"How do you use Survivor Personality skills to be vigilant without worrying, and be alert to potential danger without fear?"
How to Be Anxiety Free
by Paul Scheele
In light of the attacks on American freedoms within the US, I've considered what is really at risk right now? When contemplating the Survivor Personality, the work on bi-phasic or paradoxical arrangements within the complex human design continues to serve me well. In our efforts to feel secure at home, I began to discuss with my wife, what is the opposite of SECURITY? It soon became evident that it is not insecurity. The opposite of security is FREEDOM! This notion shook my mind and sensibilities. This paradoxical arrangement is certainly the situation for those incarcerated in our prisons. Maximum security prisons are devoid of personal freedoms.
When I contemplate what would it take to regain the feeling of maximum security that I have felt at times during my life, I realize security is illusory, and could only be achieved by locking myself into a bunker and hunkering down to avoid attack. That image is the exact opposite of walking briskly in the clean open air of a lovely country park or wilderness setting. If a terrorist attack ultimately intends to imprison me in mad search for maximum security, I'd rather fight to spread the joy of freedom. I will use my energies to find ways of expressing the personal freedoms that the founding fathers and all subsequent generations have worked so hard to create in this world.
Security is not a goal, it is an illusion and a response to fear. My goal is freedom and the expression of all the powerful feelings that flow from it, including safety, liberty, and love. Paradoxically, true security can only be found in the expression of freedom. Could we assume that the perfect expression of freedom is love? It may be! And it follows that "perfect love casteth out all fear."
When I help someone process their anxieties, I take a two step approach:
First, I listen to and acknowledge the concerns the person has. Second, talk about what I have been thinking about on the same issues...cautiously emphasizing that I am in no way intending to change what is true for that person. My efforts are to offer a re-frame of that person's need for increased security in troubling times.
If asked, I can help people deal with anxiety in several ways. It depends how they are stuck. I see anxiety as two issues. One is an inappropriate use of "future pacing" or imagining the future. The second is that the individual is stuck in a loop; an Auditory--Kinesthetic loop...kind of what happens to a dog...the dog feels nervous and barks. Hearing itself bark makes it feel more nervous so it barks more...and on and on.
On the phone last week, I spoke with a customer who listened to a relaxation tape and felt more anxious. Turns out, that is not such an uncommon response. It has to do with the brain's ability to delete, distort, and generalize experiences of anxiety into many other contexts of a person's life...all in an attempt to prevent anxiety attacks in other contexts. Silly as it may seem, the brain does this to help. It becomes a self-sealing process of becoming anxious about the possibility of becoming anxious (like the Auditory--Kinesthetic loop.) There is a lovely, quick way out, however, that effectively handles the future pacing idea, and shows the client that he can do something different with the mind, something other than being stuck in a loop.
I basically explained this to the fellow on the phone. Let me describe the big picture about becoming anxiety-free. Do you know what anxiety is and how people create it? Anxiety is not a commodity out in the world. When a person has an anxiety attack, there are not little organisms biting him on the back of the neck. Anxiety is a physical reaction that anyone can create using perfectly ordinary capacities of mind that we all use daily.
Here's how it works: To produce the feelings of anxiety you must project yourself out of the present moment in time...into a possible future scenario in which you believe you will not be adequately equipped to handle whatever you think will occur. You must then fully associate with or step into the imagined unresourceful future event...and in your body...live the experience of failing to handle the situation.
The result? Anxiety. A classic example is your boss pokes his or her head in your office and says, "Can I see you in my office in ten minutes please?" The first thing that runs through your mind is "all right, I'm finally going to get that promotion I've been hoping for!" right? Or a letter comes from your bank. It's thin. It's not the bank statement. "Oh, boy!" you think, "they've found a few hundred extra dollars in my account and wanted to let me know!" Right? No, people usually engage in awfulizing, imagining some worse-case scenario and stepping inside of it. The result? The adrenal glands give a good squirt of adrenaline in preparation for fight or flight. The instantaneous response is a feeling of anxiety.
Now you know perfectly well that you could think anything in these scenarios. But for most folks, the tendency is to imagine the worst case. In biological terms, the true benefit or adaptive significance of anxiety is that it is the brains tool for gearing up, and preparing for a dangerous or uncertain future. Its a great way to signal the nervous system. But, there are far more effective ways of using the infinitely vast computing power of the brain.
The Anxiety-Free recordings, produced by my company Learning Strategies Corporation, in the simplest way of thinking about them, takes you into your imagined possible future, only it brings you past the event, to the successful conclusion of it. Then you associate into the situation and feel all the benefits and successes. The result? An instant response of joy, enthusiasm, positive expectation, personal power and confidence. A nice alternative to anxiety, don't you think? Plus, you get the added advantage of being able to look back and notice all the ways you caused the success to happen. And that's where some of the real power of this technique comes in. It opens the creative and intuitive pathways to your higher intelligence, your genius mind, to show you the best ways and means to accomplish your goals.
Now, if you understand the basic technique of projecting positive imagined futures and associating with them or stepping into them, then you probably also understand how valuable it would be to have this ability as a well-learned and automatic response. That way, whenever the opportunity arises to think about what's coming up, you are filled with personal resourcefulness. This has tremendous implications to issues as far ranging as smoking cessation, overcoming impotence, compulsions, obsessive thinking, depression, and all kinds of fears and anxieties.
In the introduction to the Euphoria Personal Learning Course, I provide a guided experience for the listener that creates a relaxed peaceful feeling in their body/mind to replace feelings of anxiety. Good methods for eliminating anxiety are available for anyone who wants to feel less anxious and be more in control. Hope that all helps. If your readers would like to know more about our audio programs, information is at the Learning Strategies website:
Sincerely, Paul R. Scheele, Chairman
Learning Strategies Corporation