Anxiety, like any other negative emotion, is a very unpleasant experience, to the point that sometimes it seems impossible to tolerate. And if it was not so? What could we find out if I just feel like being alone with this emotion?
Read, reread, check
Brain mechanisms induce an emotional response as a result of a given interpretation of the events, the problem may therefore be in the reading of the situations and the possible dangers associated with it.
This is a first and very important reading key (forgive the wordplay!). If the interpretation of the event is to be wrong, it is clear that it is crucial to learn to re-read the situations in a more objective and balanced way. Bearing in mind also that we should not only assess the alleged danger, but also the chances we have to deal with, often heavily underestimated (as opposed to the threat that is usually exacerbated).
Being able to evaluate “things as they are” in a more objective and rational way is a very important point, but it is not the definitive solution or the only strategy to pursue. Another key element in understanding and dealing with anxiety (but speech, taking into account differences, is valid for any emotion experienced as negative) is to face it concretely.
In essence, it is not important to only question the assumption that “I need someone who is always close to me, otherwise I feel sorry”, it is equally important to verify it concretely, in this case avoiding searching for a person who (in our head) keeps us safe and see what’s happening.
Between saying and doing
And this is where the game is tough. It is not easy, especially for those who fight for a long time with dysfunctional assumptions and behaviors, to be able to argue and tackle anxiety in concrete.
Even though we come to understand what is behind that emotion, that is, because we read the situation just like that (a process that I have outlined in a very synthetic way but that is actually much more complex) when we are in front of emotion naked and raw our legs tremble .
Besides, it’s more than normal. Anxiety is a very unpleasant emotion, and we are automatically driven to find ways to eliminate it, or otherwise not to feel it. The danger of falling into the old habits (i.e. the past dysfunctional strategies to manage it) is always around the corner.
Why cannot we bear it? Why do not we absolutely tolerate the possibility of trying something negative? Why do emotions make us so scared?
To tolerate the unpleasantness
Because, once again, brain mechanics come into play. When we are faced with anxiety, for example, we read our present state as actually unpleasant, if not dangerous. We do not like to suffer from our brain, so she screams strongly that we must run away from that situation, and we try to withstand more, her cries of help intensify. At some point, almost inevitably, we surrender. And let’s go back to the starting point.
But if the brain is wrong? If the emotion we feel was so unpleasant (worthless to deny it!) But essentially tolerable? What if we somehow managed to stay with our negative emotion?
Simply, something unthinkable would happen: if we are able to spend time with our emotions, ignoring the desperate weeds, the result of an alarm system that is full of prejudices about the effects of emotions, here at some point the brain understands.
Basically, we take it out of exhaustion. After he has ventured for good, he will understand that he will not shake him any more, that he has nothing to do. Then he is silent. And emotion, slowly, will come to an end. Until it disappears.
Stay with emotion
These speeches, of course, can only tickle the rational part of the brain. As far as reasonably possible, there is only one way to find out if emotions are really tolerable: try to stay with them.
When we feel a bit worried, anxious or agitated, we simply try to stay with these emotions. There is no need to do much else. Let’s take some time, even just a few minutes, and let’s see what’s going on.
Although we will surely feel the impulse to do something (usually to put in place the usual mechanisms that over time have come to fruition even if we do not feel the pain, or we are thinking intensely about our concerns), let’s just try these few minutes , to do nothing . Wanting, we can help bring our attention to breathing, a way to stay in touch with ourselves, and not lose in the bla bla of our minds, always ready to make us some to make us desist.
The idea of staying with a negative emotion scares me, I realize. We usually fear something unpleasant can happen, even if we do not know what. But trying to stay in the thrill, without trying to escape, is the only way we have to find out what really is going on.
We start experimenting when the emotions are not too intense, so it will be easier to test them. After a bit of practice, nothing stops us even when emotions are stronger.
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