Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Surefire Cure for Anxiety without a Medical Prescription

Do you suffer from anxiety?

Does your heart race when you face a difficult challenge? Once upon a time, anxiety was just a normal part of daily life. Going back to caveman times, this was referred to as a fight or flight reflex. When dinosaurs were coming to attack us, we knew that we needed to get into flight mode lest we be eaten.

Maybe we were hungry; going out to attack an animal or some other dangerous [animal] source of food. As time went on, we began to see anxiety -- rather than natural reflex -- but seeing it as malady or something that was wrong with us. That old familiar feeling of sweaty palms and headaches and heart palpitations was just too much to bear. Some of us needed to seek medical attention via a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Perhaps we were prescribed some type of pill regimen. Yet the majority of us simply experienced a difficulty with coping with daily living activity. This normal difficulty with daily living became disguised as anxiety.
Eventually, anxiety became a disease. It found its way into the American Psychological Association’s diagnostic statistical manual [DSM-IV]. With various degrees of anxiety, every human being on the planet has suffered some form of anxiety from time to time. 

Anxiety is nothing more than a feeling. Our bodies and minds uses this anxious feeling to let us know that we need to produce a higher level of hormones or biochemical [adrenaline or some type of neurotransmitter uptake] to meet the needs of the situation or event. 

Anxiety has taken a life of its own. Today, television commercials suggest different types of medical prescriptions or treatments to combat this feeling or overactive emotions of anxiety. For the purposes of this article, I submit that anxiety is a natural phenomenon.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is nothing more than excessive or out-of-balanced heightened spirits. I did not say that this is abnormal, but that this is just a level of emotion. When our mood becomes low or blue, we become depressed. Anxiousness or depression, in and of itself, is a natural part of human existence. Once human behavior, as dictated by extreme anxiety or depression [mood disorder], goes out of balance, it takes on an abnormality or medical necessity.

Anxiousness can give us that desire or motivation to achieve our desired goals. This anxiousness will come or will manifest itself in the absence of grounded thinking. The brain or the mind will fill itself with solutions and practicalities in the absence of clear and concrete instructions. When we’re stuck in traffic and we were unable to find out the cause of the traffic jam, then our mind sends out anxious messages to our central nervous system (CNS). “We will be trapped in this traffic jam and may be late for dinner.”

Our anxiousness is often created by our own undoing. We can create anxious states or moods. This is referred to as jumping to conclusions. The mind wants order and concrete ideas and thoughts. It wants solutions -- in the absence of those solutions -- it will create solutions.  These floods of thoughts give rise to anxiousness or anxious thinking. I submit that anxiousness or anxiety is nothing more than faulty thinking.

How Come I can’t make it [anxiety] leave me alone?

Now we’ve established the roots of anxiety, we can begin to recognize it for what it is. Simply, anxiety within its cloak of faulty thinking, is a bad servant. In many times, we think that our thoughts are our masters. Yet, thoughts are servants. Thoughts are not ourselves but are our servants for practical solutions.

As a result of its inner circle of counsel, our own thoughts lead to feelings -- leads to actions -- leads to things. These things can become our masters or our friends or our servants. Faulty thinking does not serve us, therefore it is important to recognize it and see it for what it is. To accomplish this, we need to have a sense of detachment. We can form thoughtful detachment by adopting a helicopter-up approach.

We rise above ourselves and look down to analyze the different moving parts of these thought patterns. We can recognize the situation -- we can look at ourselves in the context of past, present and future -- and we can look at what’s feeding our humanness. By examining the thoughts through an impartial field of vision, we can determine if they [our thoughts] are our friend, our master, or our servants. We can even begin to analyze whether or not our thoughts are our enemies or foes.

As interesting, or as uninteresting this may be, we can now begin to understand the power that we have over our own anxiety and how this powerlessness is nothing more than the power we have given to the anxious state(s). Thus, anxious states are our own self-creation. Many thought leaders, psychologists, and philosophers have concluded that our destinies are a result of our own creative thoughts. Philosopher James Allen wrote, As a man thinketh, so is he. William James, Ph.D., wrote, We become as we think. Even Christ Jesus (as written in the New Testament) spoke, Be Ye Renewed, by the Transforming of your Mind!

The Permanent Cure!!!

To become anxiety-free, we must go back to the source and the center of this anxiety or anxious state. At its core, anxiousness is a manifestation of us. The smallest piece of this manifestation of anxiousness is our thoughts and mindfulness within any given moment. Yes, our mental images are the core of the anxiety issue.

What we need is a new mind. Notice that I said new mind rather than new brain. The question is, ‘how do we gain a new mind’? It requires a conversion…a converting to a state of mindlessness. Mindlessness is a single term to describe mental quietness. The quiet mind…one that is free of thoughts. To gain a quiet mind requires real work and practical commitment. Meditation make offer such a solution to achieve mindlessness.

An anxious mind or state can also be calmed and soothed via encouragement. An encouraging word fitly spoken is more precious than apples of gold (Solomon, Book of Ecclesiastes). Encouragement leads to hopeful thoughts in the face of a perceived fearful outcome. When faced with unease and/or anxiety, the solution [cure] is quite simple.

Empty the mind and [then] go quiet.

**Author’s note: This article is not meant to replace sound medical advisement from a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, and/or master social worker. Persons that have a diagnostic mood or social phobia disorder should first consult with their practitioner before adhering to the advice in this article.**

Monday, September 10, 2012

Does Positive Thinking Really Work?

I am a student of positive thinking. I first began my study of positive thinking about 10 years ago.  I was introduced to the power of positive thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Founder of Guidepost Foundation along with his wife, Ruth. I was most amazed to find that Dr. Peale, an ordained minister, spoke openly about self-actualization, positive thinking, and applying that concept to different situations.

So does positive thinking really work? I would say it depends on your ideas, expectations, and desired outcomes. First of all, positive thinking is not simply wishing, dreaming, and hoping that things will be better. Positive thinking is a systematic approach to examining all of the pieces of a problem and looking for solutions -- by concentrating on the most beneficial parts of the problem itself. Another way of looking at the problem is to poke along all of the areas of the hardball in order to find the soft spot.

In his book, the “Amazing Power of Positive Thinking”, Dr. Peale  gave numerous examples about people struggling with real problems and how they overcame their issues. Many of the people in  Peale’s book experienced issues of divorce, job loss, loss of a business, health issues, and loss of self-esteem. [almost every known problem that could be exhibited by human being]  Peale  wrote that: “as human beings on this planet, we can never expect to just have roses (of life) without thorns. Life itself is the training ground to help us to build endurance.”

The key to being a positive thinker is to focus on three strategies as simple keys to success. Keep in mind that success does not come quickly or overnight without a struggle. Dr.  Peale’s three keys are: 1) Trying, 2) Thinking, and 3) Believing. These three simple keys are part of the great solution to overcoming any problem. They are the foundations of positive thinking and having been an ordained minister, Dr. Peele always believed that all positive thinking should be anchored in a connection to a higher consciousness -- a higher thinking -- and in his mind, that “Higher” would be a connection to an Almighty God.

Dr. Peale  referenced the three keys as to try… Really Try! He said to think… Really Think! And to believe [which is perhaps the hardest]… Really Believe! Once we get to the third key – believing -- we have to know that what we hold true will actually happen. We have to ignore naysayers, do-gooders, and people who have our best intentions at heart. Positive Thinking is tapping into that of Almighty God and coming to that place where we come to a belief. Purified and tested, enduring is not a simple process. Some people believe that by simply clicking their heels and snapping their fingers [and thinking positively] that that is all that there is to positive thing.

To really exercise the power of positive thinking we all must apply its power by living it – as promoted by Norman Vincent  Peale  – rather than exercising the fallacy of wishful thinking and dreaming.