A few years ago when my son was deployed to Aphganistan as a Black Hawk pilot in the US Army I had some anxious moments. War now became very real for me. To think that an enemy wanted to kill my son was very worrisome to me. I had never really suffered from anxiety before or great fear.
During this same year, my business went through some major changes and my income was reduced. That caused a great deal of anxiety too. I had to really resolve this issue. It’s not good to live in fear and anxiety. These emotions just don’t feel very good. It was starting to consume me and I know from prior experience, what I focus on, I find. I was giving life to my fears and anxiety and had to get back to peace and joy, the two emotions I do best with.
That’s when I developed a strategy to remove these emotions. With practice, I was able to remove these negative emotions just about as fast as I got them. Let me share my discovery with you.
Replace Anxiety & Fear with Peace & Joy
There are six distinct steps in the 30-second process. I’ve discovered that I can’t exempt any of the steps. Trust me, I’ve tried. In the beginning, using this method it would take me sometimes a full hour or more to remove these negative emotions. However the better I got at steps one through three, the less time it took to work. I like to think of the method like working a muscle. In the beginning, the muscle is weak and it hurts to work it out. Then in time, the muscle get’s stronger and it becomes less painful and easier to work out.
Step One – Awareness
It’s important to be aware of our emotions. It takes practice to really feel what is going on inside us. When I first had the onset of anxiety, I really wasn’t aware what it was and would dismiss it because, after all, I never had it before, or that is what I believed that it never happened before. I’ve since come to realize I had anxiety a lot in my life and I was just too prideful to admit it. In time, it became worse and finally had progressed to where the physical characteristics would manifest themselves like shallow breath, a tight and heavy chest and a general feeling of discomfort. I had to actually sit down quietly and assess what was going on.
I would reflect on what was causing it. That is when I realized my thoughts of fear about the future would manifest themselves. I would have thoughts of my son being killed in action and how that would affect his two girls. On how I might react and then what I would say at his funeral. I’d even think what a pain it would be to have to go to his home and pack it up to sell. I’d see all his possessions and how that might have included time with me. Sadness would also reside with my anxiety.
I had similar thoughts if my income didn’t come back and what would I do then to provide for my family. Would I have to go back doing what I hated? Would I have to dip into my retirement account to makes ends meet and compromise my future?
In time, with awareness, I knew these same thoughts would cause me to feel this way again. Because I had spent time analyzing the situation, the time it would take to become aware of my thoughts would drastically shorten.
Step Two – Stay in the Moment
Through awareness of the situation, I learned that almost all my anxiety and fears were created by either thoughts of the past or future. I had learned from my work serving addicts in the 12-Step Addiction Recovery Program that being present and in the moment, not reflecting on my past or future, would substantially chill thoughts and slow things down enough to rechannel the negative thoughts to just what was presently going on around me.
One of the great side benefits of this method for me was learning to live all my life in the moment. No longer did things bother me like before. Perhaps the biggest benefit for me was in driving. I never liked to drive anywhere in town (Las Vegas, Nevada). I would get mad at “stupid” drivers and swear at them, “Are you nuts? You could have killed me cutting me off like that! You idiot!” I would throw a few four-letter words at them too. But when I learned to just accept the moment for what it was and not reflect on what might have happened when I got cut off, all my anxiety about driving went away. Now I live 24/7 in the moment and I’m at peace and joy all the time.
Step Three – Focus On What You Want
This step took me a while to perfect too. I had to visit my vision boards more often and really train my subconscious mind to deliver what I really wanted. In my state of anxiety, I was focusing on what I didn’t want. When anxiety caused by either my son’s situation or my income would arise, I quickly changed my thoughts to what I wanted.
I would think what a great honor it was to have a son proudly serving his country. That my freedom is precious to me and even worth the loss of my son’s life to have it. I would focus on how much his service would mean for him later in his life as he was faced with other situations where he’d have to exercise a great deal of courage. I’d see how proud his daughters were of him and how they would be grateful to a nation that protects their freedom.
I’ve always believed that my thoughts become things. That when I focused on what I wanted, my son safely home to enjoy all those benefits mentioned above, that outcome would come to pass.
This also worked great for my income too.
This step takes work outside of any anxiety or fears you’re wanting to remove. Then in the moment of those negative emotions caused by poor thoughts, you can quickly call on the more positive thoughts of what you want to help you overcome the emotions.
Step Four – Decide & Do
Next in line is a step that I used to get into an action that would always change my attitude. I’ve longed exercised the belief that action will trump any uncomfortable feeling. In this step, I’ve even practiced Mel Robbins’s 5-second count method to get into action. I’d quickly make a decision, then count backward from 5, and upon the end of counting, start to do the action.
This step would really end the sequence of anxiety and fear. Yet I really wanted to strengthen myself so those emotions would never come up again. I didn’t want to keep relying on these steps to end my agony. I wanted to build my thoughts and emotions so anxiety and fear never reared their ugly heads.
This is when I added the next two steps.
Step Five – Expectation
Generally, expectation is the enemy. How many times have you assumed how a person would act or a situation would turn out only to be disapointed with a completely different outcome? When you remove the expectation, there is no room to be disappointed.
In this step, I started to expect that all of what I wanted would be created for me. My expectation was in the BIG belief of my vision of a grand future. It’s not an expectation of an outcome in the moment. Many people I’ve coached had to learn to believe in themselves and thus all the things they wanted would be created just as they thought it would. Many people that never achieve their dreams have a belief deep down inside them that it will never come true. And it never does.
In this step, it’s really ingrained in my being of what I want and that I believe it will come to pass. I totally believe my son and our family would receive the blessings of what I wanted. The same holds true for my income. I know without a doubt the income I want will be created and it’s actually started to rise to that level. While it’s not back to where it once was, I no longer worry about it.
Step Six – Gratitude
Perhaps having gratitude in my heart would have negated even having anxiety and fear in the first place. Over the years whenever I would experience a down moment or even be depressed or disappointed, I’d pull out my gratitude journal and start to write down even the simple things I was grateful for. Such as hot and cold running water. I can’t tell you how many entries in my journal say that. The amazing thing about having gratitude is that a negative or fearful thought can’t occupy my mind at the same time.
These steps are not earth-shattering prophecy. They are simple truths that I used in a sequence to end my anxiety and fear. I know they will work for you.
Please leave me a comment below. Also, if you believe this may work for others, would you please share it?