This is the question I was asked in 2017 when I was recording the interview that went on to make up the main body of my book Clear Your Head.
Now, over the space of the last 5 years you might expect things to have changed slightly. General awareness about anxiety issues has increased so therefore surely we all now have a better understanding of anxiety and aren’t prone to the same errors.
However, on revisiting the book recently for a presentation I was giving I was a little taken aback to find that the answers I gave then are exactly the answers I would give now.
So what is the biggest myth, the biggest mistake and the biggest misunderstanding I still see people make every single day when it comes to anxiety?
Without a doubt the biggest myth that I encounter regularly with clients is that anxiety is effectively a terminal illness: that when we’ve have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder it is something that we will now have to live with for good and will simply be managing forever rather than at some point leaving behind.
The problem here is that as soon as you buy into the framework that “I'm not meant to be getting out of this. I'm meant to just be tolerating it and tiptoeing my way very carefully around situations that cause it,” then you’ve stopped trying to put the disordered responses back into order and are now just trying to manage the perceived symptoms of that disorder.
Not only do we carry that burden around with us, limiting our options and causing an anxiety of its own but it’s worth noting here that our mind doesn't waste its time trying to do things that are perceived to be futile.
In the same way you probably don’t spend a lot of time practicing levitation, if your perception is that getting your anxiety response back to what you would regard as normal is about as likely as suddenly learning to fly then your mind isn’t even engaging with the idea of recovery as a possibility.
As soon as you buy into that myth, then you’ve created a limiting belief system that will have your subconscious locking you into the way you currently think, and the way you currently feel.
So let’s be clear here: the propensity towards a high anxiety response is not a permanent state. Change happens and full recovery and a return to what you would regard as a normal anxiety response is always an option.
The Control System | Master
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