it? Just as you would not allow your child to talk endlessly about some topic that clearly upsets it, you also should not allow this of your own mind. Redirect it. It's ok to say to your mind, to yourself, "that's enough now. That thought is no good for you".
Wallowing in the pain and fear of this is not helping or making things better. It's time to move to a better thought. Reach for a topic that feels better. You can let it know that you understand it is afraid. You also realize it is afraid not to think about it constantly because it thinks by thinking about it constantly that it will finally come to some solution. Help it understand that solutions can only come when it relaxes and steps out of the fear that it is in around the topic.
Take it for a walk outside. Point out other things to focus on or think about. Just as you would a crying child. That is one of the first things I always did with my kids (learned from my mom I'm sure) was if the child was beside themselves to take them outside in the fresh air and point out the trees, and butterflies, and anything and everything to distract their minds from the thing causing the pain. You must do this for your own inner child which is your mind
You can do this.
Yes, getting professional help can be extremely helpful. However, the caretaker job after you leave that session belongs to you. No one is going to follow you around 24/7 and take care of your mind or inner child for you. You can talk to a therapist and they can help you learn how to parent or care for you mind, or help you help it heal from past pain, neglect, or abuse, but the caretaker job is yours. You are the only one who hears and experiences every single thing your mind says and does from the time you wake up till the time you go to bed.
Love, care for, and protect your mind and eventually you will notice how calm it has become.
Do you have any "poor me" thoughts? These thoughts creatively hold you in a space you don't logically want to hang out in, however, part of you enjoys the feeling of victimhood. No. This does not make sense. This is not logical. This is emotional. Remember as a child when you would receive sympathy from a parent, or teacher, or anyone at all? How did it feel? Good? Did you feel seen? Did you feel understood? Did you feel emotionally validated? Probably yes and if you have been following or reading any of my content, you have come to learn that being seen or understood is one of the 4 primary or basic needs of our minds. (Seen, heard, wanted, safe- the four basic needs= feeling loved)
Poor me thoughts serve the purpose of getting one of those basic needs met. Is it a childish coping skill? Yes. Have you outgrown it? Yes. Are you still using it? If you have "poor me" thoughts floating around in your mind that you entertain from time to time, then yes. If you find yourself whining and complaining about life to others instead of taking positive actions to change or accept your situation, then yes. These behaviors all stem from the poor me victim mentality.
Let's say goodbye to this childhood coping skill. We know it's helping us feel seen or understood, which is one of the four ingredients of concluding we must be loved. So if we are going to get rid of this method of feeling seen or understood, we need to replace it with a more adult method.
How does an adult cope? An adult will see that it is not them that has this need, but is a need of their own inner child or their mind. When the inner child begins to have poor me thoughts, or begins to whine and complain, the adult caretaker of this mind, sees that their mind is needing a little attention and has begun acting out with these behaviors to feel seen. In the past it has reached out to others and with no adult caretaker in charge to redirect it, it went out and told it's troubles to anyone and everyone who would listen, agree, and give sympathy. Your job as the adult caretaker of your own mind, is to be the one your mind reaches out to.
Yes, have a conversation with yourself. Close your eyes. See your own mind. See how it's feeling. Ask it what is wrong. Ask it what it needs. Reassure it. Let it know it is safe. Let it know you are taking care of it. Let it know there is nothing to be afraid of. Talk to it as you would a scared child. Recognize it's fear. Calm it's fear. Recognize what it is really asking for in that moment of whining and complaining. Just like children whine when tired or overwhelmed, our minds also do this. You may need to give your mind a break. It may need a nap. Just as children become spoiled by having all of their expectations met by others if they whine and cry loud enough, you may need to teach your mind to let go of expectation on the behaviors of others. Other people get to have lives that put themselves as priority instead of always making you and your needs the priority. Your child may not understand that truth yet.
If you have found yourself in a dysfunctional friendship with a needy mind who is looking to you to be their caretaker, don't enable them. You know what they are wanting. Help them to begin to give this care to themselves by refusing to jump in and constantly soothe their fears or give sympathy or support for their negative feelings towards life or others. You may find this challenging, however, if you continue to be what they should be for themselves, it will exhaust you. You will have nothing left for them or for you. Teach by example. Step out of the way by giving no comment when they are wanting you to play the role of their caretaker. Silence speaks volumes. You don't have to leave them or shun them or be cruel. Be kind and compassionate but help them see that comforting their mind is their responsibility.
I've been on both sides of this type of relationship. It never ends well for either person.
Take care of your mind. Allow others space to learn to care for their minds. Leave whining and complaining to the children who are actually children. Then help those children move into adult understandings and coping skills.
Hey, it's me!!..Angie Johnsey. You may have seen me with Valerie Bertinelli on the Today Show being called the "mind coach". I love helping people like you find relief from all of the "crazy making" that our minds can get in to..Did you hear about the Tidy Mind Map? Yep, I'm kind of the personal organizer for your mind. I'm glad you are here.. I have so much to share with you. Pull up a chair, let me help you unwind your mind, and let's hang out.
we need to talk.