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3 Questions For Moving Beyond Anxiety By Dr. Lisa Cooney

Are you a head tripper?

You know, you get caught in your head, worrying about what happened or what might happen; concerned that what’s happening right now is bad or wrong or somehow not enough.

It’s hard to breathe when you’re head tripping. And if your head tripping gets really out of control, beyond the usual “norm” for anxiety, you might even experience a panic attack. Then it’s hard to breathe, hard to move, hard to do anything.

A client, Adam, shared with me the other day how his anxiety has become so disabling that he’s not able to move forward in his business or be present with his partner. As a result both are suffering. But he doesn’t want to use medication – the solution his therapist is recommending.

If you, like Adam, are also struggling with anxiety and the impact it’s having on your career, relationships, and possibly even your health, I invite you to consider a whole new perspective on anxiety. There are ways to work with anxiety (without medication) that get you relief from the pain and struggle.

So first, let’s look at the underlying message we tell ourselves with our head tripping and anxiety: “Something is wrong. I am wrong. I did something wrong. That’s wrong. He’s wrong. She’s wrong. It’s going to go wrong.”

Any of this sound familiar? Underlying the anxiety is a pervasive sense of being defective, evil and unlovable. As a result, we view our anxiety as wrong and bad. We want to escape it.

But – and here’s where I share a totally different perspective – what if anxiety isn’t something to fix? What if it’s NOT a wrongness?

Here are 3 questions to support you in putting a STOP to the head tripping and moving beyond anxiety:

1. Is it really anxiety or is it excitement?

• You know that experience of being on a roller coaster, about to plummet from the tippy-top arc to the lowest reaches of the track? The rapid breathing and heart rate… is that fear or excitement?

• How are you viewing it? What are you choosing?

2. What is right about your anxiety?

• Rather than viewing your head tripping and anxiety as something wrong, consider, what is right about it?

• Is it possible that your anxiety is actually a heightened awareness of other people around you?

• Many people who consider themselves “highly sensitive people” or “empaths” often feel overwhelmed when around lots of other people as they pick up their thoughts and feelings. What if your anxiety is actually pointing to a capacity, a gift, like this that you didn’t even know you had (until now)?

3. Where have you made your head tripping more important than your capacities?

• If you’ve been abused or struggled with anxiety, the experience of drama and trauma may be so familiar to you. It may be all that you know.

• Yet there is another way beyond anxiety, beyond the head tripping. What if you made it more important to understand your capacities that have been hiding beneath your anxiety?

Just like there is a possibility of Radical Aliveness beyond the invisible cage of abuse, there are other possibilities and ways of relating to your anxiety that open doors to new possibilities. Use these 3 questions to explore what else is possible for you when you view “anxiety” and “head tripping” in these new ways.

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