to Overcome Anxiety
By Frank J. Kinslow
your mind always where you aren’t? Do you forget what you just did
because your mind was thinking ahead of itself? Are you overwhelmed
by all the “things’ you have to do? Do you get frustrated with slow
moving traffic, finish sentences for other people or clean your
mental laundry in the middle of a conversation with a co-worker? If
so, you are employing what I call futurethink.
Futurethink is unproductive thinking about the future and is
harmful. Even if the outcome is positive, it always leaves us
feeling stressed or unsettled. It creates anxiety, worry, stress,
nervousness, dread and all number of phobias.
definition, the future will never get here. The only thing you can
know for certain is what is happening right now. Think of your mind
as a rubber band. The more it dwells on the future, the more it
feels stretched. Like that rubber band there is a breaking point.
When the mind snaps you may suffer violent outbursts, migraine
headaches, heart attacks, strokes or complete mental collapse. When
your mind is focused on the present, it is relaxing the rubber band
and creating a calm, productive and vital mental environment. This
is what I call innerthink.
remember how it was to be a child? Remember how fluid and easy your
play was? The key to being an adult with a child’s heart is the
same–learning to pay attention to what you are doing right now!
Let’s try an exercise to demonstrate the value of innerthink.
Hold your hand out and look at it.
Observe it for what it is, a hand. Do not entertain judgments like,
“My hands are too small” or don’t add commentary like, “I remember
when I broke my little finger.” Just look at your hand as if for the
first time, or as if it belongs to another person. Note the texture
of the skin, the way the skin forms around the knuckles, which
finger is second longest. Slowly make a fist and see which knuckles
bend first. Feel the muscles and tendons working inside the hand
when you do. Wave your hand through the air and feel the breeze
between your fingers. Rub your hand on your arm and feel the
sensation of skin and hair on your palm. Then observe what the arm
feels as your hand passes over it. Explore an object (A pen, a
glass, or whatever is handy) by feeling it with your hand. Pay
attention to the vibrant world of sensations and feelings,
especially the feelings this object gives you. Do this for 3
back to the experience you just had. During the entire exercise were
you worried, upset, angry, sad, or anxious? Did you have thoughts
about not paying the bills or about someone who has mistreated you?
Immediately after you finished the exercise did you feel mentally
awake, physically relaxed along with a general sense of well-being?
When you are completely absorbed in what is, it cannot happen any
impossible to worry about the future when you are paying attention
to what you’re doing now. This is not deception or denial. You are
not running away from your troubles, quite the opposite. Dwelling on
the future, while ignoring the present, is the ultimate form of
denial. It is the unfailing formula for anxiety.
Whenever you feel anxious, worried, frustrated or stressed you are
practicing futurethink. The antidote to futurethink is innerthink,
bringing your mind back to the present. Step outside and look up.
Observe how the clouds and birds are supported by the sky. Don’t
just look at the sky, look into it. Feel its depth and
expansiveness. Notice how it makes you feel deeper and more
expansive. Close your eyes and listen to every sound from every
direction. Pay attention to everything, all day long. At the end of
the day you will have more energy because innerthinking saves
energy. You will be stunned at the strength and beauty and joy that
blossom in your life just by being aware.
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