“We allow past problems and future concerns to dominate our present moments,so much so that we end up anxious, frustrated, depressed and hopeless.” Richard Carlson
Focusing on past problems is the cause of depression. No amount of worrying or regret is going to change the past, so the best thing to take from the past, are the lessons… History repeats itself if we do’t learn any lessons from the past.
Worrying about the future also won’t help. This is the source of anxiety. The mind is befuddled by questions like ‘What if, what if, what if?”
Stay living in the present. It is called the present because that is what is is ‘enjoy the moment, enjoy each oppotunity that comes your way, and enjoy the people who cross your path. Too many people spend their time living for the future. don’t know why because we really don’t know what the future holds.
“If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (4 February 1906 – 9 April 1945) was a German Lutheran pastor, a theologian, a spiritual writer, a musician, an author of poetry and fiction. He was also a martyr dying for what his beliefs. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world, have become widely influential, notably his book ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ which is regarded by many as a modern classic.
Bonhoeffer also became known for his determined resistance to the Nazi dictatorship during World War II. He was a strong opponent to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He didn’t just speak words of protest but was involved in plans by the German Military Intelligence Office to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo, he was executed by hanging in April 1945, only twenty-three days before the German surrender.
His beliefs and convictions ultimately cost him his life in a Nazi concentration camp. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the most famous theologians and martyrs of the 20th century.
“Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?”
We are often disillusioned with how much time we have left. Frequently we hear people complain about just not having enough time, not enough hours in the day.
And how often do we hear people living in the future with comments like:
‘when I have enough money, then ….’
‘when the children grow up, then …
When …then ….Living in the future robs us of all the joys of the present. But these thoughts also keep us very, very busy in our imaginings.
The writer of Ecclesiastes was an old man who confessed that he had wasted much of his long life. He was too old to correct his ways, but it wasn’t too late for the young. He tried to encourage his readers to go for simplicity in food, entertainment and work. He encouraged them to look for joy in the companionship of their friends, a cheerful disposition and a reverence for God. Now in his old age these were the lessons of life that he wanted to pass on.
Anxious people tend to live in the future. Listen to yourself and others. If you notice the words “what if” being used frequently, it’s a sure indicator that the person suffers from anxiety.
Whatever you’re doing, wherever you are just keep keep reminding yourself to MAKE THE MOST OF THE MOMENT!
“Nerves and butterflies are fine – they’re a physical sign that you’re mentally ready and eager. You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation, that’s the trick.” Steve Bull
Stephen George “Steve” Bull, MBE, was born on the 28 March 1965. The former English footballer is best remembered for his 13-year spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers. He played there from 1986 until his retirement in 1999, and holds the club’s goalscoring record with 306 goals, including 18 hat-tricks for the club.
Yes, we all know what it’s like to have butterflies, the physical nervousness as we’re about to face a challenge. The easy way out is just is to give up!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to give up! Giving up, or avoidance is actually the enemy of overcoming anxiety. It actually maintains the anxiety. I know that immediate relief does feel great and so the temptation to give up is great.But all that happens is the anxiety goes ‘below the radar’, eagerly awaiting another moment to resurface. And it does … at the next challenge you face. Social phobias, agoraphobia, to name but two are all the result of trying to avoid the butterflies of facing a challenge. Many people even convince themselves that the relief confirms that they weren’t meant to do ‘whatever’ in the first place.
Wrong! If you want to get over anxiety you have to live with the butterflies and face your fears and challenges. Do the very thing you don’t want to do, over and over again. That’s the way to get the butterflies to work for you!
As I watch the London 2012 Olympics from the comfort of my couch, I ‘sit’ in awe of all the achievements of those amazing athletes. I’ve no doubt that their journeys to success was filled with many times of doubt and tears. But they persevered and succeeded.
As Steve Bull says, ‘you have to get those butterflies to fly in formation! That’s the way to win!
“Anxiety results from believing that you have no right to express your feelings or needs.” Karin Stewart
When your thoughts or opinions are constantly criticized or put down, you might decide that it’s better just to keep quiet and suppress your feelings. It’s certainly one way of keeping the peace. However, in the long run, it isn’t healthy as you run the risk of suffering from high levels of anxiety instead.
Just remember we all have a right to express our opinions. It doesn’t mean that others have to agree with us or that we have to agree with the other person either.
Start practicing expressing your thoughts and feelings. If someone puts you down for doing this, just remind yourself that you do have the right to do so, and maybe gently tell the other person as well. If you don’t agree with someone else’s opinions, accept it as being theirs and they too have a right to a different opinion. We’re all different and we can celebrate our differences rather than try to make others to be like us!
“Neither comprehension nor learning can take place in an atmosphere of anxiety.” Rose F. Kennedy
Rose E Kennedy (22 July 1890 – 2 January 1995) is known as the Kennedy family matriarch. Rose married Joseph P Kennedy, snr after a courtship of over 7 years. They were a privileged, wealthy Boston family. Over the next 18 years they produced 9 children. Two of their children, namely President John F Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were assassinated and one can’t help but think how terrible this would be for a mother to live through. Her marriage wasn’t easy and she eventually coped with her husband’s unfaithfulness by pretending it wasn’t happening.
Their third child Rosemary was mentally retarded. Rose’s ambitious husband kept Rosemary’s mental retardation a family secret in order to keep up appearances. In an attempt to subdue Rosemary’s increasingly severe anger outbursts and mood swings, the family decided to have a lobotomy performed on her at the age of 23. This was a method used to calm severely mentally disturbed patients but didn’t help Rosemary. She was institutionalized for her adult life.
Although her father never visited her in the institution, it was the motivating factor that propelled other members of the family, including mother Rose, to become involved in philanthropic endeavors. The younger daughter of Rose, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, became a champion of mental health projects, and founded the Special Olympics in 1968 for mentally disabled athletes. It’s interesting that good can so often come out of difficult circumstances.
Not surprisingly, these family circumstances took their toll and Rose Kennedy suffered from nervousness and stress. She coped with the help of prescription tranquilizers. She knew the effects of stress and anxiety and from her own experience could confidently say that ‘neither comprehension nor learning can take place in an atmosphere of anxiety.’
Rose Kennedy died at the ripe old age of 102 after having lived a very full life.
“We live in the midst of alarms; anxiety beclouds the future; we expect some new disaster with each newspaper we read.” Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States, serving for 4 years until he was assassinated in April 1865. He successfully led his country through the American Civil War and ended slavery. He came from a poor family and was mostly self-educated.
If he lived in the midst of alarms with anxiety clouding the future, I wonder what Lincoln would think of our modern times where everything we do is so immediate. Emails mean immediate interaction, people want immediate replies. This just increases anxiety and stress! In ‘those days-gone-by’ a person could mentally regroup while waiting for letters to be delivered snail-mail!
We need to slow down so that the stresses and anxieties of life don’t overtake us.
If stress is getting to you and ‘alarms are ringing’ click here to learn about a very useful 3 Step Anxiety Relaxation Technique.
“No one can pray and worry at the same time.” Max Lucado
This is so true as prayer brings about a sense of peace. Instead of worrying we can rely on God our Creator to care for us. We know He loves us passionately. As we hand over our concerns to Him, He gives us peace. When we are in a place of peace we are in a better frame of mind to honestly and rationally assess what exactly it is that is worrying us.
This week’s Quote for Anxiety. “We must travel in the direction of our fear” by John Berryman.
Trying to escape or change directions to avoid our fears is actually just going to make matters worse. Applying brakes, doing U-turns in the road, stopping in the fast lane are all very dangerous. Go with your fear. You can even speak to your fear with words like “go on, do your worst to me, but I am not stopping!” The best way of conquering fear is to go with the fear.
A person who has a fear of elevators should get into the elevator, go up and down for as long as it takes for the fear to dissipate. It might be terrifying at first but actually the fear has no base in reality! Only by traveling in the same direction of our fear will we overcome that fear!
“I try not to worry about the future – so I take each day just one anxiety attack at a time.” Tom Wilson
Well, this really is great advice to take one day at a time, because it really is pointless worrying about the future. Why waste your time worrying, when whatever you’re worrying about might never happen!
Dealing with panic or anxiety attacks.
An anxiety or panic attack can be quite debilitating, especially as it can give rise to another anxiety, namely fear of having a panic attack.
But there is help… A panic attack is the physical response of having too much oxygen in your system. Think about it… when you panic you start hyperventilating, taking deep breaths. The excess oxygen in your system gives you all those sensations associated with panic attacks. So … you need to reduce the oxygen in your system.
One method is to breathe into a paper bag as that reduces the oxygen as you will start breathing in the exhaled carbon dioxide.
You will achieve the same affect if you just cup your hands over your nose and mouth as you breathe.
The second method is to monitor your breathing. As soon as you feel panicky, breathe in a short breath through your nose and exhale a long breath through your mouth.
When people tell you to calm down by taking a long deep breath, they’re actually giving you the wrong advice. This type of breathing will encourage the panic attack.
Stay focused in the present! Let me know if you have any favorite quotes for anxiety that you would like to share.