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Are you the creator of your stress and anxiety? 2 Steps on how to navigate your way out of it.

As you are sitting, reading this, can you honestly say that you are at peace? Are you breathing rhythmically, into your tummy, or are you breathing into your chest? Do you have any nerve centers that feel as though they are raw, or perhaps you have light “nerve runs” across your shoulders?

Why are you at stress even when you are at peace?

We are living in a world based on fear. Every time you switch on or open your TV, computer, or phone, you are bombarded by news and adverts that play on your sense of fear. You fear cancer, you fear the effects of the sun, you fear the rising water levels, you fear bullies, you fear that you will not live up to the expectation of the people around you. To name but a few. And when you view your current life, you understand that fear is all around us.

We live in a fear driven society.

As we are no longer primitive beings, literally fighting for our lives out in the jungle and the caves, we believe that we have “developed” into sophisticated beings who live in a “safe” world where we no longer “fight” for life survival. With that, we have suppressed our sense of “awareness” and we have become dependent on that what we can see, feel, hear, and smell. We have learned to talk ourselves out of our “gut feeling” and to ignore the “knowing” that we have.

While we are busy in our everyday life, we are not always aware of the radio or TV playing in the background. Of people talking. But when you listen to what is offered to you via media (mass and social), you will become aware that the words “survival or survive”, stress and fear are often used. We are surviving a fiscal deficit, we are in a war to survive the onslaught of unemployment, we hear of survivors of crime and illness (this is awesome - the fact that they came out strong, but it makes you aware that it is a “fight” to survive those). The words being used to grab your attention, are selected to call on you to realise that you are in “fight or flight” for your survival. It calls on our primitive, survival instinct.

And what is our primitive, survival instinct?

It is fighting off the lion or the bear at the door, and modern society do it ALL THE TIME.

So, how it use to work, and still works for the antelope roaming the grasslands of Africa – and by the way, you are not so different to the antelope when it comes to survival – is that while out for the day, grazing the succulent, sweet grass, the antelope suddenly becomes aware of the lion behind the bush. Epinephrine and cortisol are instantly released into the body and the antelope can run away. For 90 seconds the body “receives the injection”. Then the antelope is likely at a safe distance from the lion, nothing in sight and again the antelope returns to grazing.

Enter man (as in human)! And now, you have placed distance between you and the "eminent" danger, but what do you do? You keep talking about it. You keep thinking about it. And when you are not thinking or talking about it, you hear it on the radio, on the TV, you hear it in the office, you hear it all around. And time and again, you get epinephrine and cortisol released into your body – 24/7. You never return to homeostasis.

Whether you are aware of it or not, these phrases and words will be “picked up” by your subconscious, because you have already accepted that you are in a struggle to survive. While you are busy with your life and you are not conscious of what is happening around you, your subconscious must stay alert – that is the purpose of the subconscious. Your survival. And if you constantly tell it, your subconscious, which you do with every word and thought you utter or have, that I live in fear of my health, for my family, financially and socially, it is the “duty” of your subconscious to stay awake and to make you aware of the “danger”. So, words and sentences as I used above, will have an impact on you even though you might think it does not.

Now you might understand that you are in a Fight-or-Flight induced state for the greater part of your life. Some of it real, but most of it because of what you choose to place your focus on. (I am not talking about the soldier on patrol, I am talking about you, living your “safe” life in suburbia.)

So how do you get out of this?

1. What is it that I feel stressful, fearful, or anxious about? It really takes a minute to stop, ask yourself and become aware of what is creating the stress at this moment. It means that you must become aware of your "feeling sense". Is it something on the radio, TV that is “calling” your attention? Is it something you are creating in your mind? What is it that triggered the stress or anxiety within you? Is it real or is it a perceived danger? It takes a conscious decision from you to stop, become aware of your thoughts, words and surrounding, to diagnose the “issue” and then to move forward. While we “muddle” along every day and we live most of our life in autopilot, we are not aware of the triggers around us. Have you ever been in a room with negative people that when you leave you feel exhausted? You did nothing, said nothing, it was only the environment that you were in that “sucked the life” from you. Well, it is the same with what you listen to while on autopilot. Now imagine you entered a room filled with positive people? How would you have felt once you left? No other person can take responsibility for your willingness to become aware of your choice of what and where you place your focus. Consciously or unconsciously. You choose every second of every day. There is a saying that goes like this: When you worry about the past, you live in stress. When you worry about the future, you live in anxiety. Neither, you can do anything about.

2. There is another saying that goes like this: If you have a problem and you can do nothing about it, why do you worry? If you have a problem and you know what to do about it, why do you worry? Not to say that you must not be aware of issues that need your attention, but why would you play a scenario, often in anticipation of it happening with no guarantee that it will, over and over in your mind, when you can do nothing about it, well, until it happens. Or perhaps it never happens. And if there is any steps you might take now to avoid a prospective, future disaster, then you know what to about it now and you have no need to play it over and over and play out the worst scenarios. Now, what about the images you create in your head that might never even play out and that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it? Do you realise that sometimes, purely anticipating a negative outcome, you start behaving in a way that will create that negative outcome? It is as though you so desperately want the negative to happen, that you ensure that it happens. Again, stop for a moment and decide if there are any steps to take now, or not, and then take the steps or move on with your life.

The lion is not always waiting behind the bush. We often photoshop the lion into our view.

Be sure your future view is true and not fake.

You are the powerful creator of your reality. Decide today to create within you, because you are the environment you live in, the environment and life that you want to live out there. It is a choice. Through your choice to take control of your thoughts and your environment, both internal and external, you become strong and empowered.

Sue Leppan

Transformation Life Coach

NLP Practitioner

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